Why Am I Always Fighting With My Family?
Updated July 28, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Rashonda Douthit , LCSW
All families fight. Maybe yours fights a lot. In fact, you may be wondering if you're the only one whose family fights often, but rest assured that you're not. Right now, somewhere, another family is fighting over things like money, parenting, household responsibilities, or even free time. The truth is people fight. It’s simply in our nature to have conflict with people. And, not matter how much you love a family member, you are bound to have conflict with them at some point. It’s actually incredibly normal for families to fight every so often.
In your home, if your parents aren't arguing amongst themselves, you might be arguing with your parents. Maybe you're arguing with your siblings, too. Sometimes, it feels like you just live in a fighting family. It's normal for families to have differences and disagreements, but for some families, these arguments can become toxic.
If this resonates with you, you might wonder if there's still love in your family and if there's anything you can do to break the cycle. You might be ready to stop the constant arguing in your household. This in an incredibly responsible decision and you deserve to be applauded for it. In this article, we'll talk about tips for having fewer fights, diffusing anger, and avoiding toxic people.
Parents Arguing With Each Other
It can be hard to watch your parents fight. There’s just something about the two people you love most in the world arguing over something. Even if they’re just having a disagreement, it can still make you feel upset, and even anxious. However, it's important to remember that everyone argues from time to time, and within reason, it's even healthy. Even though they're fighting, it doesn't mean they're going to get a divorce or that they'll stay mad at each other for very long. They may occasionally say things they don't mean, but more often than not, it will pass.
If it bothers you when your parents argue, consider talking to them about it. When they learn how you feel, they may try to help you understand why they're arguing.Or, they may wait to discuss more heated issues when you're not around, so you don't have to listen to raised voices. Once they hear how it affects you, they may even try to curb their fighting.Tell them that it’s very hard for you when you hear or see them fight. They will likely understand where you’re coming from, as they lived with their parents once too.
Arguing With Your Parents
If most of the fights in your home are between you and your parents, you might be initiating fights because you feel like they don't understand you. Try to remember that your parents were young once, too. It may sound cliché, but it's true, even if they don't remember everything about being your age. Perhaps they've been in a situation similar to yours, so they're arguing with you because they know how it ends and want to save you from a similar fate. It’s easy to roll your eyes when your parents say, “Trust me, I’ve been through this,” but, it’s true. Your parents have many years on you and have great wisdom that you will admire someday. So, put yourself in their shoes and consider if they know what they’re talking about.
After all, it's your parents' job to keep you safe and help you grow into a successful adult. Sometimes it may seem like they're trying to stop you from living your life, but they may be afraid you're going to make a mistake that could hurt you in the long run. If they didn't try to protect you, then they wouldn't be very good parents, would they? Remember, your parents don’t want to steal your joy or freedom. They want to make sure you won’t get hurt, perhaps like they have been in the past.
So, it’s time to talk to your parents. Communication is key here. When you talk to your parents about your feelings, you may find you're able to mend fences with them, so you get into fewer arguments. To do this, it is best not to yell. No matter what, screaming and yelling gets you nowhere, and that applies to everyone. Have you ever been in a yelling match that has been resolved before you two cool down? The answer is likely no, so remember that when talking to your parents. A respectful conversation will get you much closer to understanding each other.
Arguing With a Sibling
Siblings frequently fight with each other -- sometimes it's like cats and dogs living in the same house. Being close in age just increases the likelihood of arguments. For the most part, siblings learn to get along, but every once in a while, expect a major blow-up. That's just part of having (and being) a brother or a sister. After all, if you’re being honest, it’s difficult to be around someone all day, every day. As mentioned above, personalities clash. People can be stubborn, especially during childhood. So, it is very likely you will argue with your sibling often.
It's understandable if you lose patience with your brother when he takes your stuff out of your room without permission for the 15th time this week. However, rather than yelling at him once again, you can expect better results if you approach the situation more productively, just like you might with your parents. Talk to him. Explain how much his actions bother you, and he may just see things your way. Deep down, he doesn't want to fight either, even though he probably doesn't want to admit it. Although it may not feel like it sometimes, your siblings love you. It may feel like they purposefully annoy you (which they might), but keep in mind that would rather get along with you.
Tips for Handling Anger More Constructively
In addition to sharing your feelings with your family, learning to manage your anger can help reduce fighting. In the middle of a fight, it can be tough to control your anger. However, it can help to learn more constructive ways to release that anger before you end up in a situation where you feel like you're going to explode. Thankfully, there are many expert answers to how to stay calm when angry. After decades of research, there are known ways to handle anger.
