Dealing With Unsupportive Family

Dealing With Unsupportive Family: 4 Key Strategies (+ pro tips)

A while back, we got this question from an IWT reader about what to do if you have an unsupportive family:

I love [my family] and I want them to be happy. They wallow in misery and blame me for it. I feel very tied to them although I should just let go. How do you let go of the living who have become a source of poison and sickness in your life when you are related to them and have known them your whole life?

Isn’t it funny (read: incredibly annoying) how as you become more successful at something, career, relationships, money, whatever you start to encounter more and more people who just want to throw shade at your success?

We asked our readers to provide their take on answering the all too common question and here are a handful of our favorite answers, in no particular order.

1. Understand that it’s their issue. Not yours.



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Christie hit upon a truth that many people don’t realize when they’re being criticized or aren’t being supported by their family: It’s often THEIR problems, not yours.

Too many times, we become focused on what others are saying about us instead of focusing on accomplishing our goals, whether it’s writing that dissertation or dropping a responsibility because you have different priorities.

Sometimes, there’s just no changing the way someone looks at your actions, but you can choose how you react to them.

2. Tell only those who will support you



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We love this unique framework. If you have a goal about something you want to give up such as smoking or drinking, tell everyone. However, if you have a move-up goal, like changing careers or starting a new business, only tell those who you know will support you in your decision.

People who support you won’t just blindly say yes to whatever you’re doing, and they shouldn’t. But they’ll know how to encourage you to accomplish your goals while providing constructive feedback when necessary.

3. Be firm about your goals and stop telling Mom



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Ha! This reader’s mother sounds like a lot of other mothers we know, willing to brag to their friends about their kid’s accomplishments, but won’t give them a single inch of support in private.

When this occurs, many are faced with a tough decision: Do I continue telling Mom about my goals or should I divulge this information with someone who’ll actually support me?

Thankfully, this reader chose the latter and made steps towards finding mentors who will help push her and not just constantly tear her down. You don’t have to cut your mom completely out of your life, especially if there’s still a lot of love otherwise.

4. Know when it’s time to cut them loose



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Low key: One of our favorite subreddits to browse is one called /r/RaisedByNarcissists. It’s a subreddit that acts as a support group to redditors who were raised by abusive, self-absorbed people, who often care more about their own self-image than how their kids might feel.

Reading the stories on that sub made us realize one thing: Sometimes, you simply have to stop putting up with the bullshit someone’s giving you, regardless of whether or not you’re related to the person.

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Mindset shifts for dealing with unsupportive family members

Share your why

If you have decided to follow a particular path or chase your dreams, don’t expect your family to get onboard automatically. Explain your reasons and help them understand why their support is essential. Let them know that even though things may change, your relationship will remain the same. Reassuring your family members may put them at ease. 

Since your family members are used to interacting with you in specific ways, sudden changes can be unsettling. Be patient and keep explaining why the change is essential until they get it. 

If they are unsupportive, find out why. They may be afraid for you or scared that you are leaving them behind. In such cases, you are likely to feel rejected and alone. While your first instinct may be to retreat and hold back information, you need to offer more information. 

Listen to their concerns patiently and put their minds at ease. Your loved ones are likely to support you if they understand you. 

Let go of expectations

Expectations breed disappointment. The sooner you let go of them, the better. No matter how hard you try, you will never get the support of certain family members, and that’s okay. Come up with a way to deal with your feelings without depending on others to validate them.

 When in doubt, remember that your passions are more important than what others think. Many people go through life trying to please others. They end up feeling unhappy and unfulfilled. If you are doing something you love, our founder Ramit Sethi advises that you let go of other people’s opinions. 

 Even though it is disheartening to lack support from your family members, life is too short to dwell on it. You don’t want to spend your life worrying about people and their opinions. Sometimes, their reasons for failing to support you are baseless and unwarranted. Follow your heart rather than the words of other people. 

Build your own support network

Create a support network away from your family. The network may include your friends, mentors, and others who wish you well. According to Ramit, when others support you, your family members’ criticism may not sting as much as when you have no support. 

 Everyone needs a strong social support network. It is essential when you are going through significant life changes or stressful times. If you have no one to lean on for support, you may experience feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, and isolation. When family members express their lack of support, it may send you over the edge. 

 You can create meaningful friendships and relationships no matter how old you are. It is never too late to create your support network. Friends, mentors, and other sources of support are an essential part of life. They make it easy to navigate tough times and celebrate wins. Your network can keep you accountable, making it possible to achieve your goals even faster. 

Set boundaries and stick to them

Everyone needs boundaries where their dreams are involved. While there is nothing wrong with taking the opinions of your loved ones, they must have limits. If everyone feels entitled to expressing all their views, you may be in trouble. Even when your family members disapprove of your goals, they should understand that the ultimate decision is yours. 

Boundaries are guidelines to let others know what you expect from them and how they can treat you. While they are mostly requests for other people to change their behavior, they can also be things you put up to protect yourself. 

One of the most significant benefits of boundaries is that they promote compassion. Even when your family doesn’t support you, boundaries can make them more compassionate. They can express their concerns and views respectfully. 

Boundaries will result in less anger and resentment. When there are no boundaries, your unsupportive family is bound to offend you. When you feel mistreated, you may feel angry and resentful towards them. From unsupportive parents to spouses and siblings, boundaries will speak for themselves. The chances of disrespect are reduced, and you are less likely to resent them. 

Why are some family members unsupportive?

Lacking the support of family members is more common than you may imagine. Here are a few reasons why some family members are unsupportive.  

They may not understand your mindset

Sometimes, family members are unsupportive only because they don’t understand your mindset. People have different views on finances, romantic relationships, and life in general. If you seem to be doing things out of the ordinary, it’s not surprising you might lack the support. 

When you are willing to take on financial, physical, or emotional risks, it may seem to them that you are making a mistake. According to Ramit, expecting everyone to understand your passion is unreasonable. The solution is to avoid discussing things with those who are unlikely to understand them. Create a balance between your passions and family life. Spend time with people who have similar interests. 

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They may be afraid for you

When you plan on doing something particularly risky, your family members may get afraid for you. Their fear can come out as criticism and lack of support. Everyone who loves you doesn’t want you to hurt.

Even when they don’t understand your interests, they probably know what it means to you. Whether you decide to go to college, start a business, quit a toxic marriage, or pursue a new career, they may not be as confident as you. They may be afraid that you will get their hopes up only to be disappointed. 

 Be conscious about how you speak to them. If you are constantly dumping your feelings of shame, fear, or pain on them, they are unlikely to be supportive. Even when you need to vent, talk about the positives as much as the negatives. It creates a sense of confidence in you and your family members. 

You aren’t paying attention to them

If you are putting a lot of your time and attention into something, your family may feel robbed of your time and attention. They may get jealous of the project or new interest. Since this may be hard for them to admit, they are likely to cite a different thing as the cause of their concern. 

You can avoid this by communicating and avoiding promises that you can’t keep. False promises deepen the feeling of disappointment. They may create resentment towards your interests. 

They may be struggling with their own issues

Sometimes, your family members cannot support you because they are dealing with their issues. Even when they try to understand your situation, they may be unable to support you actively. If, for example, someone is trying to leave their toxic relationship, they may have a hard time supporting them through their divorce. They may lack the emotional strength to handle it. 

You haven’t asked for support directly

Sometimes, you have to ask for support in actual words. If your family members don’t seem to be offering enough support, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Some of them might be perfectly willing to offer their support if they knew what you needed. Be specific about the type of assistance you need, and you are likely to get it. 

Perhaps, they don’t realize how much you need support, or they don’t understand the kind of support that would be most appropriate. A direct request can do more than you imagine.

You have unrealistic expectations

When you are excited about something new, you probably expect every family member to be equally excited. However, this expectation is unrealistic, and it could result in disappointment. It is unreasonable to assume that your loved ones will be supportive of everything you ever do. 

Even when they are supportive, they may not express it as you expect. People have their own lives going on. They may not show up and clap every time you want them to. Managing your expectations is the secret to avoiding disappointment.

What to do when your family doesn’t support you

To close, we’ll share a story from our founder, Ramit Sethi, about a time he dealt with unsupportive family members.

When I went to visit India a while back, I had moved on from looking like this?



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…to looking more like this.



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I remember, one of my uncles took one look at me and said, ‘You have become very fat!’ Which was funny because that uncle wasn’t exactly Mr. Olympia himself.

Later, another uncle saw me, squeezed my bicep, and said, Whoa! Been working out, Ramit?

And that uncle was actually ultra-fit!

So we had one overweight uncle tearing me down, and an uncle who worked out and knew I’d been working out too. Who was I to believe?

One of the keys to mastering my personal psychology has been choosing who to listen to and who can be smiled at, then ignored. When it came to the situation with my uncles, or any situation with unsupportive family members, it ultimately came down to how I reacted to the situation.

Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned after over a decade with IWT, it’s that you’re ALWAYS going to get unsolicited advice from people.

Novices will get frustrated. They’ll try and fight back against the criticism like, You can’t tell me what to do, MOM. I’m a grown-up now!

Top Performers plan for feedback. In fact, they’ll actively seek it out. They’ll plan for the doubters, concern trolls, and outright skeptics. I’ve been working on IWT since 2004, and people STILL doubt me and leave me rude tweets.

Over the years, I’ve learned a few things about why some people are 10x, or even 100x  happier, more confident, and more successful than others.

I compiled them into a program that shows you how to master the psychological “Success Triggers” that top performers use to shift their negative thinking into peak performance, natural confidence, and lasting happiness. Click here to learn more.

The truth is, some people are determined to be offended, or play the victim role, or be just plain shitty to you.

When this happens, ask yourself: Is this person in the position I want to be in?

Am I willing to get relationship advice from a friend who can’t hold down a relationship more than a month?

Am I getting business advice from my brother who’s been stuck in a dead-end job for years now?

Is my overweight uncle trying to dole out fitness advice?

OR am I working on mastering my own psychology, recognizing negative feedback (not simply trying to ignore it), and improving my response to it?

Remember: Opinions are cheap. Everyone will have them, because it’s easy to point out things you’re doing wrong, or ways you should think about things (we call these invisible scripts):

  • Just follow your passion!
  • A Dream Job? You should be lucky to have ANY job in this economy!
  • You need to track your spending.?
  • Buying a house is the best investment you can ever make.
  • Your first step needs to be social media.

Though they might seem like logical pieces of advice, they’re all ultimately useless.

So the next time you hear someone giving you advice, ask yourself two questions:

  1. Is the person I’m talking to really in a position I want to be in?
  2. Are they giving shallow advice (‘Buy a house!’), or if I pressed them on it, would they be able to back it up and give examples?

In the end though, you don’t have to listen to everyone and you definitely don’t have to give equal weight to the critics.

That goes for me too! Don’t just take everything I have to say to heart. Question my background. Question everything I’m telling you. In fact, you should do your research on me before listening to anything I have to say.

Wish you could connect with more amazing people, and not feel awkward in social situations? Download our FREE Ultimate Guide To Social Skills below.


  • Jonathon

    I know you said "don’t just say 'Cut them out of your life!' These are family members that they love and can’t turn their back on" but that's exactly what I did. Family or not, if they are dragging you down - cut them loose.

    • Kostas @ Finance Zone

      I agree with you Jonathon. I had family that was tearing me down and preventing me from achieving the goals I wanted, enough was enough. My success was paramount to my well-being, and ultimately my health.

    • James

      Hi I totally agree.. I have a sister who is always been judgmental on the things that I do, eg , you need to get your music properly produced if you want to make it in the industry.. Ohhhh if want to go live in Malta remember your gonna take whatever it is with you time and time again this was said.. When I said your judging me, I don't get in the habit of doing that to you she flew of the handle and started dredging up the past and got very defensive and a accused me of unloading my problems on her.. She got borderline nasty, I stopped it right there and said please do not contact me anymore and she began getting nasty and was saying who are you, she said looks like your in pain body some new age psych shit she was trying to unload on me.. Sometimes you have to just cut your losses with people even though they are family because they can hold you back severely..

    • Lee

      That's how I feel, and have felt for some time. They say they love you, but then are judgmental when you need to vent. Screw it.

    • Anon

      AMEN!!!! Just because they're "family" doesn't mean they have your best interests at heart. Love this!!!

    • Princess

      Amen. I've come to learn this myself . Love them or not this is sick, dysfunctional and twisted toxic behavior . Run and cry as you go the tears will dry up when you reach the next destination of purpose . There will either be a new family there or those who need a family just like you who are willing to offer mutual support and respect towards you well being and vice versa !

