Let’s learn to disagree

29 June 2016

The chances are that within your family – like in mine – people voted differently in the EU referendum and now the dust is beginning to settle the blame game has started.

Of course, the ‘in’ or ‘out’ vote is not the only time our families will have taken different sides. Relate relationship counsellor Arabella Russell has some helpful thoughts for all such occasions. She says:

“Once the result is out it’s really important, if you’re going to heal a relationship, to be able to talk about what happened and how you both ended up feeling, rather than accusing one another of ‘making me feel like this’.

“If you don’t and you just bury it, that seething resentment, whether it’s in the workplace or a relationship, or between generations, isn’t going to stop.

“There might be an element of apology on both sides. As we’ve got closer to the referendum and there’s been more pressure building up, it’s all got very personal – it hasn’t just been about politics. The first thing is admit your own mistakes. So, ‘Maybe I should have dealt with this differently’, or ‘Maybe it shouldn’t have got personal.’

“What there mustn’t be, and this is absolutely crucial, is any element of ‘Well, I’ve won, that’s great, I was right.’ If you take that attitude it’s only going to be more damaging. This isn’t a decision you’ve taken – it’s the country’s decision.

“Of course the vote matters, but what matters more is your relationship with that person.

“What’s really crucial is that accepting you have different views to someone is really hard. We want people to hold our view, not just because we want to be right, but because we feel quite uncomfortable if we don’t. We feel we can’t be compatible.

“But you can have differences of opinion; it can be dealt with. You can acknowledge it and accept it and agree to differ. Sometimes that’s really important.

“Personal insults are hard to come back from, though it’s not impossible.

“We should not be afraid of difference, or of disagreeing. We shouldn’t always want to bring someone over to our point of view, whether that’s on how to load the dishwasher or whether we should leave the EU.

“If we were all carbon copies of each other, how boring would that be?”

If you’d like to discuss family disputes with one of our counsellors give our friendly appointments team a call on 01234 356350.


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)