How to Handle Family Drama: 3 Steps to Go from Anger to Forgiveness

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Note: This post was updated in July 2018 for clarity and additional resources.

No matter how far along the spiritual path we may be, we’re never immune to family drama. You might meditate and surrender every day, but when you get around your family that peace can fall right away.

This is especially true during the holidays and other big get-togethers. In the video below I get real about a mini-meltdown I had during a family get-together. I share how I used my own tools to find my way back to forgiveness and peace.

Every family has some kind of drama

Even the most high-functioning family has complicated dynamics, long histories and disagreements. There’s always one negative person, or a long-standing fight, or that relative who won’t mind their own business.

So if you aren’t great at dealing with family drama, you are not alone. But with these three steps you will feel better and move through family drama with more grace.

Watch the video and then read on for the steps I offer up!

I recorded this video RIGHT after I experienced some serious family drama of my own! This is something that comes out for everybody. Our family can be one of our greatest triggers. I heard this in a 12-step meeting once that your family knows how to push your buttons most because they’re the ones who put them there. And yes, they are.

So let’s get into some steps you can take when family drama gets the best of you.

How to handle family drama in 3 steps

Step 1: Lose your shit

That’s right. Let it out. Don’t stuff it down. Before I could do any healing, I had to completely lose my shit. I lost my shit. I went crazy. I screamed. I cursed. You have to get it out. I believe if you hold on, hold on, hold on, eventually, it will burst. So if you’re ready to get it out, just go for it. Unleash it.

Maybe you don’t have the kind of family where you can all just yell and get it out. If so, that’s okay. Take a walk outside. Go into the basement. Rant and rave for a few minutes. Feel those feelings, even if they aren’t pretty at all.

Tweet: Even spiritual people aren’t immune to family drama. Use these 3 steps to handle it. @gabbybernstein #judgmentdetox

And if you’re not the kind of person who really freaks out, then take the opportunity to just witness your judgment and get real with your feelings. You don’t have to lose your shit to get honest about how you feel.

Once you let it out, you can move on to step 2.

Step 2: Create healthy boundaries

I am a big believer in healthy boundaries. I came back to this blog years after I first recorded the video in December 2014. I’m typing now a few years later to say that I am a boundary EXPERT. I create healthy boundaries, I’m open about them and I stick to them.

This is very important with family. Again, remember they can push all our buttons because they put them there! So speak up truthfully. Create boundaries. Don’t allow yourself to be walked all over. Don’t let other people dictate your experience or your mood or how you want to feel.

We are not our stories, our dramas, or our wrongdoings. We are LOVE. | Gabby Bernstein | Judgment DetoxCreating healthy boundaries is particularly crucial when it comes to the people in your life who can get under your skin the most. And let’s face it, that is often our family! You love them, but you must create clear and healthy boundaries.

You can love and accept someone without sticking around

If you have a family member who is self-destructive or who can hurt you emotionally, then that boundary needs to be very firm. You might have to say, “If you choose to go in that direction, I may not be there to support you.” That is a hard thing to say to somebody that you’re close to, but I think it’s a healthier choice. Enabling the people in our lives does not serve them or us.

Create your boundaries with love and compassion, and express them with kindness. It’s very important to know that you can deeply love someone and forgive them for the ways they’ve hurt you, but that doesn’t mean you have to stick around.

I am a big believer in healing judgment. I wrote a whole book about it. And if you have a difficult family or a family member who causes you a lot of pain and hurt, this book is a must read. Heal that judgment and accept that person right where they are, but create that boundary.

Step 3: Be willing to forgive

Even when you know that you can’t forgive right away because you’re so angry, just be open and willing to forgive. That slight willingness to be in the intention of forgiveness will allow it to come forth when the time is right.

When you are released and when you have surrendered to the guidance of the Universe, you will receive the ability to forgive. Even if you have no idea how you’ll get there, or you can’t possibly fathom how you could forgive a situation, just be open. Just pray for it. Say, “Thank you, Universe, for helping me forgive.”

Even in the midst of chaos and drama, we can choose to forgive. Choosing forgiveness sets us free. Healing our judgment sets us free. Be open to it, ask for it and trust that you’ll get there.

Try my free Judgment Detox Mini Course

Free Judgment Detox Mini Course by Gabby Bernstein

Are you ready to heal judgment, restore love and feel free? Try my FREE Judgment Detox Mini Course to practice some of the core techniques of my Judgment Detox method. You’ll start to feel relief from judgment right away. Get it free here!

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  1. Perfect timing that I came across this blog at a time I was struggling with a family dramas that was dragging me down. This has given me tools to get through the situation. Thank you universe for guidance.