      • Scott

        Until u run into cacer once twice third hope fully the see you all in heaven im poor broken beaten and scarred

    • Jbbcmd

      I agree with you

  • Dawn S.

    Oh, Ramit... You have no idea how badly this hits home on a lot of fronts. Coming from a very traditional (i.e. non-entrepreneurial family), and having moved back from Europe last year, I seriously wish I had an American dollar every time I'd heard or had this conversation with people. (That's where my extra $1000 a month would come from.) I get this all the time from my parents. I moved my teaching business online before leaving Europe last year, and my parents (God love 'em) have been supportive...EXCEPT....except for hounding me about invoices that have not been paid (like I don't know?) ...EXCEPT....pointing out that I don't have enough money to get a car (leaving aside that I'm set to clear $27,000 in my first year of business back in Canada), EXCEPT pointing out that, if I had a "normal" job, I might be making closer to $35,000 and have some level of job security (leaving aside the expenses involved in working away from home.) I don't think people do that to be malicious. I really, honestly believe it comes from a vastly skewed perception of risk, and what looks like an insane idea to one person is totally rational and straightforward to someone else. Not everyone has the same stomach for risk that entrepreneurs have, either because of generational gaps or cultural ones (WIRED UK ran a brilliant article a couple of years ago about the difference in perceptions of risk between Americans and Europeans.) I think the most straightforward way of dealing with this (notice I didn't say "easiest"!!!) is to talk with those people and ask them, flat out, where their concern comes from and to re-assure them it's not as big an issue as they're making it out to be: "You've mentioned a couple of times that you're concerned about cash flow. I appreciate your concern, but don't forget that the business is diverse enough that cash comes from more than one area of this business." Everyone has different fear triggers, and a lot of times, they don't realize how much their fear triggers tend to dominate conversation. That said, a little aural filtering never hurts, either. I don't want to say that the person should be ignored (nobody paid attention to Pandora, either, about that box) but just remember that it's one voice among many. People are entitled to their opinions, and constructive feedback is welcome -- but there's a difference between constructive feedback and noise. Not everything has to be taken seriously if it's freely offered. If someone gives me an eyeball-bustingly ugly sweater, I'll thank them for the gesture, but I'm not going to wear it. The same could go for advice, especially advice that comes from a place of fear or a lack of information. Thanks again for opening up the debate. I think you'll get a lot of good debate on this one. -- Dawn

    • Catharine Hay

      I agree about the "vastly skewed perception of risk." For some people feeling secure is absolutely essential. For myself, what I want to accomplish is more important than feeling secure. For the people in my life who feel the need for security, my higher risk-taking level makes them nervous. They worry that something will happen to me, that I will get hurt or become homeless. As someone else mentioned in their comment, it is sometimes better to keep certain things to yourself. Also, if you have friends who are like family it is just as difficult to deal with these issues. Sometimes I have felt frustrated with my best friend's lack of support and negativity, but thinking about ending 34 years of friendship is extremely difficult. I having learned to keep some things to myself.

    • Rivka

      Great comment. I wonder how a stock reply would work, something light like, "Hey, I'm still young! I can handle some risk. Worse come to worst, I'll sign up for a 'normal' job before I'm 35."

  • Donna

    For some people, there are tactics they can use with their parents or family members to change the subject. "Oh, you may be right. What's up with Sports Team?" is a good starting point. If family members still want to dwell in the Misery Bucket, the individual could state directly that they don't want to talk about money with them, but they'd love to talk about family/hometown/whatever. Your request that we not say "Cut them off!" is loaded with assumptions about our families, that they are good people at heart, and raised us to succeed and thrive in the world. Not all of us are lucky enough to have those kinds of families, and assumptions like those are a reflection of society's expectations. Those of us with substandard families are pushed to reconcile, to keep the peace, to buckle under ridiculous expectations. I personally stopped talking to my family almost a year ago, and it's been one of the best years of my life. I understand that's not the point of this blog. I still wanted to point it out.

    • Queen

      That is true sometimes we have to cut them off and see them ocassionally. They mind is the most powerful and precious thing in the body in my opinion. Being that stress can lead to anything a peace of mind is important. I am thankful for this article because, I see I am not the only one who has to be bold and couragous. I have spent a lot of years trying to please my mom. At the drop of the dime whe threatens to put me out and she has before. I knwo she needs my help financially. But I am starting to feel like I have to make some changes where i can provide my own shelter rather my grandmother thinks I should just forgive and toughen up. I can do this but it is stressful. I want my peace of mind back I have to make some changes.

      • Princess

        Agreed . Forgiveness is just one part of the equation. Making a change a quick change sounds like a good idea to me .Based on your description of the matter .

    • Guan

      Hi donna, I also Have no memory of my immediate family (mother or siblings) supporting me. And I believe when I was a teenager I knew this would be the outcome. Sometimes I ask myself did I make it a reality?! But oh well, probably I just was intuitive. As the years go by, I keep adding more years that go by when I don't hear "How are you doing? How's your medical practice going? Can I come visit you?" I started doing it more to them aroun 2007. I would take trips and say they should communicate with me on skype. I got married and say come spend the weekend helping and celebrating with me. The numbers just don't make sense and I started adding things up to make this somewhat objective too! 2 months away - one phone conversation on skype, every call after she missed I believe Her wedding, $1000 for me; I even brought my dad, and did her reception photos; my wedding she misses Friday night family gathering, arrived late to the rehearsal, reports no one told her about the speech she is to write, and says when I bring this up--- "we all ready had fun, don't cause any mor drama" Multiply that by 3 (two other siblings-- in their own way they are like that too and 1 critical mother) and that's my "bio-family!" I hear them say when I say " sorry, I am not making it until You give me something to work with. I have relationships with people who understand balance and compromise. Her reply, " ask yourself are you doing anything to compromise? ( well yes I have a good lot of the time ! ) the second bio sibling is just a devil with two kids, so she looks like An angel in devil aura (steals, lies, causes unnecessary argument pointing finger at me - innocent!) The forth bio-daughter is a stonewaller and has a mean energy that is not emotional. So, I need to keep away, but I am Struggling which is why I am here.

  • Barley

    A mentor shared this with me: *Give-up goals, tell everyone. *Move-up goals, tell only your team or a select few that fully support you. For example, want to quit smoking? Tell everyone. The next time they see you smoke they'll be like... Want to pitch potential investors for 1m financing for your trading fund? Tell someone who has either done it before and succeeded or someone who knows that once you put your mind to something, you can't be stopped.

    • Elizabeth

      What a pearl of wisdom. Thank you.

    • Queen

      I love it!!!

    • Queen

      Rivka Link to this comment Great comment. I wonder how a stock reply would work, something light like, “Hey, I’m still young! I can handle some risk. Worse come to worst, I’ll sign up for a ‘normal’ job before I’m 35.” This helped me too

  • a-rex

    My parents are openly supportive but secretly unsupportive. My mother loves bragging about me to her friends and co-workers (I'm 20 and running a sweet little part-time business that pays for my university degree) but when the time comes for me to ask her questions about business, or go to the next step... she always stops me and tells me that I'm fine where I am, why grow when I'm good here, etc. It's definitely disheartening! I know she's proud of me, but her fear keeps me back a lot. For me, I've started being more firm about my business and stopped telling my mother, lol. Although she's an accountant with a huge company and has a business degree, I've made steps towards finding other mentors who can push me to bigger goals. I still share with her, love on her, and we talk about lots of things... just not what my near-future goals are. If I get to my goal, I tell her and she's happy. If I don't get there, she never has to know.

    • Princess

      What a wise young adult you are ! Preserve your relationship with mom and build a secret empire along the way !! So wise . Keep your head to the sky Blessings

  • Christie

    I get a combination of both subtle and direct criticism daily from my husband to my mother--from leaving the light on, to taking too long to write my dissertation, to how much I spent on a new pair of underwear, to why I am or am not taking or quitting this or that job/responsibility. I've determined nothing I say or do will change their attitudes--unless I die of course and they feel guilty. Their attitudes are products of their own issues, not mine.

  • Mike

    To all the folks who did just "cut" family out of there lives- wow. That's pretty harsh!! I had this happen to me and rather than cut important people out of my life, I did a few things. First, I looked at the person and their experience and found that often times, they just didn't know better. That their behavior matched that of their parents, etc.. So I used that as leverage "Remember when Joe didn't support you? Well it seems you are doing the same here- am I missing something"?. That helped people see their behavior, understand it and change it. And for those who didn't change- that was OK. Because I knew that I could change my reaction to them. Instead of getting angry, hurt and upset- I stopped talking about those things with them. If they asked, I decided not to talk about it. When they asked why- I told them that I felt like they weren't supporting my endeavor and gave examples- of course with the caveat that "it could just be me". This kind of approach was non-offensive and gave ME control over the situation. When someone said something I didn't want to hear- I changed my reaction- I didn't try to change them. I did not put myself in stressful situations and not only did several people change their attitude towards me, those who didn't- simply stopped commenting. Worked like a charm- no one was hurt or upset and no arguments. Been doing this for 6 years now and believe me- it works.

    • Ian

      This is what I have done. Simple solution, which you have put very clearly. I have found asking questions as you have done, is better than answering them. By asking questions the party has to think for themselves what they are saying. It is one of the best ways to get through.

    • LPG

      Sometimes in order to maintain your health and live a positive life, you must cut-out family members. Being family is not an excuse to accept ill treatment. As harsh as it may seem, sometimes it is essential

    • Guan

      great to hear how this has become your way; this is the way I have been searching for. I just needed demonstrations and to perfect it. I am a little to direct for this approach where I would rather list what it is I see is wrong; and help them correct it. However, that also does not work, so, now I am just saying to them ... " sorry I won't make it " because I am trying to teach them that I have a great existence that I want them to be a part of. " I am trying to include them in my life. They include me in theirs, but with no love and kindness - just impulsiveness, competition, and at times ignoring me and not replying to my requests! (A basic one like I am planning he family reunion, how would you like to help?), no balance either ( I don't drive and they ask me to go see them, and when I did drive I said I am in town to visit -- and during that day I visit visit first bio daughter drives out of town for some ridiculous thing ( going to get a back pack from the city I just left!) So, I hope I can apply this but I may just need to remove all ties, I Have done this in the past and it was beautiful!! maybe I can make this my wish to have great loving and supportive people around me!

    • jack

      i agree with you but when you try it over n over n over again and its going no where one has to asked it self is it worth it any more. so for now i cut off my family. all family bro, sis, dad, cousins all. One has to ask one self what more important: to do what u r doing and get no where and have one health, energy being wasted on ones who don't give a flying whatever about you, or taking that energy and applying it to people who want to be in your life who make sure your health is great, your happy, and making one life worth living.

    • Lisa

      You made a good point its worth a try.

  • Jon

    My buddy Adam recently wrote about this issue. Here's a bit of what he would say: -------- Understanding why people sabotage us will make it a lot easier to deal with. With consistency comes results. Sadly, this is also when the saboteurs try to work their toxic magic.It can be very frustrating, even hurtful, when our coworkers, friends and even family members might try to sabotage our efforts. First, we have to understand human behavior – at its WORST. A study quoted in the book The Paradox of Choice gave participants hypothetical choices concerning status and asked for their preferences. For example, people were asked to choose between a) earning $50,000 a year with others earning $25,000 or b) earning twice as much, $100,000 a year but being surrounded by people earning $200,000. Which would you choose? Sadly (at least to me), more than half the respondents chose the option that gave them the better relative position. That means earning $50,000 to $100,000 because at $50,000 they were earning more than others, while at $100,000 they were earning less than others. (I think this is crazy! BUT, it doesn’t matter what I think. For many, this is how they feel. For some humans, this IS their nature.) Although we’re hard wired to compare, it’s who we compare ourselves to that can make or break our happiness. Ideally, we wouldn’t compare ourselves to anyone. Really! Besides, your status compared to other people isn’t how YOU’RE doing. Because we now know that many would prefer the better relative position, it’s easy to see why people would sabotage our efforts. Let’s go even deeper… Are you familiar with the term cognitive dissonance? This happens when we have two conflicting desires. It is well known that smoking cigarettes can cause lung cancer yet every person I’ve ever met wants to live a long, healthy and fit life. The uncomfortable tension caused by these two opposing ideas — wanting to smoke but also wanting to be healthy and fit — is known as dissonance. As humans, we look to get rid of this uncomfortable feeling. (This is known as dissonance reduction.) The only way to get rid of this uncomfortable feeling is by a) quitting smoking b) denying that people actually get sick from smoking or c) justifying and rationalizing. For example, a smoker could rationalize their behavior by believing that few people get sick from smoking, it only happens to people who smoke more than they do, if smoking doesn’t kill them something else will, they’ll quit next year, it’s too expensive to quit, or they only live once and they deserve to smoke. In essence, they either need to take action (quit smoking and get whatever help they need “Ugh, ‘so and so’ looks so good! I wish I could have the “discipline” it takes to look that good too!” They need to get rid of this uncomfortable feeling somehow though… Sadly, these people know deep down they’re not going to take any action THEMSELVES, and nothing is going to change on their end. So, if they can’t change their own body (most people don’t really want to change — they rather TALK about changing), they’ll try to bring down the people around them who are. This is how they get rid of the dissonance or uncomfortable feeling they’re experiencing. Again, as sad as it is – it’s human nature. Fighting human nature is silly. When we understand what’s going on around us, it makes it a lot easier to call it what it is and move on. WHAT IF: every time someone was trying to sabotage us, we flipped it, and said to ourselves, “Bring it! I must be looking good! Damn. This consistency stuff is working!” while smiling to ourselves? Sure it can be hurtful that our coworkers and friends are sabotaging us — even our loved ones! But, if we understand human behavior, and accept it, rather than fight it, we can at least understand why they’re doing it. And maybe, just maybe, look at it in a completely different way.

