Why Am I Always Fighting With My Family?
Updated November 18, 2019
Reviewer 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.
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. 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. 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, 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.
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.
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?
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. No matter what, screaming and yelling gets you nowhere, and that applies to everyone. 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. 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.
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.
Tips for Handling Anger More Constructively
In addition to sharing your feelings with our 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Removing Toxic Family Members from Your Life
Although it's healthy 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.