5 Ways To Deal With Unsupportive Family Members

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5 Ways To Deal With Unsupportive Family Members

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Hi there! I'm Giorgia, a mindset coach + healer on a mission to help you heal self-sabotage, so you can build a wildly profitable business from your passions.

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unsupportive family members

How do you deal with unsupportive family members who think you’re crazy for starting your business and discourage you with failure stories?

“You can’t quit your job to start your own business. What if you fail and end up homeless?”

“I’m glad you’re enjoying your hobbies, honey, but don’t let them distract you from the important things in life, like climbing up the corporate ladder and buying a house.”

“How the heck can you make money following your passion? Get real and get a proper job.”

I’ve got all this and worse when I proudly announced to my family I was moving to London to become a freelance writer. No one believed I would have the guts to do it. Or that I would actually succeed. Heck, for a long time I didn’t believe it either.

How can you believe in your dreams when the people who know and love you the most don’t believe in them?

Why You’re Dealing With Unsupportive Family Members

Before we continue, I want to stress something: your family members are wonderful people and they love you very much. Their lack of support is their way to keep you safe.

They know that, if you decide to build your business, get more visible, write a book, you may fail. You may be criticised. You may get hurt and disappointed. They don’t want that for you.

Once I realised that, I stopped being angry and frustrated with my family and friends, and started looking for ways to enrol them in my vision.

Here are a few strategies to deal with unsupportive family members (and anyone else who doesn’t approve of your dreams):

cafe interior

1. Share Your Why With Unsupportive Family Members

When you decide to build your dream business and carve a different path for yourself, you will change. And that’s unsettling for people.

Remember that your loved ones are used to you being a certain way. If all of a sudden, you start acting in a different way than what they’re used to, they may act out of fear of losing the “old” you they know and love. 

They may be scared that, as you grow and evolve, you may leave them behind and forget about them. They may even feel rejected. If, for example, you’re the first one in your family to start your own business, they may fear you’re criticising the way they’ve been living their life and everything they taught you.

The antidote to fear is vision. Let them know why this is so important to you. Maybe you want to start a business so you can be better able to provide for your family. Or you’ve quit your job to work from home so you can have a flexible schedule and spend more time with them.

People are more likely to get on board with your dream if they understand why you’re doing it – and understand how it’ll benefit them, too.

TAKE ACTION NOW:

Listen to what your family and friends have to say and then, instead of attacking them or defending your choice, simply explain to them why you made it.



woman working at a cafe

2. It’s Their Issue. Not Yours.

The hurtful things people tell you say more about them than about you.

When I told my family I wanted to become a freelance writer, they didn’t understand why I wanted to give up the security of a steady paycheck. My family values safety, security, comfort. They can’t handle the anxiety of not knowing exactly how much they will make every month. That’s their issue. Not mine. I knew I could handle the uncertainty, even if everyone around me thought I was crazy.

When someone criticises you, it’s rarely personal. They’re expressing their own insecurities, fears, and anxieties – and they’ve got nothing to do with you.

The exception? If someone has been there and done that, listen. If you want to start a business like you dad and he tells you your business plan isn’t viable, listen to him. He’s talking from personal experience, not fear. 

P.S. That doesn’t mean you should quit your plan to start your business. Listen and implement the feedback you get so you can actually succeed.

TAKE ACTION NOW:

When unsupportive family members tell you something isn’t possible for you, thank them for their concern and remind them you can deal with it. You’re a big girl now and you know what you’re doing.

Related: 3 Non-Scary Ways To Overcome The Fear Of Rejection

how to deal with unsupportive family 03

3. Show, Don’t Tell

Actions speak louder than words. If talking about your dreams doesn’t get your unsupportive family members on board, show them.

As long as I was telling people I wanted to move to London and be a freelance writer, all I got was an endless stream of failure stories and potential problems to discourage me from taking action on it.

But once I was in London and making money from freelance writing, they all changed their tune. All of a sudden, they all swore they always believed in me.

TAKE ACTION NOW:

How can you show your unsupportive family members that you have what it takes to succeed? Maybe you can invite your loved ones to an event you’re hosting. Share the link to a guest post you’ve written. Show them your Youtube channel. Read them the testimonials your clients have left you.

People are often scared of what they don’t know. Getting them involved in what you’re doing helps them understand your choice and get excited about it.

P.S. Don’t get disappointed if people decline your invite. They’ll get around in their own time.

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4. Tell Your Dreams Only To Those Who Will Support You

As a multi-passionate entrepreneur, I’ve always had more dreams than I could turn into reality. At first, I’d enthusiastically share them with everyone around me. It didn’t take me long to realise it was a bad idea.

Most people can only see the negatives. “That’s a cool idea, Giorgia, but be realistic. You’re not rich/talented/educated/whatever enough to make it happen.”

I know this tells a lot more about them and how they see the world than me and my abilities to make my dreams come true. But I wouldn’t be human if the constant negativity didn’t get to me sometimes – especially when it comes to family members who should support you no matter what.

It’s futile to tell them to be less negative (trust me, I’ve tried). So, now, I just don’t tell them about my goals. I share my dreams only with the few people who I know will support and encourage me in my decision.

If I reach my goal, the critics are pleasantly surprised (and swear they knew I’d make it all along). If I don’t, they never have to know. 🙂

FYI, this doesn’t mean they never criticise me. If someone truly loves you and supports you, they won’t hesitate to give you constructive feedback. 

how to deal with unsupportive family 05

5. Cut Unsupportive Family Members Loose (Only As Last Resort!)

Most people are unsupportive simply because that’s how they were raised. Growing up, no one ever encouraged them to follow their dreams. It was too risky. 

That’s how they view the world now. That “too risky” has become their reality. If they don’t support you, it’s because they love you so much, they want to protect you from pain and failure. You don’t need to tell them your dreams until you’ve made them come true, but you do need them in your life.

It’s when your family members are abusive that you need to cut them out of your life. No one should ever tolerate toxic, abusive behaviour from anyone, let alone family members.

If their words or behaviours are badly affecting your mental and/or physical health, you have the right to protect yourself. Letting them go is hard, but staying is harder and will cost you the life you’ve always dreamed of.

Wrapping It Up

99% of the time, unsupportive family members don’t understand why you’re risking failure and disappointment to chase a dream. But when you take the time to involve them in your journey and share your why, they often come around. It’s only when they’re abusive that you need to cut them out of your life.

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I'm Giorgia, mindset coach and healer on a mission to help you heal self-sabotage, so you can finally reach the big biz + income goals that have eluded you up until now.

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