  • Ashweeta

    The answer may seem simple but love yourself and be confident in your decisions. A person or even family member can bring you to a point of poison ONLY if you feel that that poison is in you too. Example – if you do not think you are fat and someone calls you fat – you don’t care. We look to family for approval and wish that they could support us in everything we do. But it isn’t that simple, generation gaps, different cultures, depending on where/when you grew up, all factor into a person’s or your family’s thought process. If you are truly doing what you want with your life (now here is the big question) – YOU ARE BEING TRUE TO YOURSELF, there is a huge chance that you will shine. Family will see that glow and either go to another member that they can influence/bring to their level or they may actually stop judging you. Because they can’t when you are smiling and happy. You must ask yourself why you feel the need for their approval as a grown adult that has achieved X, X and X? Yes, it hurts and sucks when they jab you. The main question is what do you do when you do not get the approval you seek from your family? Stop seeking it. If you are not seeing eye to eye with your family you may not want their approval because the person that you want to become doesn’t fit into their “approval” bucket. So leave it be. You cannot please everyone and you don’t have to, please realize that most people in that state of poison do not want to be pleased. Focus on yourself. Nothing can shake you if you are confident. I adopted my son as a single mom. Logical for me because I come from a poor country but as an Indian women it was a tsunami of a decision. Three years later, seeing my little family and how I glow, everyone has changed their views on me and my little guy.

  • Annika S

    I've found that as I've become clearer on my goals, as my own self-doubt has lessened, so has the criticism from my family. The more they see that you're not going to change, the more likely they are to support you or leave you alone. My father still occasionally bugs me about returning to university, but I realize that its because he never went himself and has missed out on several promotions because of it. Understanding why family members are saying the things they do (usually they are projecting their own fears onto you) makes a huge difference in the ay it affects you, and in the way you deal with it. 2. I am a very frank and straightforward person, so I would recommend this person sit their family down and explain that they feel unsupported and physically sick from the thingsthey say. Explain that the path I have chosen is not going to change, and that because I know everything they say comes from a place of love, ii would appreciate it if they show their love for me by minimizing tthe criticisms and focusing on the positive. If they are open to it, maybe even show them some law of attraction stuff, ''I want you to be happy, bbutyou can't be happy if you complain all the time. Can we all try and see the positive in things more often?'' Interesting discussion Ramit, thanks!

  • Hai

    I recently decided to open up a business within the next 2 months and I am deciding if I should do a straight online and in-person marketing strategy or a brick and mortar ( about 15 times more expensive). Without hearing the details, my brother said that it was going to be expensive. His way of saying "I don't know if you should... " I come from a business background and thought the risk were high, but not that high. The risk is extremely high because most people cannot put the amount of work, persistent, and dedication towards the daily grind that comes along with the nightmares that keeps you up at night, to running a business. The sole purpose of education is to instill in you a conviction to do the things you KNOW you must do. If you do not need your family's support (financially) or if you have some time before you become a little dependent on their support then just simply start without them knowing. See what happens. The worst case is that it fails and you learned (usually) lessons worth a hell of a lot more than the time and money you put in. If you don't have time, then start with common grounds; your well being. Your ability to support yourself. Pick up a part time job and move out. Do something, ANYTHING, to remove yourself from an environment that isn't supportive. If absolutely no one in your life is supportive then find a group of entrepreneurs who are! There's always a group in almost every city. They'll be the support you need to raise your standard. Those are the people who understands the nightmares that keeps you awake at night because the daily grind is tougher than almost any other jobs out there.

  • Chris

    1. Years ago, I stopped being in an industry where I made good money but I really didn't not enjoy it, how about the word "hate" to describe it. My father said why don't you go back and I said if I did I would feel like I want to die. Really. Fast forward -years- I grew up. If you would offer me a position in the first industry, I would actually consider it. I can call it what it is and navigate. There are things I own and there are some things I don't own... which leads me to #2 2. The person who is not getting support; part of it is our perception. Change it. But acknowledge that dysfunction is there at the family environment. But as you know Ramit, s/he has do do their part. S/he ought to get her own support system. S/he can't control what family members say or do. But s/he can address each issue when it arises. Part of this is growing up... we all have to do. It's good that s/he loves her/his family. No one is perfect and neither is s/he.

  • Tom

    My wife and I have both been very creative people our entire lives - me a fiction writer specializing in sci-fi, fantasy, and domination erotica and her a physical artist working primarily in artisan-style media (chainmaille, jewelry, leather working, some paper crafts) - and we've both experienced significant amounts of resistance, often masked as concern, from our families both long before and now after getting together. Her issues have always come from her mother and stem from being the most socially capable and hard-working daughter of a family of truly awkward and lazy women, essentially the only useful person born into a group of very, very useless ones. Since she was old enough to work she has always been pushed into the most available, usually least lucrative, job available by her mother because her family "needs help." That was always the phrase, even to this day. Somehow, her mother blows every cent of a $35k a year income even though she barely pays rent to a friend whose basement she lives in alone, and at least every 3 months comes looking for "help." Even when we briefly lived with her in a townhouse and paid the rent, cable, utilities, and bought most of the food in the house, she'd need "help" at least weekly. She once sat me down with a piece of paper she'd drawn up of the things she still paid for and explained how much of an atrocity it was that she had two other adults living with her and she still had to pay for any of her expenses. The general assumption has always been that most of this "help" ends up distributed amongst a network of unworking sisters and cousins that my wife's mother keeps in close contact with. So, every time my wife attempted to branch out or study for a new career or interview for a new job or just try to sell some art in her spare time, she was "being selfish" because the family "needed help." My own experiences generally came from the fact that most of the members of my family live very lower class until they reach middle-class and upper-middle-class income levels of income in their 50's. For whatever reason, the lesson they drew from this trend isn't that if you work hard and diligently you'll reach success, but rather that the only factor in success is time rather than effectiveness. We had a saying that you had to "pay your dues" before you could be successful, meaning basically that anyone who did something well and succeeded because of it before their 50's had simply gotten lucky and hadn't really earned it and no matter how poorly you did something you would eventually be successful if you just drudged long enough. So, every time I would tell anyone I was writing something or trying for a new job or even when I got out of college and got a fairly well-paying job, I was told I had to "pay my dues" and trying for or even getting some level of success wasn't warranted or earned because I was too young. Even now that I've been laid off and had to start over from retail (for a variety of reasons I won't get into) and actually worked my way into a fairly good position for this level in the company, since I'm only 29 I'm still told that I shouldn't expect it to last or that I might not have entirely earned it because I haven't "paid my dues." I guess that's the downside of being born into a region that's big on unions (Minnesota). Even when she finally accepted that maybe I had earned being a good retail worker at 29, when my mother found out how little I get paid (just under $10 an hour, pretty good for a retail position in my region) her immediate reaction, despite knowing that I really like the business I work for and the people I work with, was "oh, that's no good. You should start looking again right away. I saw Aldi was hiring." On my writing, the resistance has been equal. Always growing up the plan was that I would go to Saint Paul Technical College, learn computer programming, and get a $100k+ a year job in that industry, and use a significant portion of that to get a wife, have a family, and build a mother-in-law cottage next to the house for my mother to live in. This was because, except for the cottage part which she actually read about in a magazine, that was exactly what my mother had wanted to do until her father told her that "computers are just a fad" and "women aren't smart enough for college" back in the late 70's. She did eventually become a fairly good software support technician through years of hard work. So, anytime I deviated from the plan even the slightest bit - such as even mentioning the idea I might want to write for a living - she would tell me "writing's a good profession, but not until you make it big as a writer. You need a good dayjob first." For years, that phrase followed me around, squawking from her like a memorized phrase in a parrot: "You need a dayjob first." Due to a variety of circumstances, my family heavily worships the concept of corporations and looks to them exclusively for their income, always one job at a time. When I finally started writing erotica and actually making a little money off of it - the first personal project that I made any income off of - I got equal resistance. My mother told me it was "demeaning to women," not taking into account what I was writing centered on women dominating men, and my step-father - overall an amazing man who taught me an immense amount about home improvement and maintenance and whom I, oddly, have always resembled as if I were actually his son despite not meeting him until I was 24 (is there such a thing as a reverse Oedipus syndrome in which a woman hooks up with a man who's a lot like her son?) - likened writing erotic novellas to rounding up all the local women and pimping them out. Though, over time they simply learned to drop the subject, especially after I started getting checks from the advertisers on my pen name's blog. I guess you can't really argue with money, can you? As for solutions, my wife and I both took the same method through our youths. Until we met (or re-met actually, we've known eachother since middle school but only started dating about two years ago and got married this year) and started looking to eachother for support and to bounce ideas off of, we toiled in secret, rarely letting our families know we were actually doing the thing they didn't want us to. In addition, we both took to hiding our finances from our families and pretending to be less off than we are, a tactic we still use to keep their grubby hands off of what we've earned. As we've gotten older, we've been able to start going to places consistent with our interests (primarily gaming stores with open gaming nights) and have met several interesting writers and artists who think a lot like us and we've been able to build a small support community for ourselves of like-minded people. And when it comes to continuing to deal with family members who you might still be tied to in some way or another, my ultimate advice is simply to limit exposure and learn to protect your secrets. Family doesn't need to know everything about you. In fact, it can be very detrimental to let them know much more than the basics and the things you know they'll approve of. My wife and I have even gone as far as to essentially create characters that we "play" when we're around our families to make interactions easier and minimize chances of either having a project dismissed or having someone try to glum onto the results of our hard work. Also, we try to never see a member of our family more than once every few weeks and screen all of our calls so we can decide if we want to talk to someone.

  • Jesus Magana

    If they are raising questions to make cut you down, instead of arguing with them you can ask for their advice of what would be the first thing they do in they were in your position. This will lead to: - Turn they negative questions to a constructive comments or suggestion - They will be conscious that if they raise up a question, they have to provide a possible solution, not just the problems, because you will ask for them.

  • Nathan

    I used very clear lines with my Dad. He tended to not realize he was discouraging me from a dream he once had too. When he would say things like "you haven't thought of this x-angle" or "how are you possibly going to handle y or z" I would tell him "If he didn't want to help me or encourage me than we shouldn't talk about my work". I also maintained being kind and level-headed in my responses. Currently, after a year of having that line drawn he has join the support train. It was hard to build a wall, but I knew if I kept it small he would some day climb it. But I also knew my relationship. For us it was possible have a subject that we didn't talk about, for other that might not always be true.

  • Becky Jewell

    1. After reading this blog, I realize that I am blessed to have a very supportive family ... (Maybe even overly supportive! Perhaps that could be a blog for later, Ramit). 2. I feel the best path for this person would be to just ask his/her family point-blank about WHY they blame him/her, and WHY they choose to wallow in misery. Get to the root of it. Why are they blaming? Why blame at all? What does this behavior mean, and if the family has to keep doing it, how can this person see their situation and choices clearly, despite the family? Seeing a situation clearly despite a family opinion means involving friends, advisors, or even random people. Don't cut ties with the family, just get some perspectives from those outside of the family. It's good to keep in mind that our families can be hard on us because they love us, but sometimes, being a hardass, or being engulfed with fear can get in the way of love. It's better to just love first, or create love if it is being swallowed up by fear, anxiety or depression.

