Sunday, 9 May 2010

How to Stop Relatives Meddling in your Personal Affairs?

Every family has a few of these types, those who stake their right to every bit of information! They are the eager beavers or the frequent busybodies present almost in every family. Many a times these intrusive individuals are not overly concerned because they are altruistic or want to see harmony in the family; it is usually because they are meddlers.
Believe it or not, some relatives get a thrill out of meddling in your personal affairs. This seems to give them some sort of joy for the moment. It can even turn into gossip where the whole family has a gossip line going about, you from Auckland to California.
Don’t get me wrong. Family can be one of life's greatest blessings when they are supportive, understanding and caring. However, there are times, when some of your relatives cross the line of caring to enter the zone of meddling, it is no longer a blessing, it usually feels more like a curse. Your relatives may have an irresistible urge to expound some of their wisdom to "help" your situation. The counsel or advice quickly turns into a meddling in your affairs. So-called concerned relatives may feel the need to dabble into situations in your life that they have nothing to do with; neither do they have any control over it nor any real interest in resolving it albeit get a thrill out of it.
Often people make the mistake of succumbing to the outwardly friendly approach of these busy bodies and succumb to their wily ways for the purpose of being liked. By the time they realize, it is too late as they may have established habits and practices that are not only irritating, but also interfering.
It's a fact in most extended families’, relatives feel they have a right to all information and assume an active central role. The thought is that since you are related, you should share every intimate detail of your life with each other, and give commentary and suggestions. In large families, this takes the form of gossip about other family members providing entertainment value.
But why does this happen? It probably emerges from the early impressions that people form with respect to the members of the family. The early impression we all had in their minds about us boxes us into a stereotype. Some of us were average, some bright, some lucky, some underachievers and some of us were even the black sheep. Whatever the stereotype in your family of origin, chances are that those notions have continued. Meanwhile you might have moved on in life and probably shaping yourself for better things but if that is at odds with those early impressions, it gives enough reasons for them to discredit you.
As you begin to get ahead and show the new you, some of your family members will feel uncomfortable. They will not know how to deal with you, the way you are now, so inevitably, they will try to push you back into the stereotype role you had before or start malicious campaign against you.
Just as in the childhood game of reling messages on an imaginary "Telephone," the story changes as it's passed between family members and ends up as garbled. You, as a member of this family, fall into two categories; you either feel your life is an open book or you choose to have certain aspects of your life private. So what do you do if you fall into the latter category? The more you try to retain your privacy, the harder they will work to pry information from you or gang up to annoy you.
One must set limits with them and its never too late to do this, because the longer they are allowed to interfere, the greater the influence these meddling types will have on your relationships with others. It is important to speak up when asked to do or say something with which you do not agree. Do not sacrifice your opinions or what you know to be right simply for the sake of getting along with your relatives. When they do something you do not like, tell them in a civilized manner what they did and why it upsets you. Try and be conciliatory by explaining what is acceptable, but again, not at the expense of your beliefs or self-esteem. If you have reconnected with any of the family member, be on alert. Old patterns will most likely remain in waiting to thrust you into the same old position.
With this said keep in mind that you have to do what is best for yourself, regardless of how your family may respond. The choice of making a change is something that you are doing for your benefit, and not for anyone else’s harm. You should not feel guilty for doing what is right for you.
To prevent your relatives from meddling in your personal affairs here are a few tips you may want to try:
1. Do not talk too much about your business.
2. Keep your business out of the street.
3. Just say nothing. If someone in your family comes to you meddling. Just tell them you don't wish to talk about it.
4. Tell your kids to keep their tongue. Sometimes conniving relatives will go so far as to ask your children questions about your life. If some of their relatives want to know about you, tell your children to say, "you have to ask my mother or father about that.”
5. Change the conversation. If a family member wants to meddle in your affairs, try changing the subject.
6. Flip the question around on them. Most times people like to meddle in your affairs, but they do not like for you to meddle in their's.
7. Another tactic is to answer their questions with one of your own. When the meddling relative begins to inquire about your personal life in a way that you aren't comfortable with, here is your answer: "Why do you ask?". The question makes them uncomfortable and forces them to assess their true motives, as well.
Lay new ground rules for your relationship, and stick by them, even when it hurts. It will pay off in the long run. Eventually your family will get used to the new you, and learn how to relate to you.
Family is what you are born into, there is no choice about it. Do all that you can to keep these relationships healthy and intact. They are important, but always remember that you are in control of your life and how you choose to live it. Don't allow yourself to be run over or exhausted by meddlesome relatives.
You can put a stop to it, at best by questioning their intent and at worst by severing the relations.
The bottom line is that it is your life. Stopping meddlers takes assertiveness, setting boundaries, and understanding the dynamics. Setting boundaries takes clear communication. Chances are that if you originate from a family that is enmeshed, there is more than one meddler. If you are determined to stop the meddlers, you will need to gain great skills in assertiveness and setting limits.
Ultimately, it is important to realise that the only person you can change is yourself. It is wise not to waste too much time and energy trying to change another person. Simply change the way you deal with them.
Good luck….