  2. So helpful! I have a lot of family pain, and recently set a boundary- but feeling guilty and confused if it is right. Just read The Universe Has Your Back, and trying to think through the lens of ceasing judgment; not sure how to balance forgiveness towards my family and not feeling I can handle contact with them. This post definitely helped. It is going to be hard to get to a place of forgiveness, but hope for that one day. I can try to just open myself a little bit like stated above. And will read Judgment Detox next!

    1. This is beautiful Jessica. Plesae be patient and gentle with yourself as you implement these practices. You’re doing great. XOX

  3. Hi, My dad is 1/2 loving and 1/2 angry vindictive petty to others (not really his family). He’s also withholding, and verbally critical and trantrum -like with my Mom. He is currently very dark, mean and angry at his neighbor. My mom is a victim and suffering. My brother is a rage-aholic and very very negative about society, and his 16-year old twin girls and 17-year old son are jaded, sad and tired and angry. This is my family of origin. I visit them about 2-10 time a year. What I’m working on with your teaching is how to deal with AN ONGOING toxic, negativity. Boundary would be — don’t act that way when I’m around – ???

    1. We cannot control how others act. You can try setting a boundary that is something like, “I love you and I want to spend time with you. But it’s very hard for me to be with you when you are this angry and negative. Is it possible for you to suspend the negativity while I’m around?” They may not be able to. And this can be very difficult, but you must honor their path. You cannot change someone. You can only accept them. Accepting doesn’t mean you have to stick around. I suggest you read my book Judgment Detox. I think it will help you a lot in how you feel about and interact with your family. Check out the below blog posts as well. I want you to know that I am holding you in love and light and keeping you in my prayers.

      EFT tapping to release judgment
      How to stay positive around negative people
      Busting 3 big myths about forgiveness
      Accepting people where they are

  4. Hi Gabby,
    I’m new to your website,vlogs, etc etc. (even though I signed up last year!). This is the first one I chose to watch…. Thank you for saying all that. I was wondering if you have any insight on people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, because that causes a lot of family drama and tension. I am convinced my mother has this, and finally at 44yrs old, I am no longer willing to enable that kind of behavior around me or my kids. You spoke of “enabling” and “boundaries” in your vlog, and right now I feel the only boundary option I have is no contact with her or my enabling stepdad. Anyway, if you have any insight on THAT kind of family drama, please share. 🙂 xo

    1. You can be clear about what your needs are but you cannot change her. Acceptance is crucial in this situation. know that you have taken care of your side of the street by saying what you need.

  5. Hi Gabby,

    I cannot express how much I appreciated this vlog and your sincere thoughts. Family drama SUCKS. Period. I have been dealing with my sister-in-law who has said less than favorable things about my son and myself. My husband told me what was going on and my feelings were immediately just stunned. I confronted her and asked her to stop saying such horrific things about my 11 month old and myself and her response, “STOP.” Fast forward to now (5 months later), she has reached out and said she wants to move forward and that I need to be an adult about it. Funny thing, I haven’t contacted her since she told me to “STOP” and I have forgiven her, but she continues to be so impolite–it kills my vibe. What else can I do? This person is toxic and I would rather not have her in my life, since she keeps making every aspect difficult. HELP!

  6. I have always had a very difficult relationship with my younger sister. She is in her 30s and has 3 children her eldest was from a previous relationship and her youngest two is from the relationship she is currently in. She has always become aggressive when drinking alcohol but she has been drinking more lately. Last week she told her oldest son that she didn’t love him, that she whished he hadn’t been born etc etc. He is now living with our elderly parents who love him and wouldn’t make him go home unless he wants to. Why would he. How to I deal with my sister and my nephew who is obviously in turmoil. My parents are very sad they feel they may have lost their daughter and their other grandchildren. I pray for a miracle.

  7. I have been dealing with a lot of drama with my husband’s family. In some ways, it’s a very drama-filled family and filled with cliques. I have been trying to distance myself from it but it’s hard because we see them often. Thank you for this blog and for the steps. I have definitely gone through step one and am now in step two and working on setting those boundaries. It’s been hard but I’m praying.

