Ask Gwen: Disruptive family member


Whenever we are out with my sister-in-law she is very disruptive and always makes a scene. How can we handle this?

Gwen’s Answer:

If she gets disruptive with family members simply do not argue with her. If she says things to provoke a conflict do not take the bait. Tell her you all just want to enjoy the time you have together.

If she does not respond to these strategies, she might change her behavior, if, when she gets disruptive, others in the group decide to leave. You cannot control her, but you do not have to be her audience.  Simply saying, “I think it is time for us to leave.” Is sufficient. Do not show anger towards her or comment on her behavior.

If she creates a scene with servers in a restaurant, you can try to settle her down. If she continues just sit quietly until she is done and then be extra kind to the server. She is only embarrassing herself. Being kind to the server shows the family member’s behavior is not reflective of the group.

If this continues to be a problem, stop inviting her. When she asks why let her know that her behavior is unpleasant and stressful.

Releasing Anger MP3


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