Family feuds are unpleasant and complicated to handle. There are so many reasons why family feuds develop among adult siblings. Perhaps parents are giving too much attention to one child, an ill parent is in need of assistance but one sibling doesn't want to share the responsibilities or siblings grow apart due to a lifestyle disapproval. A feud among siblings is unhealthy. Siblings are supposed to protect one another not go against each other. Even though siblings share differences of opinions, they should hold on to their bond not destroy it.
When I first met my husband, he was in a feud with his sister. The feud came from their younger years. His sister was in the wrong crowd and their mother believed giving her rewards would discontinue her negative behavior. He, on the other hand, did very well in school and completed his chores at home, but received zero rewards and acknowledgment.
Sadly, the rewards did not pay off. She continued in the wrong path. She hurt him in many ways with her bad habits. He tried forgiving her, trusting her and giving her chances after chances, but she would fail. He finally lost complete trust in her and moved on without wanting to hear from her ever again.
A tragedy occurred that brought the siblings together and with the help of their mother. The sister was in trouble, learned a valuable lesson and decided to change her ways. The mother brought them together. Even though they are not as close as they once were, they do speak from time to time.
Below are four ways you can attempt to mend a family feud:
1. Be the bigger person and apologize
No one wants to be wrong; we all want to be right. However, in life we need to make grown-up decisions, which means we need to see the bigger picture. What happens if the person you are fighting with dies suddenly? The last thing you will remember about the person is the feud. I doubt anyone wants to end a relationship on a devastating note. Pick up the phone or send a personalized handwritten letter. Ask to meet in person.
2. Have a healthy discussion on the matter
There are two sides to every story — so listen to each other. Do not interrupt each other. Allow your sibling the time needed to thoroughly express himself. You will have your time to speak up.
3. Allow a third party to intervene
If you and your sibling are hardheaded and cannot meet in the middle, then maybe it is a good idea to have a close member of the family intervene. This mediator should not come into the discussion with a definitive opinion. They should remain neutral. This person is only there to listen and mediate the conversation.
I am not saying after a family feud the siblings will hug and forget everything as if nothing transpired. That is not realistic. However, what I am saying is earn each other’s trust little by little. Talk more often. Engage in activities together. Begin to form a new bond. See this opportunity as a new beginning.
Family feuds can be resolved, but it is up to the parties involved to put in the effort to make it happen. Imagine how the feud is affecting your loved ones. Find it in your heart to forgive one another and start a new chapter — together.
Mayra Colón is a freelance writer, former independent author and avid reader. She holds a MBA from the University of Phoenix and completed the Freelance Writing and Selling Online course from Rutgers University of Arts and Sciences.