  • Doug

    This advice I found from an old Pam Slim blog post. I have used it and it works, up to a point. When a family member criticizes you for your life choices, agree. Roll over and show your belly. Tell them, yes, your are absolutely correct, I could loose my job, have no money and wind up living in a van down by the river. Yes, thanks for warning me. Stop talking there, and keep your resolve to live your own life. Always listen and ask yourself privately if there is value in their advice. Respect your elders, but you don't have let them lead you through life. Sometimes you do have to cut people out of your life. If they are actively trying to be destructive to you and those closest to you, cut the ties and go on with your life.

  • Kevin

    I've never had family members be overly concerned about the main decisions of my life, but I certainly have had friends who have gone through this. It seems like most of them come to a place where their only option is to set very clear and healthy boundaries, and do their best to lead by example, and prove their family members wrong. I think there's a middle way between cutting family out completely and letting their opinions ruin your life. I think it's also important to consider that, on a deeper level, you're the one creating them showing up in your reality not supporting your decisions. If you can look at this from this perspective, you'll realize that they are likely reflecting back to you a hidden belief you have about yourself. Sometimes, shifting out of our own limiting beliefs is the key to healing these kinds of painful dynamics with family.

  • Frank M

    1) When I told my parents I was going to do Effectiveness Coaching on the side, my mom told me "That's so stupid! Starting a business is dangerous! When you go broke, don't come to me for help!" Honestly, my family is very morally supportive (i.e. "we believe you're awesome just the way you are!"), but when it comes to something "risky" like starting a business, their invisible scripts start to show (i.e. "That's so stupid! You're going to go broke!" even though it's a consulting business where I put down no capital). 2) How I recommend dealing with an unsupportive family (or a family who's fearing for you) can be summarized into two points: - Get a support group. - Understand your family members' points of view (not necessarily agree). The first point doesn't have to do directly with the question, but I find it's INCREDIBLY important to have some sort of support group. You're human, and those movies where you see the hero go against everyone's expectations of failure and emerge successful are dangerously fallible. If you're surrounded by people who don't support your desire to improve or try new things, you'll eventually lose steam & motivation and stop trying... we're social animals, we need some support and encouragement from our peers along the way. And with a solid support group/person/friend/whatever, you'll at least have a strong core of confidence that's not dependent on your family. The second point involves truly understanding the family member who's "tearing you down". Very rarely do people who care about you truly want to see you fail or tell you you suck - they're giving you advice because they truly think it's best for you. For instance, my mom may think I'll go broke from being a part-time consultant, but when I apply higher level understanding to her perspective, I can see that: - She knows that money in my pocket will be there to stay, and she wants to make sure I, as her son, am not going to be broke and in the streets from poor spending decisions. - She wants me to be smart with my money and not spend it on stuff that I'm not absolutely sure is worth the money (i.e. a bad info product). - She wants to enforce that I'm great just the way I am, and that I'm not confusing "self-development" for "buying this product will fix me". - She wants to ensure that I'm not trying to find a magic bullet and, therefore, get scammed like she sees happening on TV every day (which is why she was uncertain of the IWT book on my shelf =P) This is kind of like using Ramit's example of the Straightjacket Technique, but to understand your family instead of a client. After some practice, you can reflect on their perspective in real time. Then talk to that perspective: "Honestly, thanks Mom, I really appreciate that you're on my side and wanting me to make wise decisions. I'm personally taking baby steps so that, if I do fail, it'll be a quick $10 learning experience than a calamity." She may still have some objections, but you at least covered the overall theme: Thanking her for caring. You don't have to agree with their "why behind their statement" - I understand she wants me to be smart with money but I personally dedicate 20% of my earnings towards self-development since I've SEEN the results. But at least by understanding the why behind it, it makes the conversations less about you and more about them wanting to see you achieve your best, which is a much more healthy perspective to take. - Frank M

    • Matthew

      Great reply. A support group is something I hadn't really thought about. I have been trying to fight my battle by myself. Thank you once again for the good read!

  • Eleanore Strong

    1. Yes, this has happened to me. A lot of the people I'm close to don't really get the whole "making money online" thing. They usually take the subtle approach, expressing doubts such as "How can you make money from that?" or "What if people don't like what you write?" 2. As far as how this person should deal with their unsupportive family, it sounds like a boundary issue to me. "Letting go" IS the answer, but that doesn't necessarily mean “cutting them out of your life." The question is WHAT to let go of. In this case, this person needs to do some inner work in order to stop allowing the family to emotionally manipulate them. That can absolutely be done while still maintaining a relationship. The reader said, "They wallow in misery and blame me for it." The answer to this is: when they start talking about their "misery," you CALMLY say, "I'm sorry to hear that. How can I help?" and MEAN it. You don't lose your cool, and you don't get angry even if they do. If they blame you for their problems, you calmly decline to accept that blame, and you don't get defensive. You can say something like, "I'm sorry this isn't going well for you. I hope you get it worked out. If there's something I can do, let me know." You can even train them not to become angry and heated in such conversations by declining to get sucked into that way of interacting. I've found that saying calmly, "Sounds like you're upset. Why don't we continue this conversation later when you've calmed down", and repeating as necessary until they either calm down or end the interaction, usually does the trick. The bottom line is that somebody cannot treat you poorly without your allowing it. You can still care for someone without feeding their dysfunctional behaviors. I actually wrote an article on my website a couple of weeks ago on this very topic. It's called "How Do You Know if It's a Dealbreaker?"

  • Megan

    I think Jen Dziura covered it really well (here: when she said that sometimes earning more money actually gives you the freedom to make better decisions about your familial obligations. Then you can help out and keep the connection in ways that aren't using up all of your time and opportunities.

    • Matthew

      That was a great post by Jen. Thank you for the share.

  • Garth

    I actually find it motivating! My Dad is very entrepreneurial and supportive but my Mum is much more cautious and pessimistic. I like having both sides of the coin to bounce things off and I find my Mum's conservatism actually encourages me to try harder and prove her wrong!

  • ian

    I have found in western society that the idea of making money is not very popular. There seems to be more appreciation here in Australia for someone to sit around and collect money from the government than to go out and make a living. Entrepreneurs are about taking an idea and making money from it. If you were to talk about teaching or a learning pursuit that would be fine But to talk about money is not okay. We do not even get taught how to budget properly at school. That is really showing a lack in this society where we are expected to make money for 45 years or so of our lives and not discuss how to improve our lives with income. Other countries where I have lived which are not 1 world respect the idea of taking a skill, product or asset and developing it, to that you and those around you can benefit. Mostly people who have always had money from some source or other do not realize that the money they received came from someone else's effort in trade of some sort. After paying bills, taxes and wages, the entrepreneur is the last to be paid.

  • Lily

    1. How has this happened to you? Specifically, if you’ve ever had a family member be unsupportive, what exactly did they say? (Did they come right out and say, “That’s a bad decision!” Or were they more subtle about it?) My parents highly value education. I took a nursing degree in the first place because of them. I wanted to do architecture initially but my father wanted me to take up a proven high-earning degree. He'd say 'Oh but it's up to you. What I'm saying is that nursing guarantees income. After you do nursing and earn money, then you can do whatever you want. Look at your aunt! She's a successful nurse! Oh but it's up to you. I'm just saying.' It made me extremely miserable and I dropped out after a year. I transferred to an arts school and took up graphics design and multimedia. But in those years I have not truly enjoyed myself. I did not understand if I really liked this specific type of design course. I mostly took it up because my parents don't want me out of school. I earned high grades when I started. Even making the dean's list consecutively. But then it took a toll on me that I didn't appreciate what I was doing. And after 3 years I stopped school again. I got frustrated with myself about not being able to deliver and questioning how did I get to hate something that I used to love? It's really hard when you don't get support from your parents or you do get support but it's confusing. And I try my best to please them but that never works out. Because putting other people's happiness before your own will only make you miserable. 2. How would you recommend this person deal with their unsupportive family? What exactly should they do? I have 'developed' my own technique on dealing with my opinionated family members. When your loved ones give you advice, listen to them. If in YOUR JUDGEMENT they are talking crap, let the advice pass from one ear to the other. And just go ahead and do whatever it is you want. If they are making sense then you pick up their advise and apply it in your life. Keep the positive, drown the negative. You don't need to listen to them because most of the time they don't know what they're talking about. Or what they're talking about does not apply to you because you have different interests. And that is OK. We're all human. Just know what you want to achieve and work your way to get there. It's your choice and you shouldn't let other people put you down. And because it's your choice, no one can really do anything about it. So learn to always have your back when you're making decisions. Whether it works or not, self-reliance is an amazing tool that boosts you to do better and more worthwhile things.


    I did cut them loose, all of them. 10 years or so later they started being really supportive. Too late folks! If cutting them lose is not an option I'd advice doing your own and dont waste time negotiating. Kind of cutting them loose insitu. Before I was able to cut them loose I spent what... 15 years trying to move along with them. If there was a way Im pretty sure I would have found it. Just do your thing instead. See if they come and welcome them if so, but dont sweat it, its your life and your rewards and none of their business.

  • oswoods

    On the one hand, I had a mother who was a narcissistic alcoholic. It was all about her and I kept looking for a "mom" until I grew up enough to realize that wasn't going to happen. Then, I stopped talking to her. Now, my dad is another story. He is risk-averse himself and wants only the very best for his little girls. If he had his way, I would have lived with him until he died. So, support only came for "appropriate" ventures (marriage, steady job). I kept him in my life, but didn't expect support. Once I stopped expecting it - and stopped talking about certain things - we got along better. I'm not proud of it, but on a few occasions, I stretched the truth a bit. "Things are going great! You wouldn't believe what's going on." After a while, I think he realized that he couldn't change my mind and didn't want to know all the hairy details.

  • Dean Saliba

    For a number of years I kept my online earning a secret from my family because I knew that they would look down their noses at me and accuse me of doing nothing more than playing games all day and that I should go out and get a real job. When I did finally tell them they reacted in EXACTLY the way that I thought they would. It is some SIX years later and they still treat me as a layabout who can't be bothered to get a job and spends all day playing games online, I have shown them what I do plenty of times, but they just dismiss it. I have come to the conclusion that it is pure jealously, jealously that they put in twice as much hours at work as I do and I still make double the money they do.

  • Tom Rose

    The short of it: I don't bring it up, and they have an opportunity to send negative vibes. I have a co-worker that has a laser focus on failure and things that go wrong. Sometimes, I find it very difficult to talk with him about my ideas because there is so much negativity dragging things down. What I have started doing to deal with this is simply recognize that he is not a good resource during the brainstorming phase of an idea of project. Instead of going to him with ideas, I go to other people with ideas and don't loop him in unless I have a need for specific feedback that only he can provide. This is someone that I see almost every day, so it's difficult to have something on my mind that I don't say out loud. Often, I find myself sabotaging myself by blurting out something that I'm thinking, but I almost immediately realize that it's a mistake. Over time, I have gotten better and better at controlling myself. I didn't always thing that this was true, but I now believe that, it *is* possible to have someone omnipresent in your life, but still keep them fairly walled off on certain issues. Basically, if I don't want negativity, I just don't bring it up :)

  • Guro Weich

    Family is great and I am lucky to have a great family. But when it comes to Job, life dreams and business. Family can have different perspectives and opinions and it's really hard when I want to have approval from my Dad. I've realized that he will never understand or "approve" or see it through my eyes. He will always be my dad and want to help me by pointing out things that he thinks I need to know about. I realize when I talk to him, all I want him is to listen and "approve". There are so many details and none of it all matters because you have to do it or you don't do it. It's not gonna matter over some minor details or major details when it comes down to the moment of truth. My dreams and goals are really mine to chase and nobody else can see though my "eyes". Even if my Dad agreed with my plan, it still mine to run out and execute. It's better to have somebody else that is not personally close to me to be a mentor in my business and life dreams or job. Family it always can be taken the wrong way when the parent is "trying" to help the child. When you're young and learning that's when it's time for the parent to be a parent. When I've reached a point where I can made decisions then it's time for me to take the stick and wheel. The drive is a beautiful one.

