Your family wants you to be someone you’re not, and you’re tired of letting them run your life. Here’s how to be yourself when your family wants you to be someone else.
These tips are inspired by a reader’s comment:
“My family puts me down, and I have no voice at all,” says A. on 6 Tips for Toxic Relatives – How to Handle Family Problems. “They try to make me someone I’m not. When I try to say what is in my heart, they shut me down and contradict me, making me feel like I’m nobody. Please help me!”
The first thing you need to realize is that you have the power to help yourself. You may not be tapping into it right now, but you have more power than you think.
Secondly, you need to get comfortable being yourself. I just wrote an article yesterday, offering tips to a guy whose mom refuses to accept him for who he is. Part of the problem is that he doesn’t accept himself.
So, get authentic. Get real. Get YOU! Read Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken: Transform Your Life with the Power of Authenticity – it’ll help you cope with your family’s pressures to conform.
And here are a few tips for being yourself when your family wants you to be someone you’re not.
How to Be You When Your Family Wants You to be Someone Else
First, here’s the rest of my reader’s comment:
“I’m trapped in h*ll,” she says. “The only things that make me happy at home are technology, friends, and doing creative things. But not my family.”
One of the saddest parts of growing up is realizing that our families can be our greatest sources of pain, heartache, and struggle. Isn’t it ironic? Our families should be our biggest allies, our strongest supporters…and yet sometimes they’re our biggest burdens, our thorniest thorns.
My most popular articles – the ones that get the most comments year-round – are the ones about family problems. So, at least you know you’re not alone! These tips revolve around finding and being your authentic self, instead of my usual tips on coping with family problems.
That said, however, I’m kicking the tips off with advice on family!
Accept your family members for who they are because…
…they ain’t gonna change.
And, we’re supposed to do unto others as we would have done unto us, right?
So, if you wish your family members would accept you the way you are, then you need to accept them the way they are. One of the best tips for solving family problems is to stop wishing your family was different, and start accepting them for who they are.
Change how you see your family problems
I’m reading Eckart Tolle’s The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, and I love what he says about dealing with pain:
“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you’d chosen it.”
This mind shift dramatically changes how you see your family problems – and it’ll help you be yourself when your family wants you to be someone else! Here’s how it works for me: I’ve been struggling with pain and heartache because my sister cut me out of her life five years ago. I didn’t do anything to deserve being rejected like that – in fact, I didn’t do anything at all. It’s her stuff, not mine, that propels her.
When I accept my sister’s rejection as if it was something I chose, I feel totally different! I feel light-hearted, happy, and free from self-recriminations and self-flagellations.
Can you try this? Take your current problem – such as the fact that your family puts you down and wants you to be someone you’re not – and accept it as if it was a choice you made. Let me know in the comments section below if it changes anything for you.
Remember that this is just a summary of Tolle’s advice – I can’t fully explain his thinking in this article.
Keep expressing your true self – despite what your family says and does
One of my favorite books is Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort of Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach – it’s all about finding and being yourself. I think the title doesn’t accurately reflect what this book does, which is help you be yourself!
Another good book on finding and being who you are is Reinventing Yourself: How to Become the Person You’ve Always Wanted to Be.
Don’t let your family crush your spirits or suppress your authentic self! Just because they don’t listen to you – or even if they criticize and condemn you – doesn’t mean you are less valuable, smart, creative, and amazing. It means your family doesn’t understand you.
Your family’s rejection and criticisms say more about them than they do about you.
For tips on dealing with family problems, read Coping With Controlling Parents? 5 Ways to Take Your Life Back.
Does your family want you to be someone you’re not? Questions and comments welcome…
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.