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How to Deal with Someone Hogging the Sheets

Everyone needs sleep, and it can’t get any more perfect when you’re snuggled deep under comfortable blankets and sheets. Yet, most couples who share a bed with each other will reach a point of having to cope with the issue of one or the other hogging the sheets in the middle of the night. The sooner you’re aware of what to do, the sooner you’ll get back to a comfortable night’s sleep!

Edit Steps

Focusing on the Covers

  1. Steal back those monopolized sheets and covers. Try to pull the sheet or covers back onto you gently but firmly. A few tugs back toward your side of the bed might suffice. If not, perhaps getting out of bed and lifting up the entire sheet and covers and draping them back over both of you might be all that’s needed. If your partner is well asleep, they may simply subconsciously rearrange their sleeping position to cope with the restored covers arrangement.

  2. Be prepared for difficulties, however! There are several potential downsides to attempting this “gentle shift” of the covers back toward you:
    • Depending on how they have managed to end up with all the sheet and covers, you might find out that they wrapped themselves in a “burrito wrap”. Unfurling this is probably about as easy as unwrapping a mummy, only weightier. Unless you’re strong and gentle in just the right balance, this could end up in a tangle, with a grouchy awoken partner alongside you.

    • You may also find your partner stealing the sheet and covers back after you’ve shifted them. This can go on repeatedly, ending up in a “gimme back my covers” struggle throughout the night. Hardly conducive to a good night’s sleep!

  3. Purchase a bigger flat sheet and cover, or even multiple covers. Discuss the issue with your significant other first and explain what has been happening at night; be kind, as many people don’t realize their strength when asleep and cold! Buying flat sheets and covers that are larger than your mattress size is not unusual by any means and is an excellent way around the problem of both bed users wanting to snuggle into lots of the cover. Indeed, bedding suppliers often stock separate flat and fitted sheets, just for this reason, to allow you to fit the mattress correctly but use a larger flat sheet on top.

    • For example, if you have a queen size bed, purchase a king size flat sheet and duvet/blanket/other bedding covers. All that extra length at the sides turns into separate snuggle zones!
  4. Alternatively, buy separate covers. This solution means that both of you will have your own covers, even if the sheet is hogged. Extra covers ensure you that the other person won’t be able to steal the entire amount of warm bedding and you will still have something left to cover yourself with.

Getting Closer

  1. Snuggle up with your partner. Try to wedge yourself inside the sheets behind them, so that you can actually get some cover. This is great for free heat exchange, and it’ll keep both of you snug. Be sure to pull your pillow close too, so that you’re not pushing your partner’s head off their pillow.

    • If your partner is in a deep sleep, be careful! They may not realize you’re so close and might accidentally elbow you when shuffling in their sleep.
    • Overheating, pins and needles or difficulty with breathing can ensue if you’re stuck in an awkward position or up too close with your partner under all those covers! Shuffle back to your spot if you’re uncomfortable.

Nudging Your Partner

  1. Wake up your partner, but not in a way that disturbs their sleep. You may give them a gentle nudge, just to help shift them out of their deep sleep. Then, quickly take your chance at getting the sheet and covers back while they’re shuffling and drifting back to sleep.

Rearranging the Beds

  1. Push two smaller beds together. As the very last resort, if you’re both experiencing severe bed issues, this may be the way to go to solve it. Each one of you will be guaranteed the same bed area needed for a perfect night’s sleep and you’ll each successfully have the exact amount of sheet and covers without having to worry about any more hogging.

Edit Tips

  • If you’re not into getting separate sheets, tuck a good amount of sheet underneath you and use your body weight on it. This will make it harder for the other person to steal back the covers.
  • Always talk about the issue when it first starts out. Don’t wait until it becomes a severe issue and then finding yourself using, “Well, this has been going on for some time”, as a defensive ploy in your favor. Many people don’t realize it happens in the first place.
  • Consider keeping a sleeping bag on standby for really cold nights!

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How to Deal With Troubled Teens

As a parent of a troubled teen, you have to have a strategy to deal with their behavioral problems and help them deal with these issues on their own. This may sound like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some things to consider when tackling this topic.

Edit Steps

Being Aware

  1. Know what your teen is facing. Being troubled can cover a wide range of issues, from the behavioral (drug use, sexual explorations, and criminal activity) to the mental (ego and self-esteem). Being aware of what the teen is dealing with is the first step in helping them recover.

    • Before you go investigating, try communicating honestly with your teen (or have someone else do the job for you). If they aren’t willing to open up, you’ll need to start putting the pieces together yourself.
  2. Watch for behavioral problems. These include falling school grades, lack of interest in hobbies they previously enjoyed, and suspicious activities.