  • Nina

    I told my parents I only wanted their blessings. Not their unsollicited advice, nor their (usually unconstructive) criticism. So now I send them my best wishes, I pray for them daily, but I almost completely broken up with them because I can't take their negativity. I know they are good people, but they are trapped in their own negativity. They harms themselves as well as people around them, just like a smoker would do;

  • BobNeil

    Very non-specific question and example but speaking from experience: Communicate clearly in a variety of ways what your position is and how their behavior makes you feel. Make a direct request for them to stop specific behavior. If they don't stop, get counseling together so an independant 3rd party can mediate and help each party understand the other. If they still don't support you and you still feel "poison" from them, the choice is to keep them in your life out of duty and the love you feel for them despite the pain they cause. Or to let them go. An excruciating choice. Suggesting that you shouldn't cut them out because they are family isn't good advice for a subset of "unsupportive relationships". Emotional (and physical) abuse fall into this broad category and ultimately many people need to find a happier future without their family (and perhaps start a new one based around similar values).

  • Diane

    My mom is very insecure about so many things. Any success I have, I want her to be proud of me, happy for me, but instead it is threatening to her. She once actually said "you can't be better than me." My feelings about this vary. When I'm strong, I am sorry for the things that hurt her so deeply and that are the source of her insecurity. Then I'm kind and even protective of her. When I'm not as strong, when it makes me angry, I shift my focus. I remind myself that her behaviour is hers. My behavior, my world is where I put my focus. When she (or anyone else is) is cruel, I remind myself that success (taking care of myself, getting what I need) is the best revenge.

    • Bill

      I try to remind my parents that my success is a reflection of their input and upbringing. Any success I have should be viewed as partly how they raised me. To her comment "You can't be better than me," I might respond, "Mom, I'm not trying to be better than you. I'm trying to be best that you've taught me to be. You've raised me to persue excellence and I am. Thank you for teaching me that!" Giving a little credit to them may help change the tone and conversation.

  • Margarita

    There are a couple of ways to cope. If you have a concern troll in your family you'll need to get some distance (geographic or temporal) from them. It's hard enough to do what you need to do without being dragged down. So be sure to spend time with the right peer and support group. The second thing is to be selective about what you share and with whom. There are some things I just don't share with certain people because I don't want to elicit their limited mindset. I talk to them about other things. Just as you shouldn't talk about sex or politics over Thanksgiving dinner with your relatives, it might be a good idea not talk about your new venture until it iss well on its way.

  • Bill

    This has happened to my wife and I. When we asked her family to help us take a trip to Paris by watching our 3 children, they sat us down and told us that they didn't think the timing was right. They brought up concern for the children, the fact that my wife was 3 months pregnant, and projects around the house that could be completed with the money we'd spend on the trip. We listened to their concerns, thanked them for expressing their concern for us, and then told them that while we understand their position, we have decided that we are still going. If they did not want to watch our children, we would completely understand and make other arrangements They helped us and it was the best thing for our marriage that we've ever done. I would tell this person that the concerns most often come from fear of the unknown. I would encourage him/her to ask them to explain more about their concerns. "That's interesting. Why do you think that? Maybe there is something I haven't thought about." This engages them into helping you address a concern that they brought up. If they respond with a nonsense answer (e.g., "It always happens like that,"), then responding (politely) with the research you've done to support your decision may help inform them and settle their fears. Sometimes, when those fears are paranoia and cannot be addressed regardless of facts, then perhaps consider addressing it from a relationship perspective. "I understand that you are concerned about me. I've done a lot of research and have prepared as best I can. What I really need now is people who will support me, cheer me on, and offer helpful advice. Since you're my sibling/parent, I was really hoping to have you as one of my supporters. You don't have to buy my product/service to support me. Just your words of encouragement are plenty. I know there are a lot of risks in starting a business, and it hurts when you assume that I will fail. I'd really like your support, but if you don't think you can give it, then would you help me by not making negative comments?" This provides gives the family member two options: 1) support me, or 2) stop discouraging me. If they won't, then I would limit the opportunities they have to make the comments. When comments, come, ignore the comment and change the conversation.

  • JJ

    Whenever someone spouts me with their misery, I immediately counter with something along the lines of "What can we do about it?" And keep hammering this question (in various forms) until the conversation switches from complaining to finding solutions.

  • Amith Reddy

    I have become more entrepreneurial this year, and begun to explore non traditional ways of earning. My mom and my dad have been extremely un-supportive. 1. My mom is more straight forward in discouraging me: "That's not going pan out", "Your thinking is in the clouds", etc etc. My dad is much more subtle. He says he worries "that I will fail and will become depressed" (or some other home brewed physiology BS). Or a sarcastic comment out of the blue when we are talking about a completely different topic. I found that both are extremely amazingly creative at coming up with BS, on why I shouldn't put in effort to improve my skills. 2. I encountered this kind of resistance only this year so I have not formed any strategies to dealing with kind of this. However I found its best not to reason with them, since their concerns are fear based so they excel at coming up with all sorts of nonsense which will outlast your reasoning capacity and demotivate you heavily. It best not to add fuel to the fire and let the conversation move to another topic.

  • Nina

    Hello, Thanks for sharing. At one point, my sister told me : sometimes businesses don't work out. My ex told me to go get a real job. To be honest, I let go of my ex for other reasons. However, my sister is a different story. She is someone who I love and respect. So, it was very hurtful when she told me to get a job instead of moving forward with my business. The way I handled it was: I told her thank you for your opinion, but this is something that I am passionate about and I am going to do whatever it takes to grow my business. I respect your opinion, but lets just agree to disagree. Therefore, I will not talk to you about my business ventures anymore. When I hit 7 figures, then we can talk about my business, deal. So, I just stopped talking to her about my business ventures and continued to talk to her about all the fun sister stuff!

  • Maegan Anderson

    Focus on your dreams and goals in your life. Don't let other people steal your dreams, even they are one of the member of your family. Just listen to them, but then again the decision is still yours. If you can fight for it, then do it.

  • Robert

    You would think that family members would be the most supportive of anyone starting up a business. Sure you'd expect them to express any doubts, that's natural but once you decided on a course of action then you would think you would get their backing. Sadly it doesn't work like that. People do not understand the concept of internet marketing; it sounds a bit shady to them. I would explain that I am building websites, some of them I sell from, some I use as affiliate sites. Nope, still nobody understood. Then one happy day my sister was visiting and saw me writing an article on the computer - content for one of my sites. "Ah, so you write articles, that's what you do!". I saw no reason to argues and from that day on my job was a "writer" which everyone in the family is happy with. Apparently a writer is a respectable profession, whereas a marketer is not. Go figure :-)

  • Matthew

    Well this is a very tricky situation. As someone who is dealing with this at this particular moment in my life I am more looking to tell my story rather than give advice. I find it very difficult when the person I chose to marry and the mother of my child is the one who is un-supportive. I work in the hotel industry and love every minute of it. I recently decided to take a job that was a little bit of a pay cut and about two hours away from what we call "home". I took this job because it was really nice property and a what I think is a great career move. My wife has been passive aggressive through this whole thing and has been un-supportive, but also has not in the least bit been supportive. She does not want to move away from the little town that we grew up in and the elementary school that we both went to. Since my son is her mothers only grandson she does not want to move him away. My defense is that it is only two hours away it is not like I am trying to move to California (we live in NY). For three months I slept in my car trying to make this work because we could not afford the gas to come home every night after work. I would shower at the local golf course and also get ready there. I am proving my worth to this company one day at a time and would love to become a part of a new hotel they are building. I will do whatever it takes for my family to succeed and also my career. At some point don't we have to stop living for our parents and start living for what we want. I love my wife to death and would do anything for her. But, if we want to have everything we want in life we are going to have to make sacrifices. Granted some of this was my fault because at the beginning I did not clearly communicate my goals. I do not know how to handle this because this is the person I live with. It is not my parents who I only talk to once a day, or every couple days. I live with her and share my feelings about everything with. I also have to be the rock for everyone (western ideas on men's roll in life) so, I can't exactly say how hard it is for me without her support. Any feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks Ramit for all your teachings. If you want to give me some Indian wisdom on this situation please feel free.

  • Paul Paquin

    I swear this post is working through God, and has pulled me in. I am going through this very subject right now, with poisonous venom coming from my mother. In regards to this part: "What if it’s your brother? Your mom? Your dad? How are you supposed to handle family members that second-guess you…and make you feel bad about your choices? When this occurs in my life, I just use the words to push me to work 2 times as hard. Use it as fuel. Just like in sports when you get doubt, take those words and use it to push you to run faster, or workout harder. At the same time ,consider their words to an extent. Think about what they say, and if they have a valid point, then take it into consideration and appreciate that they told you, or if it is just poison and put down, then use their words to make you want to work even harder and succeed even more.

  • Fel

    As someone (like 99% of the rest of the planet) whose main source of opposition in my life has been family, I've developed many strategies to deal with traditional, old school (sometimes dysfunctional) and unsupportive family members. Here's one that has worked every single time--and the specific incident was when I was going to leave my life in LA to move up to SF for a new job (without my boyfriend--who still had to stay in LA and live out the rest of our apt lease): The strategy is: Get ALL of the facts before you say a word to family members. What this translated to for me was: A) As I was searching for a new job, I didn't tell a soul in my family about it. For all they knew, things were 'status quo' with me B) Once a job was kinda on the table (i.e.--i started interviewing) I still didn't say anything. The reason being that nothing was set in stone yet, and I didn't have all the facts. Which meant that all of their objections wouldn't be answered (that's where most of the problems start) C) Once I finished interviewing and had a 7-day wait time for the answer, that's when I told just one family member (mom--who would have the most opposition). I told her first because she would have gotten upset if I didn't, but we were able to have a normal, civil conversation because I had every single fact laid out for her--even though she still had her objections. Example: Her: What are you doing to your relationship? Me: He and I have talked about it already, and we know it's the right thing for us to do. We're going to see each other (X amount of times every month) and talking every day. He's also going to try to transfer to his SF office and/or search for a new job in the next couple of months. Her: Why can't you just stay at your job in LA? Me: I know that this is the right career move for me because X, Y, and Z and this will offer me A + B--which is what I really want to be doing. Her: And where are you going to live? You can't afford an apartment by yourself. Me: His parents invited me to move in with them, actually. They already know and they're happy to welcome me in. They know it's not permanent, since he's going to be moving up here (within X timeframe), and then we'll be looking for a place together again. Her: Ugh, Felicia...why do you have to do this? How are you even going to get to SF? Me: I put a lot of time and effort into this and you know, nothing is set in stone yet, Mom. But I know what I'm going to do if it works--I have a free flight on Southwest so it'll be easy for me to fly there last minute--and if it doesn't work out, I stay here. It's easy. Etc-- But this strategy of "getting all the facts" has mitigated so much trouble, I can't even imagine. For whatever reason, saying "I don't know" to typically strict, close-minded parents is like telling them that you hate them. But getting all of the facts first not only shows initiative, but also respect, responsibility, and careful consideration (all qualities most parents like these are looking for, and have seeked to nurture in you) I hope this helps--that strategy has never, ever failed me. x

  • Tracy

    This topic is so relevant. It is so important to have supportive people in your life to help you through difficult things. Unfortunately sometimes even your family and friends can have difficulty being supportive for whatever reason. I have a mother that is from the generation that you stay in your job forever and just be quiet and work hard and you will get ahead. I would never have the job that I have now if I had listened to that advice. I just really wanted to find a career at a company where I would enjoy the work and get paid what I felt I was worth, so I didn't give up. I am so happy I didn't settle with the first job and company that I started my career at. Sometimes not sharing with family members when you take on a new challenge in your life until after things are underway is for the best. If you have a partner or close friend that is always supportive then you can share with them instead. Family will be disappointed that you didn't let them know right away but you will be happy not having to deal with the negativity. In the end trust your gut and a little prayer doesn't hurt either!

  • AG

    I have had to deal with this all my life. I've gone from being called "thick, useless and stupid" which does nothing positive for your self-esteem to just letting it all go. I was blind with anger for many years, pointing the finger, coming up with excuses for why I wasn't doing anything and one day I realized one simple reality: I can't change my family, but I can change the way I deal with them. That set me free. Learn to forgive them, find a way to be grateful for the good things they have done (if any) and simply accept them for who they are. If they don't support you they don't period. Who cares? Surround yourself with people that will support you and they can become your 'family'. If you hinge your success to changing how they think of you -- you're doomed. Put your energy into learning whatever it takes to move you forward on your path and forget about looking back. Who knows, you may even see a shift in their attitude if you don't rise to the bait leaving them wondering how stupid they are for being so petty, jealous, envious or just cruel.