One sure way to release your anger is to get active. For instance, if someone does something that angers you, leave the house and go for a quick jog around the block. It's much better to release that anger through exercise, so you don't release it unproductively on someone else. Even if it seems silly, it can also be helpful to punch a pillow. When you release your anger on a pillow, you're not hurting anyone, nor are you hurting yourself, and it feels good to get the aggression out instead of letting it eat you up inside. This can also be a great method for if you ever feel the urge to hit your siblings, as this is another common feeling amidst sibling arguments.
If you're not the type to release aggressive energy, you can also try a simple meditation. Find a quiet place where you can get away from everyone and relax. Then count to ten, breathing deeply through your nose on the inhale and out through your mouth on the exhale. Focus on the sound and feeling of your breathing and try to empty your mind. After a few short minutes, you'll feel calmer and more in control. Also, during this time, you will be giving your family members time to cool down after your fight so they can speak with you more calmly.
Tips for Reducing Family Fights
If you find you've been fighting with your family a lot recently, perhaps you need some space. Next time you find yourself in a heated conversation, take a step back and attempt to collect yourself before you blow a gasket. Many arguments start because someone says something hurtful in a burst of anger. It's easier to diffuse situations when everyone has enough time and space to think before speaking. So, the number one way to diffuse an argument is by simply stepping back, giving yourself and your family members time to calm down. During this time, try to put yourself in their shoes. Why would they say something hurtful? Was it on purpose? Was it just out of stress or anger?
It's also important to pick your moments. If your sister does something that angers you, her birthday is not the best time to address it. Emotions run high on holidays or during family events. Not only is the argument likely to spiral out of control because everyone's on edge, but an argument could also ruin the day, making it an unpleasant memory for everyone. Instead, wait until the excitement dies down. You can take your sister aside tomorrow and explain how you feel about her actions. This will be much more appropriate and will be more effective.
When you're trying to resolve an argument, remember to focus more on solutions than problems. Instead of trying to win the argument, work with the other person to think about ways you can prevent a similar situation from occurring in the future. A great way to think of it is, “How can we win this together and stride towards the goal of understanding each other?” This way, you think of you and your family member as a team, working against the argument and towards a resolution.
Removing Toxic Family Members from Your Life
Although it's healthy and normal to fight with family from time to time, there comes a point when there are no more solutions. If the relationship has turned toxic, it may be better for you to cease contact with a particular family member. Here are some signs that you may be dealing with a toxic person:
- The way they behave, act, or talk constantly makes you angry.
- You avoid visiting with them whenever possible.
- They drain you with their negativity, so you're exhausted when you leave them.
- You're constantly walking on eggshells around them, worried you'll say the wrong thing.
- You feel like you're forced to be around them because of familial obligations, even though you don't really want to spend time with them.
- They scream at you for very small reasons, or no reason at all, for long periods of time.
Of course, dealing with a toxic family member is incredibly difficult when you live with that person. You can't simply avoid them or stop going over to their house because their house is your home (or vice versa). But, you can help make the environment less toxic until you move out.
First and foremost, it's important to understand who's creating the toxic environment. A lot of people don't realize how their own actions might be affecting the situation. If you want to improve things, you may need to take responsibility for your part of the problem. If, for example, you see any of the following in yourself, you may need to reevaluate how you're treating those closest to you:
- Your friends and family are distancing themselves from you.
- You're always asking others to validate your appearance, personality, etc.
- You always want to be in control, regardless of the situation.
- You feel like you're always the victim, and you tell anyone who will listen.
- People seem unhappy to be around you.
- You have a tendency to scream at others for the smallest things.
If any of these traits describe you, then you may need to change your behavior, so you can improve your family relationships. You might also simply be stuck with a toxic family member. Either way, speaking with a mental health professional can help you work through it.
Frequently Asked Questions About Fighting With Family
Is it normal for families to argue all the time?
According to expert answers, it is normal for families to argue occasionally. It is literally impossible for everyone in a family to stay peaceful. This is because there are so many different personalities and conflict styles in one household. Also, the larger the family, the more likely there will an argument, as there are more people who can argue. So, it is very normal for family members to argue on a monthly, and even weekly, basis. However, if there are explosive arguments on a daily basis, this is not normal. If this is the case for your family, there is likely an issue going on in the household.
How do I stop arguing with my family?
To stop fighting with your family, try to take a step back and put yourself in their shoes. Do they have something stressful going on? Are they feeling a lot of pressure at work or school? Also, consider what you did to make them angry. Did you do one of their pet peeves? Or, did you take something without permission? Whenever you and your family members do fight, consider how it started. Then, take note of what sparked the argument so you can avoid doing that again. This way, there won’t be the same argument again, and you can avoid similar arguments in the future.
What is the most psychologically damaging thing you can say to a child?
