Starting a Difficult Conversation

Have you been putting off having a difficult conversation with a loved one or family member? Have you tried to start a conversation, only to have it go off the rails?  Conversations can be hard when the relationship matters.  Many people try to avoid tough talks because they are afraid of negative reactions.  It can be even more awkward if your loved one hasn’t noticed or admitted that they are going through changes.

There are things you can do to break the ice and make it easier to talk about what’s on your mind.  Remember, you don’t have to talk about everything in one sitting.  This is just a starting point.

When you feel it’s time to start having ‘the talk’ you should be clear about what you want to get out of it in the end.  It’s important to manage any emotions the conversation might trigger.  It will be better if you’re clear about what your intentions are. It’s better to go into the conversation with an open mind.

Although this information can apply to a number of situations, We Have To Talk: A Step-by-Step Checklist For Difficult Conversations can help you stay focused and figure out what you need to say and how you need to say it.

Caregiver Tips

If you want to be in this for the long haul then you, your loved one, and other family members need to work together to maintain everyone’s relationship and quality of life. 

An honest and open discussion is the best way to know what things need to be put in place to keep everyone happy, safe, and feeling respected. Even though these conversations are difficult, once you start having them the easier they will be, especially when things change again. 

The 50/50 Rule: Helping Siblings Overcome Conflict While Caring for Aging Parents, may help you with family relationships at this stressful and frightening time.  Do You Resent Your Siblings For Not Helping You Care Give? may be helpful as well.

Did you know that most caregivers subconsciously develop the habit of holding their breath or rarely breathing deeply?  This short video may help you better understand what happens to your body when you are not fully accessing your breath.  Although the instructor is talking about dementia caregiving, this principle applies to ALL caregivers.  Related comments begin at the 5:50 mark. 

To access your full breath, try this 5-minute exercise.  If you are going to start a new habit, this is a good one!