  8. Oh, this is so good because it is so real.
    Thank you, Gabby.
    Absolutely agree. We have to get it out of our system, create healthy boundaries and be willing to forgive. And then just stay with the light 🙂

  9. I needed this in October!!!! I have put a serious boundary on my mom which I feel guilty for but I think her house is full of bad juju I have no good memories there

  10. Hi Gabby! Oh my God, thank you for this particular vlog right when I need it. I’m changing careers right now and am feeling insecure and vulnerable. I’m turning to a direction completely different then my studies were. My family has some difficulties to support me. They wanna help me off course, but interfere a bit too much and therefore I’m pushed out of my comfort zone. Also, I don’t really get why they’re not happy when my goal is to help people and to serve a higher purpose. This week, one of my family members went a bit overboard, laughed at me on this and I ended up being pretty hurt. At that moment, I tried so hard, but no conversation was possible anymore. Tonight we’re trying to talk about it. I’m praying for help, serenity, healing, forgiveness, the right words on the right time. It also feels good to know that it’s still ok to lose your shit even when you’re a spirit junkie student. Thank you for everything! Love, Isabel x

  11. THANK YOU FOR ACKNOWLEDGING THAT THE EMOTIONS NEED TO BE RELEASED. I’VE FOUND MYSELF AND SO MANY OTHERS THINKING AND EXPECTING A ‘HEALTHY FIGHT NOT TO INCLUDE LOUD VOICES OR EXTREME REACTIONS. ALTHOUGH THOSE CAN BE DAMAGING IF THEY ARE TAKEN TOO FAR FOR TOO LONG, I DO 100% AGREE THAT THOSE ENERGETIC EXPRESSIONS SHOULDN’T BE BLOCKED OUT AND PUSHED DOWN. THEY WILL END UP MANIFESTING AS PHYSICAL BARRIERS LATER SO MIGHT AS WELL STAY HEALTHY AND LET IT OUT AS IT COMES TO HELP MOVE INTO STEP 2 🙂 THANK YOU GABBY FOR SHARING YOUR REALNESS!

  12. Thank you! This was so timely and I had actually just done all three steps. It was a great confirmation that I’d made the right choices. Thanks again 🙂

  13. Hey Gabby, You are the real thing! Sending You truck loads of Love from London! I’m super excited about seeing You in March! I also teach Yoga & A Course in Miracles, and this is my tip for dealing with the family members:

    #4 ‘Observing myself throughout the years and analyzing how my mind works, I came up with what I call the ‘100 years’ exercise. I noticed that my mind finds it difficult to commit to forgiveness and acceptance for the eternity, as the little voice of ego sometimes says ‘Why should I forgive that person and be peaceful?’. To trick the mind, I say to myself ‘OK, I will forgive that person only for another 50 years or so’. Actually, half of the century is more or less what most of us have. Put in this perspective of time, the 100 year exercise tricks the mind and opens the heart to forgiveness. I find this exercise enormously useful, especially when it comes to dealing with the family members. Realizing that we and others are not going to hang around on this Earth forever makes You less annoyed and more appreciative of others.’

    http://elizabethananda.com/blog/2014/12/16/when-someone-is-pissing-you-off-despite-youre-a-yogi-top5/

    I belong to You,
    Elizabeth Ananda
    http://www.elizabethananda.com

  14. Here’s what I have found and it is extremely hard to do, but with some practice it comes more naturally and faster. If a person makes a *decision* not to have buttons pushed, that is an extremely helpful tool. Now I know the button can get pushed without warning, however, if you know you are going to be around the button pusher, pray to remember your decision in advance. Perhaps we could even reframe this as the boundary you are talking about creating…yes…I think that might be a good fit. Let the boundary you create be the decision not to let them push your button, and not to let them steal your joy! We love you Gabby…and don’t beat yourself up-as you always say, we teach what we need to learn! You’re a princess too! 🙂

  15. Thank you for creating a vlog with so much honesty, vulnerability and raw emotion. Weekly I enjoy your words of wisdom, but to witness your reaction to a real life situation so purely allows me (and all your spirit junkies) to connect to your vlogs more deeply. We are all in this crazy, beautiful thing called life together:) Much love!

  16. My father became an achololic, my brother incarcerated, my aunt in ICU, my cousin an addict, lost my fiancé to online Russian bride site(cheating), my mother to mental illness and my best friend to betral. All I can say is god has pruned me in 2014, these relationships where toxic and ripped away. In the midst of this I was expected to hold the family together, I cannot give where addiction is concerned. This post affirmed my boundaries are straight. I’m ready for healing and growth. I have grieved enough for months. I love you and your work!!! Right on sista!! ????

    1. Or try ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics & Dysfunctional Families)- it’s 12-step and it’s great- it goes really deep. I go!!

  17. thank you so much for sharing this and for always being real! no matter how calm or evolved i think i am, my family, who i am incredibly close with, can pull me to crazytown in an instant. i often refer back to your words that this is a moment to moment lifelong practice. thank you. xo

  18. Wow I think you were reading my mind! I just happened to click on your email this morning & watched the video. Today I am attending the funeral of my beautiful grandmother. It has been a very hard time because of family drama. Including that my father did not call my brother or I to tell us that they didn’t expect her to live much longer or that she had passed. I found out that she passed because I was on my way to visit her. And another family member thought I should know before I got there. It was very hurtful I didn’t get to say goodbye. So today I have to face my father and the woman he is married to (who stole lots of money from my grandmother while she was alive). Just an overall bad situation! But your video made me feel SOOOO much better! I can honor her beautiful life by my actions & not the actions of others. Thank you for being so real & open! Love ya Gabby!