  1. No family is without any gossips going on. Pricking is of some interest to some and they make a mountain out of a mole. They think that they are elders and have a moral right to interfere without analysing the consequences. One should first go into their own family affairs than pricking into others life. Many holes are there in the destination but it is wise to jump the holes to reach the destination.

  2. It's very hard to stay patient with anyone interfering. Family is even more difficult because you don't wish to hurt them. At the end we all move away from our family homes and make our own life whether they accept our choices or not. Don't let anyone control you, if they love you they will eventually accept your choices and rejoice the new you.

  3. thank you great advice! it has been hard especially with my in laws. my husband chooses to not say anything which bothered me but now I feel its the best way.

  4. Thank You so much for the great advice. I have so much problem with my mom and my sibling meddling my life. Now i know what should i do.

  5. Your posting is eye opening. My wife and 2 kids live with me and my widowed mom. We could have chosen to live on our own, but did not due to thinking as I Dian's we should be there. My brother is hardly n loved and live separately. She medals in everything from my in laws interactions to wanting to know ech detail. We halve even caught her going thru our things. Dilemma is do we ignore, but continue to lose our independence, or do we break away and save our sanity at the expense of being viewed by oth Indians a abandoning her?

  6. i love this post.

  7. Thanks for the great advice. In my case, it is my friends who always think that I am the one that needs to be "fixed". I am an introvert who enjoy doing things alone. I am happy with my single life. Unfortunately in the eyes of them that I need "help" to live my life. It is always best to have most aspects of our life private.

  8. Great read. I have a brother 2 years younger than me who has lived overseas for 20 years of his life. He stole from me as a child, hoarded possessions and used my simple things like razors and creams and never his own.

    Roll on to 2013 when our Father passed away leaving Mom with significant and comfortable wealth. Suddenly guess who is on the scene? He pry's into my personal life in terms of finances, property sales, car name it he knows no boundaries even though he lives over 9000 miles away. I am primary carer for my Mom and I am single so it suits him to have me protecting his living investment. He is maniacal and transfixed on 1 thing only. Money. He see's our late Father's wealth as his even though Mom is still alive. The behaviour pattern from child to his current age of 45 has not changed. Now that Dad has sadly left it has just intensified and has reached a level of lunacy. It's taken such a long time to know how to handle him and the only method that works for me is not letting any personal information out that may get to him as Mom feels she is caught in the middle. She does see what he is like yet never says anything to him so I have to be careful of what I say. Contacting my Psychologist, Realtor, friends is the norm to him. No contact works. If he emails my laptop and phone delete them before they reach my inbox. I don't react even though he finds ways, I sometimes never imagined, to try and push buttons. It's getting easier as time passes yet I am always on guard. He is a bully, a narcissist, a lunatic and only ever really focused on himself and money although being highly critical of others and especially me is also a skill he seems too enjoy. A very cruel and dark character. I have no doubt if Mom passes before me he will be challenging her will for everything. Bit of a sad story yet I'm OK telling it as it's real! Thanks again.

  9. I think my family is so bad that I need legal action. Why aren't there more laws to prevent horrible families from causing harm? I have some family members who will lie deliberately out of jealousy. It is horrible and it is damaging to my life. I have a very vicious family. Sometimes, they won't let you leave them alone. The harder you try to get away, the worse the lies get and the further they will spread them. It is time to stop nasty family members when the only reason they do it is to hurt you. I believe there should be legal remedies for people who want to be left out of the filth.

  10. I like to call the meddlers Godfathers. They manage to be in everybody's business and some even hold down full time salaried jobs.I've learned to keep them out things I hold sacred and dear to me. I am 52. These Godfathers will not be managing me I promise you. They will try if you let them. I have some issues I am trying to solve. Once I do. Things will be OK for me. As far as I'm concerned I don't care if I ever have any rank in our family that's ran like a damn highschool Lol.

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  12. Thank you for those valuable tips. Unfortunately, the person who gossips and meddles into my private life is my mother. The lesser I reveal, the more she creates fake stories about me to the relatives. Do you have any advice for my situation?

  13. I have a meddling aunt. My mother is a disabled veteran and my aunt raised me. Long story short due to my aunts meddling I'm currently my mom's caregiver. Been that way for 7 years because I wanted the phone calls about my mother to stop. Im 41 no kids, no husband barely have a life because of meddling.

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  15. Thanks to Facebook everyone and their mom is in my business!!!

  16. Thanks for this post. It's been quite interesting and beneficial.