  • Jill Thiery

    If you looked up "Concern Troll" in the dictionary, you would see only a pix of my family. It started when I was 13 and dragged on until I was 35 years old. I agree, it's not a good idea to suddenly cut off all ties with them, unless it's a safety issue, obviously. My solution was to slowly, but earnestly, begin to distance myself and every aspect of my life from them, (that took me 7 years) I didn't say or do anything hateful, it was just a determined shift in another direction without injury to them. I don't hate them today, in fact they all have my phone number and address they just don't call or come over anymore. If I see them in a grocery store, I smile, answer as few questions as possible and then find the nearest exit. There is no reward anymore, so they don't have a reason to contact me since I no long participate in the free-flowing drama fests, I am not shocked when they criticize or insult me, and I no longer lend them money, (keep in mind the word "lend" is used very loosely in my family, it actually means, "I have no intention of paying you back", I only say, "can I borrow or can you lend me", as a courtesy to you. That way, you won't feel duped, and I won't feel any guilt for not paying you back). It took a long time but my life is mine today, and I am calm and happy, I have "some" really good memories of my experiences with them, but for the most part, I'm still "licking my wounds", working on "Forgiveness" and watching out for traps; in the end though, I"m proud of the way I handled myself and because of that, I don't feel guilty over it today! Thanks! Jill

  • becky jewell

    I have a followup comment to my earlier one. My uncle is a former NASA astronaut. He's performed repairs on the Hubble telescope, and is one of the few people who has done successive spacewalks. Yet, I hear stories from our family about how one of his parents still has moments where she treats him poorly, as if he has accomplished nothing. She's also had depression her entire life. If you look harder at how she behaves, some of her harsher words for him actually have very little to do with him. Just remember that sometimes, no matter what kind of a badass you are, your family has their own insecurities that may not be about you at all.

  • PR

    My parents have both passed and the only family I have is a sister & two brothers. They act as if I don't exist until it's their or their children's birthday or a holiday and they expect a gift from me. When my birthday has been forgotten they say, "So.... what's your point?" They don't invite me for any holidays but call me on those days to tell me the great time they are having with their spouses and kids. Isn't your family supposed to care about you? Have some regard for you? I'm not a drug addict, I've never killed any one or been to jail or asked them for money. But they don't care about me at all.

    • lorna shaw

      lornashawI am sorry for the way your family is treating you and can relate with great compassion but have no answers for you except go on without them in your life and find good supportive friends . Remember we can't make others love us but respect is a different thing . I have been where you are all my life and wish i had just stayed but as we age we need family or illnesses and going backin my expierence did not change a thing after all the years apart . I am now an aging senior and the only thing or word i can find that fits my family ...first very disfunctional ..selfish and self righteous and very critical of what i say or do to the point that i dont know myself anymore . THIS kind of treatment is nothing short of the worst kind of ABUSE both mentally and affects you physically. I would say dont walk run from those people and dont look back .Wish today i had stayed away . God bless you .

    • Kelly

      Hi there. I know all to well how it feels for family members to treat you like crap. I am terribly sorry for what you are going through, but just remember that God loves you. He loves you more than you'll ever know and his love never fails. I know it's hard, my goodness don't I know, but you just have to pray for people. Ask god to remove those hateful, selfish spirits from your siblings, and he will do just that. It never fails. Also try having a talk with them on how they are treating you. If that doesn't go so well, then just pray! I can assure you God will work it out for you.

  • Red

    My husband passed away a year ago I took care of him till he passed.all by myself.i have a 21 year old who never even came over to help give me a break instead she moved in with my mom. She lives around the corner from mother never even came over. Now my daughter won't talk to me. And my mother has taken over my daughter haven't talked to my daughter in almost a year. And my mother won't even be a mother to me. My daughter has always been my mothers favorite. I'm getting angry angry angry. What do I do

    • Kelly

      Pray for the both of them. Ask God to remove that distant spirit that your mother and daughter has. I'm sorry that has happened to you, but just know that if you ask God to take care of the situation, then he will do just that.

  • Kimberly

    My mother and father are both gone. Before they passed I took care of them. Father for 21 years and my mother only a short time because the cancer spread so quickly. I have one sister who did not help at all. She is and always will be a narcissist. She now has R.A. I let her move in with me, so I could help her get her life together. Big huge mistake!!! She drained me financially and mentally.... when she found a man who had money she moved out. I had to sell my home to regroup. I have cousins in indiana who have been wanting me to move close to them.... promising that they would help me if I needed them. Even said that they could help me with employment working for them. So I packed up and moved from S.C. Now the only help I ask for was to help me move my things in when I got there. I was told that I would be moving to my cousins home for a while. Till I got myself situated and ready to get my own little home again. When I arrived.... I found that the home of my cousin had holes in the walls, ceiling, and floor. My room not insulated. I have to go outside and unlock the front door to get to the bathroom..... In zero degree weather snow and ice. No one prepared me for this! I cannot even walk one straight line in that house, junk and trash everywhere. Electrical sockets most do not work. Gas heater has a small leak, he says its too small to worry about. It's right by my room. Have been there a year now, no changes. Appliances do not work right or not work at all. I pay him weekly. I am not a freeloader. Sorry! I got off track a little! I get here..... no one showed up to help me move in. They never did anything they said they would do. NOTHING!!! I found a job working 55 to 68 hours a week. I have no downtime, no breaks. And they keep asking me why I do not want to socialize with them. I am stressed beyond belief! Living in a filthy hoarders house. Forgot to mention my cousin is also an alcoholic....I am saving for a move BACK TO SC! I cannot live like this.... I have no time for them period.... I love them.... they know how I feel and all about this God awful place I am living in... when I told them about the holes, the heater, they say oh how terrible..... days later they ask how I am doing....the very same questions. I give them the very same answer... I am done with repeating myself. I am done with all of this!! I will speak nicely to them over the phone, letters whatever, but will not socialize....

    • Kelly

      Don't worry about it darling, because God is going to bless you tremendously. This is just a test.

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  • Brent

    It's amazing to me how some people treat their family - not friends their family ! To cut your family out of your life because they are making you sick and/ or its getting in the way of your life goals is selectively unloving and selfish. As it goes you take the good with the bad and you FILTER OUT of your head what you don't want to listen to, maybe even communicating to these poison causing family members how you FEEL(not think) about what their comments are doing to you. If they are the thick headed types instead of cutting them completely out your lives how bout being selective on what you want to hear from them and maybe they will get the hint as well as recognize what they are about and have a little bit of breathing room from them. Family is family through the good and bad. I would do anything for my family even though I have nothing much in common with them but I can't see why you would cut them out of your life unless they are a danger to you outright

    • Bub

      I'm sorry but you seriously lack perspective, by saying its selfish and unloving to cut abusive people out of your life is flat out wrong. You have made the assumption that we just went straight to cutting them out, or put very little effort into finding a middle ground. Constantly being a scapegoat to your family IS a DANGER to your long-term well being. Think about it. In your own words, "To cut your family out of your life because they are making you sick and/ or its getting in the way of your life goals is selectively unloving and selfish", how do you not see the danger in this. Seriously! Constant abuse will make you lose self-esteem and you will lose motivation to pursue your goals, and leave you wondering how it could of been with a little support. Life is hard enough already, putting in extra effort to FILTER OUT the diarrhea which flows from negative family members mouths is ridiculous. Your most likely visualizing YOUR family while reading everyone's comments and confused as to why most need to take these drastic measures, but THERE ARE more terrible families than your own. Guess what, they will NEVER get the hint. Sorry. :)

      • PSA

        I completely agree--if I filigreed out everything negative and put down my mother and grandmother and father said to me, there would be nothing left. I don't bother asking for their help anymore...and I quote my mother "your 27 why would I support you??" She spat (when asked to support me EMOTIONALLY in my decision to regroup at home and get back on my feet....I work Two full time jobs and have an 8 month old...I have never asked for money from them even though they have more than enough to go around). If you stay around toxic people, their vibes WILL effect you. It's metaphysics. Yes you can transmute it with love but why should you have too? acceptance is the key-that some people are committed to misunderstanding and not loving you, because that is not love. conditional love is not what I want from my family so I've accepted that they act unlovingly and judgemental towards me. But for awhile I was there something wrong with me??? But then I realized, no...but I'm saying this to point out the danger of staying with toxic people. Stockholm syndrome similarity family or not why would you put yourself through the grief of being around people that treat you hatefully...don't make excuses for them..they know better but choose to act like that towards you...

  • Dharmendra Bhagat

    I am a businessman aged 47. Basically I am a jeweller. I do my business since 1998. Before that I was working in a jewelry company. I married in 1994. My wife was working in government job. She is very co operati've. In1998 my second son was born and I decided to start my business. My start was regular. I was doing everything good. In 2005 I started my office in Dubai also. Till 2010 everything was going well. But after 2010 I started facing problem s in business. In 2013 I have to shut down my Dubai office. After that I went to Africa and did gold mining but again I failed. I came back to India in 2014. I told my wife to left job in 2006 due to take care of children. So in 2014 I started a cloth store in India to run house. I had an idea to do my business alongside with my wife's cloth business. But after almost a year, my business still not pickup. My wife lost confidence in me and I am feeling very depressed. I am getting dull day by day. I don't want to lose my self-confidence. Does anyone advised what to do?

    • Kelly

      It sounds like your an "extremely" mltovated person. I can yell you want whats best for your wife and children. Pray about it. Pray REALLY hard about the situation. Sometimes in life you'll have ups and downs though out, but what matters is how you handle them. No doubt God is going to reward you with something amazing once you take that step and have faith in him.

  • Ellen

    I've gone through most of my life with my family not supporting me on anything. No one ever backed me up or defended me when things happened. Anytime something would happen and I got hurt, or someone attacked me verbally, it was always my own fault. I was never taught how to deal with or handle bullies, and my family never protected me. Then later, my mom started attacking me, giving me a hard time about everything I did in my life if I wasn't pleasing every g-damn person that came across my life. Later, as I got older and moved out of her house, she was still giving me a hard time about everything and every choice that I made. She was always yelling at me about something. I just got fed up with it and I minimized the amount of contact with her. It took almost twenty years after I moved out and lived on my own that she finally got the message somewhere. When we were talking on the phone, her voice got kind of heavy, and said that she felt really bad about how she treated my brother, sister and especially me. So, I guess she apologized in that way, and she said that she hopes I will forgive her. She did say that she was going through some hard times, but it was no excuse for the way she treated me. I was surprised that she even apologized because it took so long. Personally, in the back of my mind, I think that she apologized either because someone got after her because she might have been treating others badly if I wasn't around to be bullied. My mom is remarried, and it may be possible that my stepfather was going to walk out on her if she did not change her ways. I know what is best for me because I have experienced so much with how people treated me and what I have to show for it. I refuse to waste any of my time with people who do not treat me right, life is too short. I think that in the end, if someone is worth having in your life, that person should be able to see the light and listen. I wasn't able to do this on my own. When people are treated badly by others, unfortunately, a moderator is sometimes needed to hear both sides. If possible, we should never turn our backs on our family because in the end it is all we have, but sometimes if it so unbearable, it may best to have minimal contact.

  • secret

    But family member's are very important in our life....Sometimes they couldn't understand us.......Then what we should do???

  • William

    In life sometimes we fight winless and just plain out meaningless battles, especially where biological family is concerned. It will unproductively take away from you mentally, physically and health wise so just let go and cut them off. Family doesn't necessarily have to be biological because your biological family can cause a lot of problems, strife and unnecessary stress in your life. Certain families will even single one out as the scapegoat to always blame, disgrace and show unsupportive behavior too but there comes a time when enough is enough because repetively condoning certain people and their behavior is almost like you're apart of the problem indirectly. You will only get what you allow. Cut them off!!