  19. Update to my previous post to you- Thank you so much for this vlog. It has helped me handle my crazy town this season. I followed the steps, I set the boundaries and it works. Ok so everyone looked at me like I was some bipolar crazy woman. But after they got over the shock they followed the boundaries. This might be my first almost sane holiday in years. Thank you so much. I wish you the best holiday and that things get better for you also.

  20. OMG! This really hit my annual situation with my Millionare Sister and our gift giving exchange! First I am on a fixed income SS disability, another story. Every year my Sister calls several weeks ahead of time to remind me of her daughters (my nieces and her husband) Birthdays . These young collage grads/masters have absolutly everything! My sister is VERY WEALTHY!!! They both just got new cars from Mommy and Daddy at 22 & 26, GREAT! However, she EXPECTS me to spend a certain amount of money every year on gifts, tells me what to get, or will buy gifts for her family and ask for rembursmentm then put my name on packages I dont even know what I have paid for? She say’s I never get anything they like with my own selections, its best shejust do my shopping for them! Well, I believe 1st I dont need an annual reminder, I am on a budget, I like the idea of choosing something I put thought into from my heart….. I have had this conversation with her for about 10 years and she STILL behaves this way with these unreasonable expectations on my pocketbook! It takes the fun out of every Birthday and Holiday gift giving. Im SOOOO F$%KING done with this insanity. It’s gotten to the point that last year my niece went back to Collage and left my gift (A Deepak Chopra Cookbook, said she was vegitarian) on the coffee table along with a pair of fun holiday stockings! They are spoiled beyond belief and as a result of keeping up with buying her family presents, including my brother in law, my sister, the girls long time boyfriends, I cant afford to get my Sons anything nice! When I bring it up she say’s ‘F$%K you and hangs up on ey. Evert year after the Holidays they leave for Brazil, Argentina, Maui and Palm Desert for their annual 4 month vacation and I cant pay my shop rent! What is one to do. She is the only family I have left and I dont want to cause any annomosity between us, but it is REALLY pissing me off. Broke and choking in Calif. The sun aint shinning here!!! Karena

  21. Thank you Gabby for keeping it real. Family drama is a big one for me. I know there are many issues I still haven’t dealt with that has brought me to a place of guilt and occassional unhappiness. Working with/for family was a big part of my life for 2 decades and I’ve walked away these past couple of years only to be asked to come back and give it another go because, and I quote, “Jennifer, you are the only one who can run this business”. Words I never thought I’d hear finally comes but so late and I’m so happy mentally and emotionally that I’m so fearful of going back. I’ve taken such a financial risk leaving the family business but my mind and spirit feels free for the first time in over twenty years. Of course, I’m not able to turn my back on them. Healthy boundaries is what I will meditate on. Miracles Now told me tonight to take one thing and make that a habit for 40 days and let the Universe guide me. I shall do just that.

  22. Stop it! This is so perfect I had a major meltdown last night and I honestly feel like I am losing my shit around my in laws, and pretty much all the time. The holidays make it 20 xs worse for some reason and unfortunately it’s been like this for so long. The F word and I have a very hot and cold relationship… thanks for keeping it real sister! Xoxo

  23. Gabby:) Thank you so much for being REAL!!!! It’s a load off my mind knowing that “hey…it’s ok to freak out sometimes and NOT worry about it!!!!”
    Forgiveness always whispers in the heart…even if you don’t know it yet:)

  24. Hi Gabby, I feel like my whole family is having meltdowns. Everyone is taking turns. I put down a boundary tonight with my daughter (she’s an adult),not sure how she’s taking it. I haven’t done this with anyone in a longtime. But I so get your point about family pushing buttons.This is new and scary for me.

  25. I love love love that you vlog about real, open honest stuff going on in your life. Your vulverability is contagious. Makes me want to open up and let the real, honest goodness shines on. Thank you!!!

