The importance of setting boundaries with difficult family members - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Arts & Life

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The importance of setting boundaries with difficult family members

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Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 4:45 am

Dear Mikey,

I have two family members that are not responsible and do not make very smart choices in their lives.

Many other family members as well as myself have tried helping them on numerous occasions whether financially, emotionally, spiritually, physically — however, they keep making the wrong choices or unhealthy ones and even the same mistakes over and over.

I was always taught to never turn my back on family, however, my family is going to land me on a hospital bed with all of this drama.

Is there a way I can help them but by not being physically be around them anymore?

— Wanting to let go

Dear Wanting to let go,

Family matters are always tricky to deal with because you never want to turn your back on family, but at the same time, you can’t get too involved where it is disrupting your health and personal life.

Dealing with family matters is all about balancing and setting boundaries. After all, what help will you be to them if you are so stressed out over their problems that you made yourself sick or are in the hospital?

Think of everything you have tried doing for them already. Ask yourself if it worked and what the outcome of your help was. If they just made the same mistake again, realize that they still obviously have not learned their lesson yet.

Sometimes doing nothing at all can do everything for another person. It might be time for you and your family to give your difficult family members a little space to try and solve their own problems. By figuring things out on their own, they can depend more on themselves instead of others. It also shows them that you and your other family members believe in them enough to back off and trust that they can fix their own situation.

Your health is the one thing you will take with you from the moment you are born, to the last day you are here on earth. You need to protect it the best way that you can. Stress is not going to keep you healthy or even solve your family member’s problems.

I think it is time that you all give each other a little space and focus on yourself to get back on track.

And if you want to know what the best way is to help someone — it is to pray for them.

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Michelle “Mikey” Arana is a 2003 graduate of Mountain Pointe High School. She offers free peer advice, however, Mikey is not licensed or trained, just a fellow friend to the community. All inquiries made to Mikey will remain anonymous unless legal issues occur. She can be reached at

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