  • Kaleb

    1.) Yes. I have had select members (not everyone) in my family who have either flat out said that whatever I happened to desire to do was pointless, meaningless, or even stupid because I wasn't doing what they wanted me to do, or because they don't see the value in loving to do something because you love it, not doing something just to do it/just for the payoff. I have also had an even more select group of family members who, seemingly everyday, use either subtleties, or who use straight up personal attacks (which I will not list here) in order to insult an idea of mine, or a desire of mine Subtleties such as these are commonplace in my everyday life; the rolling of the eyes during or after my statement, turning of the head to listen to something else as I'm speaking loudly and clearly at them/to them, or even changing the topic, not to a completely different topic, but rather to a similar (not exact) topic that weens the conversation off of my discussion by either masquerading it as a mistake or by simply flowing out of my conversation with them by using excuses like; "Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you were finished", or, "Yeah that's great, but...", or, "Ah. I see. So anyways...", or even a patronizing, "Oooh. I didn't know that". It's subtleties like those that I have to put up with everyday because I'm not like everyone else in my family. But the thing is, when I call them out on it, I'm the inconsiderate one, the jerk, the angry family member whose likeness is to that of a bull in a china shop. It's me who is the hypocrite, even though they claim to be the same as me when clearly, they aren't. All of this is just another subtle strategy at demonizing/demoralizing those who they hate because they live differently than them. 2.) Patience is the key to solve this problem. Patience and faith not misplaced anger and disownment. Now please, PLEASE understand that I'm not coming on here to preach religion or anything like that. I am here to speak the truth out of my own experiences and out of obedience (I have a feeling that this is really going to hurt)... *takes a deep breath* The truth is, is that going through all of this is easier and worth it after praying to God that He would grant you His mercy (which, when granted, leads to sorrow over sin because of what it does to God, which leads to salvation given by grace alone, which is taken in faith alone, which is in Christ alone) by honestly and truly begging for His mercy in prayer, and then trusting in Christ to be there when you need Him the most. Nothing else works. I'm absolutely serious, guys; nothing else works. Faith in Christ (Not faith in hope to one day get out of your predicament, or using distractions to deal with the situation via work, hobbies, spending time with friends, or by having alone time) is what will make this situational hurt not last as long. Sure that hurt will still be there, but giving that hurt up to Christ through prayer having trust that He died for you, was resurrected, and will provide your needs will, over time, cause for that hurt to no longer dominate your feelings, your mind, and/or your desires (see; "sanctification"). You will be free - and then you will be able to see your family for who/what they really are and for what they truly mean, making it easier to not only deal with them, but a lot easier to work on them. Remember that God loves those who choose what pleases Him - and the only thing that pleases Him is... Trust. Trusting in Him to be your Lord and Savior - your Shepherd - your High Tower and Strength - your Friend - your Helper - your very personal and very loving Father. God loves you very deeply, and so do I. He loves you enough that His Son, Jesus Christ, died for you and was resurrected three days after in order to show His rule over death. He did this out of love for a dying world; once for all sin for all who would receive His Word... Hit me up if you're curious to know more. (Isaiah 56:1-8)

  • Darleen

    Well, where do I begin. LOLLLLL........I've been dealing with a family member that has been going ballistic and crazy about not having any alcohol in the house And that they are determined that I threw it out or get out the same which I did not And shut down and basically having this horrible and his social behavior toward me right now and I've been caring for this person being there for them And so all of you guys is There's always a flip side to every good thing and this person drive a test was negative three and happens to be my dad And I just need to know what I need to do because I tend to fly off the handle right back at him and he yells and screams and acts nasty and belligerent to me. What's the best course of action to take because we both can get hot headed and say things we don't mean like iron sharpening iron but I am a caregiver Been doing that type of work since 2003 I can care for everybody elses family members except my own so I don't feel like a failure I would like to know the best route to take with feeling with us it's almost as if he's punishing me For something I didn't do it If he doesn't have 80 proof or a whiskey Which is crazy So help me out here What should i do just give him his space and leave him alone

  • CG

    So my husband of 23 years died. The kids (3 of them) and I decided not to have a formal memorial service. My husband loved to play golf. We decided to get all of his golf buddies together for one last game in his memory with a luncheon to follow. One of his golf buddies was my brother-in-law. Here's the deal. My sister and her husband said they will not participate because he can't take a day off from volunteer work and she cannot take a day off from work. Then I find out that they are taking time off to go to a baseball game. Am I overreacting when I feel that they are being unsupportive?

  • Iman Fahru Syuhada

    I have this problem with my mom, she told me that I looks like a gay by being skinny or have a ideal body in my opinion. And it changed me.

  • Xilk

    what if your mom and older brother blames you for the things you didn't do but when you are able to prove that your long time nanny/house keeper did it they justify her actions even though you had a proof of video in the cctv of your home that she did it. and if you admit a mistake even though you say sorry they treat you coldy for days, weeks and even for months. Ever since I was young this has always been happening I'ved talked about this to my mom allot of times already that i lost count but nothing is change and everytime she would just tell me to shut up and forget it like it never existed nor ever happened. I don't know why they seems to believe everything she says to them to the point that its like I am the one rude or the one always ruining the happy perfect family illusion they created with her.

    • Xilk

      and when they saw she really did it they would justify her actions by saying nobody is perfect but when it comes to me even though my mistakes are less serious mistakes than our nanny they treat me so cold over and over that sometimes i get so depress that i don't eat properly because we all live in one roof and they keep saying nasty stuff to me over and over but when it comes to her in just a snap they forgive her and justify her actions by saying nobody is perfect. :'(

  • andria thompson

    What would you do if you found out that a whole city tried sabotaging you because they are all able to see you email texts and different things that you have access to via your name and accounts? Even my family tried sabotaging me and now they are upset because I'm taking this information to the FBI and telling them that they tried sabotaging myself and my credibility because they made a video and tried to say it was me and it wasn't and now they're in trouble with the law. I can't help them. Then they made like they were going to keep my children away from me through the fake CPS case. I didn't even get the court documents until like 1 minute before the court case was supposed to begin and they think I'm afraid of what they'll do if the FBI finds out. I'm telling everyone what they did to me and I hope they do get into trouble. They're names are Antronette Des' Moine Malone, Andrea Daneille Carroll, Adrianne Thompson, fake Adam Greene, Benjamin Louchi, I forget the fake judge's name, a fake U.S. Administrative judge named Davidson Momah, Leon Thompson and so many others.

  • Kosy

    I'm having the same issues with my parents. They keep trying to control my life with passive aggressive statements e.g. "I'm not trying to tell you what to do but *insert negative comment* and it always ends up with them (especially my dad) going ballistic. Recently, I started a website which I have worked my ass off on and my dad keeps dismissing it as trivial and providing zero support even to the point of making it clear that he'd cut me off financially (not like he gives me a huge stipend but I live under my parents roof as I just left uni and even get zero pocket money from them) if I don't plan my life exactly the way he wants. I took a small break after uni to work on my own projects but my parents are it as me doing nothing even though I'm working so hard and using my savings. I'm 22 with a Master's degree from a top-top school but for some reason they don't trust that I can make any right decisions on my own and its getting toxic as I'm beginning to develop a bit of hatred. What do you guys suggest that I do??

  • Nikki

    I cannot take my family anymore I am the baby out of 5. Every chance my family gets they tell me I wasn't wanted. She tried to abort me herself but would not die. So they treat me like shit. I am in a Tyler perry movie. Zero support. My sister fucks men women and animals gets all the support in the universe. I was in the hospital after being shot. The doctor called my parents all they said was that's nice let us know when she dead. Where were they in Vegas supporting my whore of a sister at a porno convention. And last night they sank to a new low. Inviting me out to a prime rib dinner. Sounds great right WRONG. My boyfriend could not come he is a teacher and had pat last night. But sense they only had one big table that seats 14. So I had to sit by myself at a different table. And my family canceled my dinner order so everyone at the big table could have prime rib. So I left after confronting the waitress. She said I told them I didn't want my dinner. So she ran in the back and naturally no prime rib left. So I left and I walked 8 miles home. So while they were enjoying big juicy sizzling prime rib with loaded potatoes. I ate crappy grilled cheese. All morning long they have been calling we're sorry let me make it up to you. And no one in my family sees anything wrong with this. Pretty bad also when I'm uninvited to thanksgiving and Christmas dinner as well.

    • Nikki

      I ment to say boyfriend had parent teacher meetings last night that is why he could not come

  • Nikki

    I ment to say he had PTA meeting last night that is why he could not attend

  • Guan

    Ah... Confidence! I am joyful and happy about my decision to do what's right for me.. I am confident to only need my approval and that of God. I am confident that as long as I follow my heart, my world will be filled with the joys of a family I am supported and loved by. When I think about it, I do have loving amazing family--just brothers and sisters from different parents! I am feeling more confident to go long term ( and I trust I can do this!)


    You will be shocked at the quantity of health meals” that may include sugar, wheat and different nasty ingredients.

  • Lonelyone

    I only have a narsistic mum and im 1 on the scapegoats in the family. Whatever i have done in life, does not seem good to my mum . she loves her grandkids, but only does things on her terms. If i contact her after a few days, she gives me a go for not ringing her. I help her now and then financially but she is never happy with me. Lately she caused a drama with my sibling about my wife. Being married over 21 years she still does not accept her. I feel im fighting a loosing battle as she manipulates the siblings against me. I am going to cut ties as im never making her happy.

    • alexi

      hey ignore her and tell her that you love ur wife and tell her "if u love me, wouldent u care about me being happy?"

  • -----

    Check this out -

  • Gemma

    I don't think cutting them is the answer as it will only hurt you and them unnecessarily. Just be aware of how they treat you and rather than reacting to it, which is what I did for years, choose a measured response and choose your own happiness. Be who you want to be and do what makes you happy. They can only upset you if you let them. My Mum has no confidence, is a very critical person and doesn't support me or encourage me. I discovered it's not that she doesn't love me, it's because she doesn't love herself that she behaves this way. I just behave in a loving, forgiving way and don't let her get to me. Her attitude, and anything she says to me reflects back on her and her beliefs, insecurities etc not on me. I'm not free from hearing it but I love my Mum, so I just ignore her negativity and know she doesn't know any better and isn't a very self reflective person.

  • Neva

    Now I realized my parents never loved me, they only used me and even today trying that. I have only brother who also only obeys my mother's direction. All other relatives whether maternal uncle-aunts or paternal, no one is nice/emotional to me and on some note they are influenced or they know me as my parents' child. As a whole I have no one as a relative/closed one. Only thing, my relationship with my husband is good. Sometime I don't understand, what to do with my parents, my brother and other relatives?

    • alexi

      ignore them and completely block them out of your life from a while until they understand whats happining to ur feelings.

      • Neva

        thanks, but I don't think my parents and my brother will ever understand, because they only care about their feeling.

  • alexi

    Hey, so i never thought that my family would lead me to this type of website. so my family have not just been dragging me down but has also been showing more love to my younger sister,melody. i know it mak3es me sound like a huge brat but whenever my sister asks for something, WHA la! she has it. i remember how excited i got one birthday about getting new nyx lipsticks! but then when they day came my fam forgot to wrap the present. and my present was a pink phone case. THATS ALL. my sister on the other hand,has a her birthday the day after mine. on the day they rained presens on her. and whenever i do some thing . they always have a way of dragging me down. especially my mom. whenever i have an idea,she makes this face as if i was dumb and stupid. this hurt me. i alays wanted to runaway for a while. Solution: be confident. whenever they bring you down stop talking to them and just dont give a sh*t. if u feel like theres another sibling they they love more just be independent and ignore your parent for a looong time until they realize how you feel. i know this sound crappy but believe me, it frekin works

  • donna

    I told my family that i was going to live with my boyfriend in February this year. He's from England and im from northern ireland. I knew that this would be a huge thing for my family to take in as ive always been the quiet little home bird. Before i continue, i should state that i love my family so much and i will never stop that love. When i told them about the move, i was extremely nervous and i didnt handle it very well. My mum and my sister both thought that i was insensitive in the way i told them, because i didnt beat around the bush and i didnt sugar coat it. Im 27 years old and i genuinely feel like ive lived my life for my family. Ive babysitted my sisters (3) and taken family members to hospitals, doctors, paid for stuff to help them and ive supported them through some very hard times that have affected me too. Ive always felt that ive given myself to the fullest to them, but ive never received it. I know that they wouldnt give something up for me and it feels horrible because i would do it for them. My mum stopped talking to me about a month before i left, then my granny and my grandad. Then my sisters. I live in England with my boyfriend now, who i love and i know loves me back. He makes me happy and they don't seem to see that being where i was, was making me extremely unhappy. I have tried to keep in contact with my sisters , but i think they've given up because its easier for them. I know that i should write to them or call, but my heart wont let me. Ive always been the one to extend the olive branch and because they dont seem to see how much theyve hurt me too and how sorryi am, i just want to give up. But it really hurts. I cry alot and it upsets my boyfriend to see me in such a state. I truly miss them but i feel like ive lost them for good. Sorry for ranting, but i dont feel like i have anyone that understands hpw painful it is. Thank you for reading if you did.