  26. Oh…boundaries…I hear ya sistah! Something I am working on in my daily life. Not easy, but so important. The losing my shit part doesn’t work so well for me, I am trying to go with cooling off, honesty and restriction…sounds like a contradiction, but trying to find the balance…thanks for sharing and connecting:) xxoo

  27. Gabby, I literally cracked up watching this and reached a new level of personal enlightenment. THANK YOU!!! It’s so beautiful to see how grounded you were, even amidst “losing your shit.” You really are such a genuine soulful individual and you have inspired me with newfound support to know how to tackle my own family dramas if/when they come up. Sending you sassy sexy vibes and thanks again for the vlog! 😀

  28. Perfect timing, thank you. This time of year can get so difficult with expectations and feeling like we have to deal with someone or a situation simply because it is the holidays and it is family. Great advice! I will definitely become more aware of those boundaries I need to adjust or add.

  29. Hi Gabby, it’s actually kind of cute watching you in the heat of the moment. I feel the same way as you do towards my mother this holiday season….she can be sooooo manipulative – I often pray she will move interstate, it worked with my sister! (Praying she will move interstate that is – she did!) Yay!

    Looking forward to your event in Melbourne, Australia in January.

  30. OK. So, I wanted to add to my earlier comment that I stumbled onto another video via Oprah.com about family drama. Elizabeth Gilbert was speaking and I thought, “OK, If there is a third video that God sends me then I needed to hear this today. I have had some HUGE family drama this year in 2014. My mom and dad were abusive to me and I cut off contact because I was depressed. So, today I watched this on Gabby’s sight and then I found Oprah’s. Guess what? Bishop TD James was a video that played after Elizabeth Gilbert and he was talking about family drama too! So, I have been doing what Gabby advices. Say a prayer of gratitude for guidance given and ask for guidance each day (I hope I have that right. I am new to my spiritual path.) Well, I am also always asking God which direction he wants me to take my life, to work through my thoughts, emotions, and deeds. And I saw THREE videos for this today. So, I went for a walk and I allowed myself to feel anger and lose my shit. I thought of this vlog today as I have went through my day. I obviously needed to hear this advice today! Just thought I should update everyone!

  31. This was by far my favorite of your vlogs. Your openness and honesty and your ability to laugh and be in the frustration was perfect. I had a melt down last night and was thinking how I’d like to share mine on my vlog as well. Well done.

  32. This is soooo very timely. Thank you. My family keeps heavy handing trying to dictating my life (i’m 51) and boundries are what I am working on it 2015, I guess, really 2014. Sending you and others here good energy on your family issues as I plow head first into mine. Happy Holidays.

  33. Thanks for this Gabby! My parents have been married for almost 39 years and my dad left my mom a few months ago. I am 6 months pregnant and have been doing everything I can to stay out of he drama and create boundaries. I sometimes get sucked in and then realize it – it’s a constant dance. I’m excited to look for the lesson when it becomes available. I know there is some greater reason this is happening now.. I’m still stuck in the anger a bit but I know I will get to forgiveness. Happy Holidays! Many blessings to you and your family!

  34. Hi Gabbie

    I love your work and your honesty I recently had a family crisis, but a wise person gave me advice any months ago. Just let go and let god. Only love us real so no matter what the behaviour just let it be this too will pass. It really works for me now. I breath keep calm and when the mud slinging stops then chose to communicate. Always look beyond the behaviour and forgive five sensory actions. My family drama thankfully is resolving and a work in progress. Hope yours is too.

    Keep up the great work love and light

    Angela Hartlepool United Kingdom xx:)

  35. Sat Nam dear Gabby! Thank You thank you for being so real and honest!
    I really admire your authenticity and learning it from u, every day! Its Big to be wide open and vulnerable but its the only way to be your Self from the heart and let the healing step in. Thank You for all u do!
    In my case with family, i use this E.Gilbert munk adivce” its our obligation to love everybody, but some people we have to love from the Safe distant”
    Blessings!

  36. Yesterday(12/14) was my 44th birthday and I promised myself with this new year and new age I will work on setting boundaries with my sisters (my older one in particular). Your message was just what I needed today! Thank you, Gabby!

  37. One of your most beautiful gifts is being real, and honest and showing people how to flow through life as it’s happening. Truly beautiful! Thank you Gabby! 🙂

  38. Wonderful ideas. I have been struggle with issues with mother. I understand she has some medical ailments, all she EVER does is complain and whine about her “problems”, which in the big scheme of things is simply aches and pains of getting older to most other folks. She REFUSES to listen to anyone’s suggestions as we are always wrong but ironically her doctor tells her the same things that we do but then she still doesn’t listen to them anyway. It has gotten to the point that if her guilt trips don’t work or you don’t agree with her she gets angry with you and stops talking to you. I am struggling with how to handle this, I feel that my relationship with her these days is almost toxic – every time I talk to her, no matter how careful I am to not disagree with her and hide my true thoughts and opinions, she ends up getting angry and upset and hangs up in tears. I often think it is kinder for her (and myself honestly) to not have much of a relationship with her and then I feel like a terrible person because she is my mother after all. Gotta love family LOL

  39. Wow Gabby, it’s so brave of you to put yourself out there!! Kudos! You really preach what you teach, inspiring us all the while.
    You’re aAmazing <3
    Many thanks & sending much love from Paris, France xxx

  40. Your vlog intrigued me just because it mentioned the word DRAMA. I don’t have too much drama within my family, but I do have a friend and a boyfriend who know how to push my buttons. I will definitely try to practice and keep in the mind the setting boundaries. Thanks so much Gabby!!

