Anyone with a family will tell you that fighting is inevitable. Whether we like it or not, we fight with the people we care about BECAUSE we care about them. If I didn’t give a damn whether G turned into a lazy slob, I wouldn’t constantly fight with him over it.
When it gets difficult though, is when you’re an outsider looking in on the problem. Especially if its your SO fighting with one of his family members. My first instinct is to protect the person I’m more emotionally invested in, but then I have to stop and think how my involvement, no matter how large or small, is going to hurt the other person. Because even if I think they’re in the wrong, I have to remember I’m biased. My first instinct is to protect Joe, and unless he’s blatantly in the wrong, I’m more than likely going to side with him. And whether the other person knows it or not, my decision to protect Joe is probably going to hurt them. And that will just cause problems in the long run. It’s a thin line to balance on, that’s for sure, but it CAN be done. The question is, how?
1. Realize that understanding where your SO is coming from doesn’t mean they’re automatically in the right. Listen to them, but let them know your not going to get involved.
2. Don’t encourage them. Comforting and encouraging are two entirely different things. One of them makes them realize that you care about them, the other pushes them towards fighting with their family member.
3. Most importantly, DON’T GET INVOLVED! If they are fighting right in front of you, excuse yourself from the room. While they may be upset that you are “deserting” them right then, they will appreciate the fact that you let them work it out on their own in the long run. Explain to them that you don’t want to hurt anyone, so your choosing to remain outside the argument so that no one feels like they are being ganged up on.