    • Though these are just symptoms of a greater cause, keeping alert will help you piece the puzzle together and help you get to know your son/daughter. Take every opportunity to gauge information and keep notes to stay mentally organized.
  3. Communicate with others in his/her circles. Your neighbors and parents of your teen’s friends are a good place to start. This gives you a broader view of the situation in your teen’s sphere of influence with his/her peers.

    • In addition to being valuable resources of information, it’s likely that they’ve been there too and can be a source of support. Don’t be afraid to open up about your concerns–you’re trying to be an involved, caring parent.
  4. Keep track of your teen’s progress. Not all teens are going to be excellent students, nor will they all begin dating at the same age. But knowing what track they are on will help you better predict the future.

    • Certain facts are not necessarily indicators of trouble or rebellion. But as a parent, you should develop a familiarity of your teen’s growth, both in maturity as well as physically.
  5. Understand what constitutes a “normal” teenager. Sometimes signs of trouble may just be signs of growth. All teenagers go through changes in dealing with growing up.

    • Keeping up with fashion is important to most teens. This may mean that your teen suddenly decides to dress provocatively or dye their hair. This is considered normal behavior. Limit your criticism to the bigger issues, like tattoos.

      • A changing appearance is not a red flag unless you suspect self-harm or see serious weight gain or loss.
    • As teens mature, they’ll become more argumentative and rebellious. Red flags are skipping school, getting into fights, and violence on any level at home. These go beyond the norm of teenage rebellion.
    • Mood swings are normal. They may be irritable one moment and jumping for joy the next. What you should be concerned with is persistent sadness, anxiety, or sleep problems. These could be signs of depression or bullying.
    • Minimal drug and alcohol use is normal. Only if it becomes habitual or accompanies problems in school or at home should you consider it a red flag.


  1. Be on your teen’s side. Communicate openly with them, and let them know you care about them and are interested in what is going on in their life.

    • All teens (people, really) need to feel loved. Regardless of how independent or averse to you they seem, they still need positive, reassuring attention from you.
  2. Support positive influences in their life. If they are involved in sports, clubs, or other positive activities, be supportive of them so they can be as successful as possible in what they are doing. Knowing they have a fan will encourage them to pursue these positive goals.

    • You may need to be rather obvious with your support. In research, teens often misread facial expressions; when shown pictures of adult faces expressing different emotions, teens most often interpreted them as being angry. [1] This is because teens use a different part of their brain to identify emotion.
  3. Seek professional help, if necessary. Your teen may not be able to use you as an outlet, but a certified therapist may be a healthy alternative.

    • Consult your spouse or a close family member for their opinion. If therapy seems necessary, talk to your son/daughter first. If they are opposed, make clear the benefits of therapy and explain that there are no stigmas attached–in fact, no one will have to know.
    • Choose a therapist that specializes in teenagers with troubling issues. Each therapist has a specialty and doing your research beforehand will maximize the possible effectiveness of your child’s therapy.

Dealing with Issues Effectively

  1. Make boundaries for your teen. A curfew isn’t mandatory, but many teens actually do better when they know what time they should be home. Putting limits on where they can go and what they can do will help them recognize that their behavior does matter.

    • Be reasonable and reward good behavior. If your teen is hanging out with friends you know and calls to check in, relax. They are giving you a reason to trust them; show them you recognize and appreciate their good behavior.
  2. Establish consequences. Saying, “You’re grounded!” is no good if they are out and about the next night. Make sure your imposed boundaries have a reason to be obliged by.

    • Stick with it. It may be hard at first, but having a routine allows both of you to know what to expect. Your teen will know the consequences of his/her actions without you having to explain them outright.
  3. Talk to your teen’s teachers or guidance counselor. If you suspect a school problem is evolving, they may be privy to information you are not.

    • Teachers will be happy to keep your meeting confidential. Putting a bug in their ear that your child’s behavior may be on a slippery slope is not embarrassing; the teachers are there to help and may be unaware of any problems at home.
  4. Grant your teen space. They need all the time in their world to find out who they want to become. Holing themselves up in their bedrooms may not be the worst thing. Allow them their time.

    • This is especially necessary if your teen is prone to anger. They need time to cool off. Demanding apologies while they are still raging will only escalate the situation.
  5. Give them responsibility. This can be in any way you deem appropriate. Give them a list of chores or ask them to help around the community for their allowance.