  41. yep, beyond timely! I wish I could skip the first step of reaction but I actually love this vlog because you say it’s natural and needed and part of it and it is not wrong! Cool!

  42. Thank you, Gabby, for this blog….it could not have had a better timing!
    Little recap:
    Last night:
    Step 1: Lost my shit
    I told my husband his family tree is full of nuts.

    Step two: Creating healthy boundaries
    I stated all I want from them is a piece of consideration and thoughtfulness, therefore if I get any presents from his family, it will be thrown away.

    (ok, not that healthy…I will work on that one a bit)

    Step three: Forgiveness
    Absolutely…I am refusing to poison myself with negativity.
    P.S. Although…at this point…it’s wishful thinking.

  43. Gabby – what about family drama that has dragged into long-term problems? My sister and I just cannot seem to get along, anything that goes wrong in her life somehow is my fault so she will go on year-long stretches where she will give me the silent treatment when things don’t go her way [she’s been doing this to me since high school and she’s now 27]. It is a behavior that is making it impossible for my family to do anything together, she will literally walk into me and pretend i’m not in the room, but my parents have always refused to do anything because they say it’s my problem. I will certainly admit I haven’t always behaved impeccably, it’s very difficult not to blow up when treated this way, but the only way to pacify this family drama is if I literally beg for her forgiveness, when I didn’t even do anything wrong. I know I’m supposed to be trying to forgive this behavior; I know it’s the result of my sister’s own issues, and likely has nothing to do with me. But I cannot stand always having to be the adult in my family and take responsibility for a problem I am not responsible for. In addition to that, I’m furious with my parents for never parenting my sister and enabling her bad behavior because they are afraid she will stop talking to them too. They’ve put this problem 100% on my shoulders and take no responsibility or action; I’m the youngest member of our family! How is that right?!! What else can I do? I’m at a loss. I’m dreading going home for the holidays and I feel like I don’t have a family anymore.

    1. I feel the same way but it is with my younger sister. It is hard to walk on egg shells all the time around people like that. Stay strong

  44. Thank you SO much for this Gabby – I need to solve a big problem with my family and this advice is perfectly timed. I feel the need to release 🙂

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas (I’m from the UK!),

    Sat nam,

    Catherine x

  45. I just want to thank you for sharing, especially when the feelings are so fresh. It’s easy to see our mistakes looking back long after we’ve cooled down but by taking a moment when feeling the angst might guide us to prevent making a bad situation worse.

  46. Thanks for the “for reals” and necessary advice! I’m 8 of 9 kids, almost 50 years old and the family drama has definitely thrown me right out of my dharma! Especially after my brothers tragic suicide 5 years ago. I love what you said about boundaries…” It’s ok If you go there but I may not be able to support you.” A long, painful and powerful lesson learned with my big, beautiful, crazy ass family!! We put the fun in disfunction 🙂 After some very painful years and melt downs of my own. I no longer feel responsible or try to fix relationships with-in the family. I am love – peace – forgiveness and I choose my dharma over drama!
    Namaste and Endless Blessings 😉

  47. So great to see someone I look up to (Gabby) actually struggle and have to focus on walking their talk. Thanks Gabby for showing us that even you have to coach yourself into a healthier mindset, that it takes conscious awareness and EFFORT.

  48. wow — i’m right there with you …. overwhelming at times….try so hard and then it gets misinterpreted. hard to know when to keep going or to stop and stopping feels unfinished — communication is difficult via english language, our feelings are not transmitted with the words….so easy for the duality to twist and turn communication in unwanted directions….i feel better now…..thanks so much Gabby…appreciate the work you do 😉

  49. Hi Gabby,

    I also had a bit of a family drama yesterday with my dad.
    Instead of listening to what he was saying I found myself in a defense position which led to a bit of an argument between me and my dad.

    I forgave my dad and myself
    I am sure that the situation with your family is going to calm down and I wish you all the best!

  50. Dude, I fucking love that you are human and you aren’t afraid to show it. Thank you for this down to earth example of how to talk the talk and walk the walk. It’s so encouraging!
    Thanks, Gabby! I am visiting my family for the first time in 4 years for Christmas so I will be remembering these and staying my power and a space of forgiveness and love!

