We are entering the holiday season! Holidays can be filled with joy but sometimes they can also be sad when we miss those we love or feel ignored and lonely. When family ignores you, it can be a difficult situation to deal with. Being ignored brings up all different kinds of emotions. You might feel hurt that you’re being left out, or you might feel angry, or maybe even confused. In fact, you’re probably feeling all of these emotions at once. Here is what to do when family ignores you.
Why Does My Family Ignore Me?
First, you may want to put some honest thought into why the family member may be ignoring you. This will help you be prepared for when you face them. It will also give you the opportunity for self-reflection and to look at things from their perspective.
There could be a number of reasons why family members are ignoring you. Perhaps you hurt or upset them in some way and they’re angry. They could be jealous of you so they push you away because they don’t want to be reminded of their jealousy. Or maybe you’re dealing with something in your life that they don’t know how to talk to you about. Maybe they are overwhelmed with their own life and it is actually nothing personal at all.
How To Deal With Family Members That Ignore You
Here are a few tips for how to deal with family members that ignore you and get the relationship back on track. Remember, it may be necessary to wade through some uncomfortable waters if you fear confrontation or rejection. But it is kind of like taking off a band-aid, sometimes you just have to get it over with so you can move on.
1. Keep your feelings in check.
Being ignored can cause a flood of negative feelings about yourself, but the situation may not have anything to do with you personally and you may not have done anything wrong. Try to keep yourself from going off the deep end with your assumptions. If you find yourself thinking things like “everybody hates me” or “nobody wants to be around me” recognize that these thoughts are just not true.
Keep your emotions grounded in reality and deal with what’s actually happening, not with what you think is happening. The last thing you want to to work yourself up and get all angry at them and then find out they weren’t even intentionally ignoring you.
Balancing your emotions and is super important before you address the situation head on. Talking to them is the best way to get past things but wait until you are calm and collected so you have a conversation that doesn’t make them feel attacked or leave you feeling vulnerable.
2. Address the situation head-on.
Confronting your family is the best way to get the situation out in the open. It may be a difficult discussion to have, but it’s worth the effort. Keep in mind though that a conversation is not one-sided and just because you want to talk about the issue doesn’t mean they do. They may shut you down or refuse to talk about it and you can’t force them to open up. The best way to get good results is to go into the conversation with an open heart and open mind. You need to convey how you are feeling and ask them for what you want.
You might say something like, “We haven’t talked in weeks and I feel like you are ignoring me and that makes me sad. I am wondering why you are acting distant from me. I want us to be close again. Could you please tell me what is causing this?”
Let the family member know what you are feeling (sad, frustrated, worried, angry, isolated, alone, etc.) when they ignore you. This may help them be able to emotionally connect more and feel moved to share how they are feeling. Be curious. Ask them how they feel and if they know what is causing those feelings.
3. Kill them with kindness.
Just because they’re ignoring you doesn’t mean you have to ignore them. Put on your happy face and act like nothing is wrong. Smile, ask how they are, and pretend like everything’s normal. It may take some time, but that may be just what they need to start coming around. Sometimes it takes people a little while to defrost!
4. Enlist the help of a mediator.
If your family member doesn’t want to talk to you about what’s going on, maybe they’ll talk to someone else. For instance, if your sibling is ignoring you, maybe they’ll talk to your parents about it. Talk to someone you both trust and ask them to intercede on your behalf to find out what’s going on.
When family ignores you, it’s usually because you did something that caused them hurt, or they’re jealous or embarrassed to be around you for some reason. Get to the bottom of it, deal with the issue, and find a way back to your relationship with kindness and an open heart.