One of the most psychologically damaging things you can say to a child is “I hate you.” When a parent tells their child they hate them, it is heartbreaking. This statement, whether if you believe it or not, can be detrimental to a child’s self-esteem. On that note, any sign of being annoyed by their existence, any bullying, or degrading from a parent can damage the self-esteem of a child. These can be lasting effects, which can stick with them through adulthood. So, it is best to always be gentle, loving, and kind to a child. This will be better for their self-esteem, and you will be communicating to them more clearly about what they’re doing wrong.
What is a toxic sibling?
A toxic sibling is one that you cannot be around without them starting an argument. They may nitpick everything you do or say. Or, they may be overly sensitive to constructive criticism.But, keep in mind that there is a difference between a toxic sibling and a sibling who is struggling through something. There is a difference between being in a bad mood or being stressed out and being toxic. A toxic sibling will be toxic for many years. However, a sibling who is struggling with something behind closed doors will only act a certain way for a period of time. If you aren’t sure which your sibling is, try sitting down and talking with them to get to the bottom of their attitude.
What are the 4 causes of family conflict?
According to K. Lee Banks, author of “4 Causes of Family Conflict,” the four causes of family conflict are finances (or jobs), sibling rivalry, child discipline disagreements, and in-laws or extend family issues. Finances are hard on everyone, so when they are a concern, it can stress parents out greatly. This can lead to conflict between parents. Sibling rivalry is very common, especially amongst kids who are close in age. This can cause arguments among siblings, which can then cause parents to get angry.
Next is child discipline, which can be a source of arguments between the two parents or the kids. When a child is disciplined, they can get angry with their parents. On the other hand, parents can disagree with home to discipline a child, which can also start arguments. Lastly, in-laws and extended family can be a common cause of arguments. Many people argue over their in-law’s treatment of each other or behaviors. It is difficult because your spouse will always love their family, even though they may mistreat you, their spouse.
How does an angry parent affect a child?
An angry parent can affect a child by lowering their self-esteem. Lashing out in anger can degrade a child and make them feel worthless. They can also contribute to high anxiety levels. When a child isn’t sure how to communicate with their parents because they are fearful of making them mad, the child can’t develop properly. They won’t ask the questions they need answers to. Or, they won’t communicate their thoughts and feelings. This can hinder their emotional development and relationship skills greatly.
What do you do when your family hates you?
If you believe your family hates you, the first thing to do is ask yourself why you think that. Why do you think they all hate you? Are they mean to you? Do they make fun of you out of malice? Or, do they favor your siblings over you? Once you figure out why you feel like your family hates you, communicate that to them. Tell them you feel as though they hate you because of their actions. It is best to give specific examples of how they made you feel hated, so they know not to do those things again. In a non-emotional and calm way, explain your feelings and reasons behind them. Hopefully, they will respond well and reassure you that they love you.
If your family responds poorly, angrily, or even violently when you communicate that you feel hated by them, it is best to seek help. This is not a healthy environment to be in, especially if you are not an adult. Tell a teacher or school counselor what is happening at home and seek out help there. If you are close with a friend’s parents, then tell them if you feel safe doing so. If you are an adult, you can reach out to a licensed counselor to talk with someone about how you are feeling. It may seem impossible now, but you can move on and heal from your family’s hurtful actions.
BetterHelp Can Help
If you need support or advice, individual or family counseling might help you get along better with your family. BetterHelp has over 4,000 licensed therapists who are ready to help you work through any issues, so you can fight less and enjoy your time with your family. You'll be matched with counselor based on your needs and personality, and you can meet with them online from the comfort of your own home or anywhere you have an internet connection.
Below, you'll find some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar issues.
"Baruch has been helping me sort out issues in dealing with my elderly father who was distant, very critical, and emotionally unavailable during my childhood and beyond. My father is currently verbally abusive to me and other family members in many instances. Baruch is wonderful. He has helped me with concrete and practical suggestions to help me deal with the immediate situation with my father and also more in-depth analysis of the whys and wherefores of the past. In spite of many years of difficulties with my father, he reminds me of all the positives in my own adult life, which can be hard to focus on when feeling overwhelmed when dealing with crises in an elderly parent. I felt immediately at ease with Baruch at our first session. He is an amazing listener and responds with such clarity and insight. In just a few sessions, he has helped me greatly. Highly recommend!"
"Denae is a fantastic, warm-hearted counselor, with much wisdom to impart. She's helped me deal with complex family and relationship issues. Ultimately, her brand of engaged listening and advice is uniquely effective for anyone needing help in life."
When multiple people are living in the same household, it's unreasonable to expect them to agree on everything. Occasional arguments are normal, but it's not healthy or productive for family members to fight constantly. If you feel like you fight with your family all of the time, some of the tools in this article may help, or you may want to speak with a counselor. With the right tools, it's possible to live with your family without fighting all the time. Take the first step today.