  51. Just lightned my candles and asking for help to my guardian angels with a family situation with my cousin. When I picked up my phone to call her, your email popped up… And I couldn’t stop smili g. Wow… You know how to connect. You even reached me perfectly timed in The Netherlands. Thank you Gaby, thank you angels 🙂

  52. I was excited to see this and how I can take steps to resolving my own family drama. Gabby, thank you for the advice. I needed to know that I was doing the right thing in 1. Releasing my feelings. 2. Creating healthy boundries. 3 Forgiving the situation. These are the steps I have been taking and now I can continue forgiving it!

  53. Wow! Gabby, I loved this! It was so raw and real. I loved seeing you in it, owning it, and then having the courage to share it with the world. I guess I tend to put you on a pedestal, so it comforted me to know that even you, someone who has created such a happy and healthy life for herself, still has “shit”. It gave me inspiration to share my vulnerabilities and “shit” with the world with confidence and ease. So thanks for sharing this and revealing yet another side of yourself.

    With love,
    Sarah

  54. Yes, SO timely. I am having such a hard time with my sister. She tactlessly bailed on my family for Thanksgiving (yes, we all need to have our own holidays sometimes, but it doesn’t need to be hurtful) and has now hijacked Christmas Eve. I barely want to go, but I do want to see my family. I love her, I really do, but I can barely tolerate being in the same room right now.
    Blah!

  55. Gabby_Dear Gabby_ I just love what you offer and am so grateful for the integrity of your messages. Of course we love our families, and yes they are our biggest teachers. Sending big Blessing of Love and Joy..

  56. Loved this! My husband and I just watched your video as we are going through some very typical drama with his ex involving his children. After your first step, “Lose your shit.” He turned to me and said,”No wonder you love her!” You’re so honest and true!
    Thanks for the easy steps to work through the crap that enters into our lives at times. You have been one of my biggest blessings in 2014 🙂
    Happy Holidays!

  57. First- all this provided a great teaching moment for you and a great connecting/learning moment for all your readers and “virtual support community.” So, all is good.
    Second – (and total disclaimer: this is by far the cheeziest phrase in my repertoire) because when I’ve had a falling out with someone I’m trying to flood love and light into whatever chasm has been created, I don’t like to use the word “boundaries,” as it sounds so finite to me. Instead, I use “love bumpers.” I don’t say it out loud as it’s just too silly sounding, but in my head I just imagine perimeters based on love for myself and for whomever is being a jackass at the moment (or so is perceived).
    Hope all feels better soon and again, thanks so much for this timely lesson in handling family conflicts. xo, SA

  58. I just wanted to say “THANK YOU” for being so real. The fact that even with your increasing recognition and popularity you still put yourself out there, allow yourself to be vulnerable, and “walk the talk” makes me continue to love and appreciate you. Sending you love and wishes of peace and light this holiday season. Namaste.

    1. I totally agree with this!! Thank you so much for being so real and showing no matter how far along you are on your spiritual path, we are all still “human” 🙂

  59. Yup. LMS too :). Created space and set some boundaries ( that are in-part being followed and sent my sincere apologies. Now I need to forgive myself as it’s still lingering! Great post!!! Hope you feel better soon.

  60. totally happening right now! Omg! 21 years sober and the same dynamic is still there!!!! I am willing to be willing to forgive. But that’s it right now!

    1. It could be a few things.
      – your guides saying … “this is for you sister.”
      – an opening of your crown chakra – when you crack open to truth.
      – a clearing…

      embrace it and stay open and receptive to the guidance you receive.

  61. Have I ever told you that I love you? Thank you for your authenticity, love, light and wisdom you continuously keep spreading while actually being such a “real” person. I came accross your latest book in a pivotal point in my life and since then I feel like stepping into a new chapter of my becoming and awakening. So thank you for being you and sharing you with the rest of us!
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    Have a blessed Winter Holidays Season!
    Elena

  62. Thank you for this perfectly timed vlog, Gabby! I’ve recently left my husband for reasons of spiritual growth that have proven incompatible in the home of negative behavior patterns. I am now a single mother navigating this world with my wonderful special needs daughter. As a temporary support I moved in with my Grandparents. The race relations in the house have pushed me beyond all comfort zones. You’ve reminded me that the desire to forgive can bring peace, and will manifest results through diligence. Thank you for sharing your love & light. Blessings to you, dear one.

