What To Do With A Negative Family Member?

This question came in from last week’s Success 2.0 Webcast:

“What can you do if an immediate family member does not share the same positive beliefs as you do?  I know the best answer is prayer, but any other suggestions? – Michael

Michael, it can be tough when a family member does not hold the same positive beliefs that you do. As you mentioned, prayer is always the place to start.  Like most things of this nature, it is unlikely you can “win” this argument with words.  Better is to live out your life so that they want what you have.  For me, I focus on what gives me the realistic best chance for success and happiness.  And the reality is, when you study successful people they all have an incredible will to keep trying until they make it, and this force of will is based on the hope and expectation that they will succeed.

Ultimately, people need to understand that settling for the lemons life gives them, or determining to make lemonade, is a choice.  I love the question that Dad asks, and maybe you can ask your family member this question: “Is there anything in the next few weeks that you can do that will make your personal life, your family life, or your business life worse?”  People chuckle when they hear this question because they know the answer is YES.  And when they understand they can make things worse, they then have to admit they can make things better, and the choice is theirs.

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7 Comments on “What To Do With A Negative Family Member?”


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by John Clark, Stan Dunster. Stan Dunster said: RT @TomZiglar What To Do With A Negative Family Member?: This question came in from last week’s Su.. http://bit.ly/5no8M0 […]

  2. Dixie Meyers Says:

    Good Musings, on Relationships. Thanks. God gives us “Faith & Reason” Fides et Ratio. You have used both well.


  3. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tom Ziglar: New Ziglar post -What To Do With A negative Family Member? http://budurl.com/acz9

  4. Amy Says:

    Or, maybe look around to see if they are being emotionally abused. My father has a strong, negative reaction to any time I express joy or enthusiasm. Before I was financially independent, I’d learned that I’d better not express any kind of happiness around him or he’d take it away. Later, he still had a huge influence on me when he suddenly maneuvered to cripple me financially. It never dawned on me that he’d go so far, and he really got me. So, I was dependent on him for even longer than I’d intended. In order to survive, I had to keep all expressions of happiness away from any member of my family. I was so frightened he’d do more. (Note, yes, I did try enlisting the help of relatives but it always backfired w/ even more abuse.)

    It’s been a long, hard road. I value positivity and try to integrate it into all that I do. But I still can’t risk sharing that with relatives. Or the truth.


  5. GOOD WORD TOM! Thank You and ‘Michael’ for bringing it up and putting it out there.

    Technology, in which Ziglar Corp is leading the way to encourage and inspire folks is amazing.
    Sitting at my desk here, cell phone gets an instant message from @TomZiglar via Twitter… so I go to TomZiglar.com and send THANKS and ENCOURAGEMENT back to YOU! Appreciate you !

    In our work at The Bonded Family with blended families we regularly coach people through times, or even a ‘season’, where they see negativity in a member of the family. Sadly this happens way too often. You think you have everybody in the boat ‘rowing the same direction’ and there can be one person who puts forth “Stinkin’ Thinkin'” (another Ziglar-ism) and it can dampen the family joy and togetherness.

    Sometimes it is ‘indoctrination’ or ‘justification’ from an external source (the other home, school, friends, coworkers, etc) that creates, or nurtures, the negativity. In stepfamily dynamics we encourage parents and families to consider what we call BONDING 360* or a 360 degree view of what’s going on. (Look at the situation from the parents viewpoint, the child’s heart, siblings view and reaction, former spouse impact, external influence, etc). Don’t just react but ‘respond’. (Hmmm…another Ziglar thought) Things aren’t always as they appear up front. There is often spiritual warfare going on to take out the family joy. (see John 10:10)

    Ask God to give you VICTORY in the moment, and long term. We have seen this in our family and others.

    Consider, especially in the attitude of children, that there is a hurt for some reason. Children naturally want to love and be loved. If one child is resisting relationships, try investing extra time to get to know them and spend time with them. No matter what, as Paul Harvey says we often have to seek to understand ‘the rest of the story.’

    BONDING 360 allows for patience, perseverance, gentleness, self-control, etc. All these come right from God’s Word regarding the Fruit of the Spirit.

    Parents still have to lead, be strong and courageous and not let the family be damaged, yet doing so with grace and discernment is important to success.

    The writer and you and we all agree with what is our greatest source of overcoming the negativity and is truly the real key to opening the door to victory. PRAYER! GOD CAN HANDLE IT…so turn it over to HIM in PRAYER. Trust Him to make the change of heart that is needed in a child, a parent, a former spouse, etc.
    Yes, seek resources and coaching and ideas, but never cease the foundation of PRAYER for your Family.

    Dan and Rebecca Snell
    http://www.thebondedfamily.com

  6. Archie Winningham Says:

    I believe it is the satanistic TV that keeps the negativity flowing in our house. Never-the-less, I have no other choice than to press on. I’ll continue to read good books, listen to the great motivators like Zig, Krish,Les Brown, Dave Ramsey and anything uplifting and positive that I can get my hands on, or access to their websites! A statue has never been erected of a critic. And I don’t want to have the reputation of a critic, so I have to press on!
    Oh, and as far as having an answer to changing the mind of a critic, they will have to change on their own. Just don’t worry about things you have no control over.


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