    • Gemma

      I understand how you feel and it made me realise that I'm in the same boat. I give a lot of emotional support to my family and don't get any back. The only one who understands me in my family is my older brother and he has bipolar. Sadly his illness stops him from being happy and feeling normal most of the time. I think once you mature, as in get older, you do come to understand the situation a little better (I'm 36 now so I've had time and space to process & come to terms with my family situation) you will get better at responding to what's happening in a positive way. Give yourself the love and support you normally give them, be your own best friend and loyal to yourself. That's what I did and it got easier. My family still lack the ability to give me the emotional support I need but I'm married to an amazing man who mended my brokenness because of my family. I wish they were more to me, but I love them and I know they love me so I just don't take any notice of any negativity anymore.

  • Nitika

    As you see, my parents are good human beings and decent people yet we argue everyday.But while arguing if the person is so adamant unable to perceive your feelings and ideas there is no fruitful outcome.I sometimes wish to run out of my home, mais they are my parents and have provided and guided me with everything.You see there is nothing entirely wrong but there is something wrong in everything. I've my own set backs and notions in la vie.But everyday all I do is get angry and have been lashing out at them.My mind is not at peace.My college is in the same city so I do not want to move out because I love them the most in my life.But it is getting so unbearable at times.It is epitome of crazy in here and I think I deserve the coup de grace . We are good on money and everything but I want to do something in my career for myself other than the MBA thing .

  • Viswa

    God they really pester me in my family I said going with frnds on tour is different from going with u which our school conducted I am really disappointed and hate my family I am 16 years old and they if u go there something will happen to u SUGGEST ME SOME RELIEF OR SOLACE

  • nat

    My parents and sibilings found out that my boyfriend and I had sex and now they do not like him we have been dating for a long time and I know he is the one but my family is so unsupportive I am so lost I am so in love with him and won't and will never leave him we were litterally made for each other but feel so upset that they cannot see how truly wonderful he is to me and how much he loves and respect them. He has been quite upset feeling as if it is his fault even though everyone knows I instigated it, I am just really angry and annoyed but also so in love. My family are also religious which doesn't help besides my boyfriend I just feel so alone, what do I do please help!

  • Pat

    I have become jobless and need housing. My brother & sister do not want to take me in because of my cats. My sister just went through a sudden death of her husband and could use my help. however, she chooses to call a homeless shelter on me THINKING i can get an apt through them. I know i would be put in a homeless shelter 1st and would lose my cats. She is a hoarder and has a very messy house. I would lose EVERYTHING.

  • Omar

    His guys, I've been really consistent with my training since January and everything. Last night I grilled chicken after my workout but I forgot to turn off the stove as I was worried that I had the meal little late. So as I was enjoying it my sister went to the kitchen and shouted "The stove is on!" My mother raged about it and I was like oh shit. I was fine with her being mad it's really a horrible mistake and all, she called me names and stuff I'm fine with it. BUT, what I am not fine with is her saying "screw your diet don't do this again it's useless, your diet sucks you should stop cooking chicken just eat lunch with us!" At that moment, I knew she was envying me. Because she's fat and she never follow her words always say I want to train and eat right never. I always tell her hey mom one day come so I can make you the perfect meal plan and stuff. She always say yes but never come. Now I realised that she doesn't really care about my diet or my overall goals and the lifestyle I've chosen. I don't want you to tell me how to treat this situation because I don't really care what she says I will keep doing what I have to do whatever it takes to get in the best shape I can ever be in! I want you to tell me what does she mean? Was she just scared for me or she kinda was but also envying or mad or just doesn't care about my dreams? I welcome any comments and if you want to tell me how to deal with it let me know. Also my father woke up today and said don't ever cook again. Wtf?

  • Braedon Fishbaugh

    My parents tell me all the time that I can't do nothing right they dot say that really but that how they trate me and I try make them see what they have done to me evertime i do they get pissed with me trate me like shit they also shit on my opinions and my dreams and everything

  • Ivonne

    I went home and cried then I got angry. I the end I am going to do it because its my life and I want to.

  • Ivonne

    How do you deal with unsupportive family members?

  • Lea

    I signed up for drama club and my mom keeps saying how she hates drama and doesn´t like it and why I don´t just do a sport. Instead of being there to support me she just puts me down. I don´t wanna quit and I won´t. But how will I make my mom understand?? PLEASE HELP!! This is something I really enjoy but my mom can´t see that. She´s always rubbing it in my face how I WAS an extra and telling me why I would wanna do it if I don´t get a good part. Even if I do get a good one she said it doesn´t matter she just hates it. Again...HELP!!!

  • Mein

    What the hell did you care about? Why? Did you ever help them out to get rid them out of there miserable life? Have you ever put your self in there shoes why they act like they do? There must be a valid reason. And why not mind your own problems in life instead of invading in other peoples life.

  • Mein

    Maybe that is the reason why you choose me?! Because you take advantage of my situation in life knowing i had a miserable family and i had no choice but to go outside and work my butt out so you could make some music out of my life and getting ideas for entertainment industry. Why? What benifits do i get from that apart from enviding on my privacy and exposing every single of details in OUR LIFE. Do i get paid for that? Hell no.

  • Roberta Romine

    Always have done my best to help my demanding family, now am in serious bad health issues. I get promised they will go to Hospital with me, then they back out last minute. Then put me down to people I which I am grateful they know me. I wish to move away so I can be closer to the hospital I need to go to several times a year.


    See! Family is invaluable to most of us and when they don't support, it is like Game Over for most of us. I don't know how many dreams that have got killed this way on the name of wishing good for children. For instance, my high school Bio Teacher said, she wanted to become a scientist, but her parents married her off. If we go on counting instances like that, there would be a hundred million dreams atleast that had real potential, not just by lazy people, but the ones with real potential where the person actually had the will and desire, passion and commitment for it, but as youngsters are financially, emotionally, socially dependent on the parents, theirs words are the law.. First, a person is considered a disrespectful, disobedient, ungrateful child if he does't do what his parents want him to do. Second, a long list of all the things that were ever given to him by the parents is presented to him every time he is not doing as his parents want. Third, every time a person shows a willingness to do something that the parents cannot imagine or a sibling won't dare to, he is downtrodden and called outright stupid to even dare so. Something, like crab mentality. Fourth, whether it is your cousins, classmates, friends, siblings or parents themselves, they won't like you to have something that they cannot get, but yearn to possess. Fifth, Exactly the crab mentality. Sixth, it is impossible to imagine a life without parents and family as you are seeing them around you, providing everything ever since you remember anything.. and the control they have over you is impossible to bypass. Seventh, a lot of parents listen to the relatives more and act at their will. There are a lot of 40 yr, 50 yr, 60 yr old big mama's boy who will do exactly as their mom say and that's why expect their children to act as per their will. Eighth, If you and your parents think differently and you attempt to give your views and expect them to say something on it, all your dreams and stuff gets dumped to the garbage bin and the most important issue comes out as that of obedience and respect. Ninth, They do all of the above on the name of being the best well wishers for you and you are deemed as stupid to not understand why they want certain things for you. Tenth, In so many places, the same disobedience they think of, same ungratefulness and same not understanding that they're your well wishers, it turns into violence against you, where you are physically assaulted, verbally assaulted every now and then. Eleventh, they have been planning about you right from the early childhood, which school, what toys, what clothes, what food, etc. etc., it seems to them that you are disrespecting them that you are taking away their right to control you as they own you because they gave you life. If, it is just about words and no path is blocked for you, no opportunity is snatched from you, what's the big deal, go on, do what you want to. If, you have to suffer from all of the above that I listed, I suppose it is better for you to live without them..They're literally your enemies..

  • rosa

    I have a mom always talking good about two sisters I have and she always defend them if I try tomsay something like yeah but she wanted that way or yeah she is tire for doing that and not let in her daughter doing it . Then she always saying that she always missing the other grand children and how they are like better then my one year old baby girl . Is hard for me when they prefer my younger sister my older sister only have pictures of her children and her husband's family menber and then only pictures of my youger sister kids , my is like feels like my little baby dosent exist for them . Me and my baby hade it rough and she was taking right away to another hospital and I could hold her when they make the c section and it was all sad crying bad experience for me but it simce that they dont care for me why . Or my baby

  • Jamah

    Caring people are going to question your decisions, it's called giving a shit! If you didn't ask, you would be accused of being uncaring!

  • Christine

    My husband got demoted yesterday. It's a constant cycle with him, he gets a job, complains about it for 6 months, looses it and winds up unemployed for another six...meanwhile I'm left to cover all the finances..I HAD a savings before we met. It's been this way for 4 years now. I'm left picking up all of the financial slack while he sits on his duff and makes out a list of things he WON'T do rather than what he HAS to do to support his family. Still thinking like a single man. So understandably I'm upset and disappointed in him for not being proactive about protecting his job, he's white, and being discriminated against by a black supervisor/team. He did nothing to try to protect his position when they had a meeting yesterday, just rolled over and let them step on him and take a chunk out of his paycheck. When I expressed my displeasure with his lack of proactive actions and lack of a spine to stand up for himself he said to me "thanks for the support." What am I supposed to do, coddle him, throw him a pity party, say "congrats on making me pick up more of your financial slack", tell this 42 year old man-child that "it's ok, it'll be alright" when this is all we go through? Every job he's had since I've know him I've gotten for him because he has zero ambition to do anything on his own unless it's this ONE thing...that he hasn't been able to come to terms with the fact that it'll probably never happen for him....and we can't afford for him to not if I don't do it, we'll be homeless basically. He's about to see the difference in what used to be my support, to no support.

  • Reena Hicks

    overshare is the key, limit your conversations when trying to discover a new direction for your life. The more you share the more ammo you give them.The best way to get them to stop all the negativity, is to show them your successes you open new doors and increase your income, proof will be in the pudding. Remind them when they do bring it up, every baby has to walk before they crawl and them believing in your abilities could be the very thing that will bring you over the top.Simply put if you cant say anything nice, please do say anything at all!

  • naincy agarwal

    my family, when i supposed to want anything just like phone, money, dresses, to take me out, can i go to enjoy with my friends, etc they strongly supposed to say the answer in no, no, no and only no. is that joking i am her child or anything else. for everything happens in my home my mother only blames to me and shout a lot to me. nobody understands me. they didn't treat me as there family or child. they didn't like me.....

  • Tracy

    I totally agree with most if.not all of these quotes! I have spent years knowing I am generally a happy person and have notices that all my depressing episodes crazy feelings insecurities and all other hurtful stuff comes directly from my own families misery! this is actually how they are feeling and they manage to project it on to the scapegoat ! once you awaken to this you can simply take a step back and basically let them work things out for themselves and also once you stop allowing hurt you they will get closer to their own misery! these people will not change it is only ourselves that can change and once they have been removed from your life which will seem hard at first things will start to improve for you. drop the hatred regarding this as this is their hatred and surround yourself with people who do nothing but support you and make you feel good about yourself. Sometimes people are scared you get too happy as this is a threat to them and they love you to be down there with them in order to make them feel good about themselves Well that isn't our responsibility to make them happy it's theirs! keep going and keep smiling Things will change when you get rid of toxic people from your own landscape ! and we will start to attract what we feel xx

  • Carmen

    "That goes for me too! Don’t just take everything I have to say to heart. Question my background. Question everything I’m telling you. In fact, you should do your research on me before listening to anything I have to say." I respect that. Shows true honesty and credibility right there. Thank you. Anyway, I can say for a fact that my mom has always been supportive of me but sometimes she has doubts, concerns. Of course, having a healthy dose of skepticism is a good thing but sometimes, it can be just as smothering as a die-hard believer. While my mom has never stopped me from freelancing, she's not quite on board with it. I'll get questions like "Can you really make money from it?" "Are you aware of this problem or that problem that could get you in legal trouble?" or my favorite "What about taxes?" from my mom. Don't get me wrong, I understand my mom has legit concerned and this online freelancing world is truly a brand new concept to her (she's just now getting use to using a computer and internet on her own) but it would happen so frequently that I stopped trying to force her to understand it and moved in silence about it. In other words, I discovered having evidence of winning at freelancing can have a greater conversion goal than just converting on blind belief alone. She's finally coming around to it! :D

  • Shivika

    I hope this comment gets seen. But, here's my viewpoint on this. You do get unsolicited advice - all the time. The key thing is what to do when you actively go around looking for advice. What homework do you do to make sure the advice you are looking for is not by someone who turns out to be unsupportive.

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