  63. Thanks so much for this, timely indeed! It seems like every year I have a terrible depression after the holidays from trying to “keep it together” while I’m visiting, or from trying to truly process the raging dysfunction within my family. Since developing my spiritual practice I have set firm boundaries with certain people in the past year and am glad I did, it’s helped me tremendously; and hopefully these tips (and all of the other great stuff you’re teaching/ I’m learning) will help stave off some of that post holiday melancholia.

  64. Thank you for sharing your experience “in the raw!” Your style has really enriched my experience with The Course, and your consistent willingness to be seen throughout your process really illustrates your embodiment of the course. Refreshing and empowering! Such love & gratitude!

  65. Thank you for your timely sharing. After spending time with family this past weekend. Help me by teaching me tools to stop being their victim!! They have had many years of practice & I ready to get off the victim train!!
    Already dreading seeing them again on Christmas.

  66. Gabby, I have to tell you how much I appreciate this vlog. I have long admired you but sometimes felt your message was inaccessible for me because of how often I “lose my shit” and I didn’t think that was compatible with the kind of life you live. In some way I needed to see that you are not always in state of calm and bliss to accept my own neuroticism and believe that I can still make progress. Thank you so much for your candor.

      1. Universe is in alignment for me and your vlog today… lost my shit w/ my sisters this weekend…. old stuff resurfacing once again. What really stuck for me is my recovery / comeback rate was so much faster now that I am working on LOVE rather than FEAR…. I let it go so much faster after I lost my shit…. I also forgave myself for gossiping to my husband about my experience with my sisters. I am relieved to know that it’s ok to get upset, let my feelings out because I’ve been working so hard on developing inner peace through viewing beauty and love. I almost felt like I had taken 20 steps back this weekend because of “family” issues… but feel ok knowing that I can get upset or angry, have a melt down but that I can bounce back so much faster to the state that I want to be in… I did not like the feeling of negative energy and wanted my positive peaceful energy back so badly… I realize now that I AM making progress because I can recover faster now… Thank you for your words today… I so needed to hear this… LOVE your work and so grateful for finding you and your messages which have changed my life… you have helped me find the road map that I’ve been seeking for so many years….

      2. Aaahh…Relief. I love that you lose your shit daily. What a beautiful gift you have given at this time of the year. Thanks your vulnerability and for sharing the tools. It allows me to fully embrace my humanness and positively deal with it. I love this advice Gabby.

  67. Thank you thank you, Gabby! I recently lost my shit after dealing with someone’s anger for the previous two months and am relieved to hear that that didn’t mean I was falling off the path 🙂 forgiveness is my guide!!

  68. Wow, what a timely message! After a weekend of true family strife.. I absolutely “lost my shit” on Saturday.. the day before my birthday! I am in a very difficult, no win, kind of family situation where all I can do is hold space, create boundaries, lose my shit.. and repeat. Its nice to know I’m not alone.

  69. You always share exactly what I need to hear. I have recently been struggling with my relationship with my grandmother. I grew up being very close to her, but lately she is always making me feel like I am not living up to her expectations. We get into arguments fairly frequently and I hate that, because I love her and I don’t want to be fighting with her. it’s difficult when she won’t hear me, though. But, she came to visit yesterday and as soon as her car pulled into the driveway I set an intention that I would forgive, let go of our past arguments, and just love her. I knew she wasn’t intentionally trying to hurt me. And…in 5 years, will it matter if I “won” an argument OR that I got to spend time with someone I love. We had the best visit we’ve had in a while. I just needed to come back to a place of love and not let my ego push me into an argument…something you’ve taught me to do. Thank you for everything Gabby!

    Oh and I got one of our spirit junkie shirts for my mom for Christmas. Can’t wait to give it to her!!!! I’ll send you a pic when I do 🙂 Have a great day! xoxo

  70. Thanks for this Gabby! I’m a bit nervous about this holiday season because my boyfriend and I aren’t going home to visit our families and I’m not sure how are dealing with it. On top of that, it means it’s just us two this Christmas, so no one else is around to diffuse any tension that may arise. These tips totally help! Thank you!! xxoo Ritu

      1. Thanks for speaking about your struggle. I have trying to do the work about making myself a happier person and this had led me to face severe trauma I suffered as a child. This mean addressing topics that are not pleasant to a lot of people in family. They don’t like this because, I have never addressed these issues and it seems that, they feel entitled to know; when that isn’t true. it’s nice to know that others are struggling with creating boundaries. Thanks for insight!

  71. I always had a difficult relationship with my dad’s wife. I’ve done a lot of forgiveness work but I still feel a lot of resentment when I think about her. When I think I’m almost done with the forgiveness process … more stuff come up. I had to learn to stand up for myself and put healthy boundaries. I’m grateful to have her in my life so I can learn all these lessons. I will keep forgiving her so I can be free.

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