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Are you between two fires in the family? Here's how to manage it

Are you between two fires in the family? Here's how to manage it

Sustained family drama can be devastating, especially if you're in the middle of two or more fires.

If you find yourself stepping into the role of mediator it becomes even more difficult.

You're probably doing it with the best of intentions—after all, who doesn't want to help their family get along?

But this comes at a cost.

Counseling Directorate member Rebeça Vivash says: "Being a family mediator can be a way to protect yourself from being a direct target of criticism. The problem here is that being a mediator will likely involve hearing some unfavorable comments from both sides. You may also find yourself being hyper-vigilant about your communication in case you inadvertently say something that could be interpreted as sidelining one side."

Relinquishing the role of "middleman" may lead you to fear that you will lose the value you have gained, or even worse, that the situation may degrade.

But how can you make family life easier to manage? As in many cases, the answer revolves around boundaries.

The first thing you should always do is take care of your well-being.

You can hear both sides of the story, but you need to create some clear boundaries for yourself.

You should first try to support, rather than fix.

"Set realistic expectations for the solution", advises the expert. "More often than not, time and space is needed for both sides to reflect. Some problems can take years to resolve. This is normal. Offer an empathetic ear without trying to send messages all the time.

And finally, don't forget: It's never a shame to walk away from the fire. It is also your right to calm down.