Are you excluded, or disapproved of by the rest of the family?

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Exclusion can occur – according to this article – because of

  • family religion/faith/belief differences;
  • not following prescribed gender roles;
  • having different values or beliefs than the rest of the family; or
  • loving/marrying an “undesirable” partner.

So – how to stay resilient? How can you adapt, move forward, and cope with marginalisation without ignoring or forgetting about your negative family experiences?

1. Seek support from your communication networks.

  • invest in the relationships in your life that are genuine and loving. They focus on those who include them – these tend to be select siblings, extended family members, and friends.
  • consider seeking support from those who you might refer to as “adoptive kin” or your chosen” families. These are people who fulfill family roles and functions, but are not necessarily related to you
  • seek other alternative networks for support.

2. Rebuild while recognizing your negative experiences.

  • Focusing on the positive impact of the challenges they have faced can be a powerful way to stay resilient despite being a marginalised family member.
  • Be proud of your differences.
  • Focus on the ways you are stronger today because of what you have been through.
  • For example, some seek higher education to support themselves, just in case their families disowned them or refused to support them later in life. This is a positive outcome from a negative situation.
  • Attempt to reframe your marginalisation as positive even while acknowledging that it is painful.

3. Create and negotiate boundaries with family members.

  • Creating physical distance from family by moving away or limiting face time tends to protect people (who are excluded) from future interactions that are marginalising.
  • Others simply restrict what they talk about with their family.
  • They have surface-level conversations that avoid sensitive topics. You can draw physical and psychological boundaries around yourself for protection.

4. Downplay the experience of being marginalised.

  • Some insist that their marginalisation does not bother them.
  • They do this through reducing the influence their family relationships have on their lives: for example, claiming that their mom can’t guilt-trip them anymore.
  • For these people, family opinions become less valuable over time. You can change the meaning of your marginalisation by changing the way you think about it.

5. Live authentically, despite your family’s disapproval.

  • These people decide that being true to who they are is more important than fitting into a mould determined by their parents.
  • Despite knowing the consequences of being different and going against their family’s wishes, these people are proud, and valued their identities over their family’s acceptance of them.
  • This resilience strategy seemed to be the most-fueled by anger and frustration about the inflexibility in values held by family.
  • It involves being true to who you are, even if it means being disapproved of by your family.

Source: Hall, E.D., 2017

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