    • Encourage them to get a part time job. If they don’t seek one out themselves, ask around your area for potential employers or neighbors who need jobs done.
  6. Get them active in the family. Make sure you’re active first! Make family dinners and game nights a regular event. Letting your child know they are a part of the family and matter will make them feel culpable for their actions.

    • Set a good example. If you’re constantly online and emailing at the dinner table, they’ll have no reason not to mirror your behavior. If you expect them to be involved, be involved yourself.

Caring for Yourself

  1. Manage your emotions. You can’t help your teen if you often come across as angry, suffocating, or unreasonable. You’re seeking change–letting your emotions take over your logic may exacerbate the problem.

    • Remove yourself from the parent/child relationship. They aren’t going to listen to you just because you’re their elder. Think of how you would treat the situation if they were your equal. How would you try to get through to them? Staying level-headed will help you think clearly and make the best decisions.
  2. Take time to relax. If you are losing sleep over this, you’re not in the best shape to conquer these issues. At the end of the day, it’s your teen who needs to overcome this, not you.

    • Don’t feel guilty for taking time to yourself. It’s important to rejuvenate and energize yourself before you try to take on topics that are exhausting. If you’re beat down, it’ll show. You’ll become more easily exasperated and more likely to give up. Your teen needs you to stick with them. Take the time to be able to do just that.
  3. Stay positive. You may be making a mountain out of a molehill. What were your teenage years like? Your friends’ and family’s? Most acts of rebellion come in phases. Though you should take your son/daughter seriously and address the issues at hand, knowing that “this too shall pass” will be incredibly beneficial to your overall stress and ability to cope.

    • Happiness is contagious. If your teen sees that you’re overwhelmed, exhausted, and bitter, there will be no example for them to follow. They are still at an age where they need someone to copy; you can be that person.

Edit Tips

  • Networking with other parents in your community will give you a better overview of what other teens in that community are doing. Knowing what’s par for the course will give you realistic expectations.
  • Allow them space. Find about their lives, but don’t demand details. An amount of privacy is necessary to becoming their own being.

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How to Deal With Anxiety

Anxiety is an emotion we all experience from time to time. It’s natural to feel stressed out before an upcoming performance, or during a particularly busy or overstimulating period, like the holidays. However, if you experience a stretch of anxiety that you can’t seem to kick, a closer examination of your habits may be in order. Taking the following measures can help reduce your anxiety level, both in the heat of the moment and on a long-term basis.

Edit Steps

Anxiety Help

Method One: Physical Remedies

  1. Eliminate anxiety-inducing foods from your diet. It sounds almost too simple, but changing what you ingest on a daily basis can have a huge impact on your anxiety level. Rethink your consumption of the following common anxiety provokers:

    • Coffee. The most popular “energy drink” of all time may also be one of the leading causes of anxiety. [1] If you drink coffee every morning, try switching to decaffeinated tea or just water for a few weeks. It may be hard to give up, but chances are you’ll see a reduction in your stress levels over this period of time.
    • Sugar and starch. People often see eating sugary and starchy treats as an option for stress reduction, since comfort foods like ice cream and cookies provide a momentary sense of, well, comfort. However, the rise and fall of blood sugar that occurs after eating these foods can actually make your emotions yo-yo even more. Try replacing these foods with fruits and vegetables to avoid sugar highs and lows.
    • Alcohol. After a stressful day at work, many unwind over a few drinks. Alcohol makes stress feel far away in the moment, but the after-effect cancels out the temporary sense of relaxation. Since alcohol is a depressant, it ends up having a negative effect on your mood in the long run. Drink sparingly, and when you do drink, make sure to hydrate to reduce the chance of getting a very stressful hangover. [2]
  2. Incorporate mood-enhancing foods into your diet. Keeping yourself healthy with a balanced diet can go a long way toward stabilizing your mood. If you’re getting the right nutrients, your body will be better able to ward off anxiety during stressful situations. Consider incorporating more of the following foods:
    • Foods high in antioxidants, such as bluberries. Acai berries also have high levels of antioxidants. [3]
    • Foods high in minerals like magnesium and potassium, such as bran, dark chocolate, and almonds. Most people do not get the recommended amount of magnesium, which results in a variety of symptoms, including anxiety.
  3. Try exercises that relieve anxiety. Studies have shown that regular exercise relieves symptoms of everyday anxiety and also helps to treat anxiety disorders. It improves feelings of wellbeing both in the moment and for hours afterward.

    • Cardiovascular exercises such as running or biking, as well as weight training and other muscle-building exercises, all serve the purpose of reducing anxiety.
    • Consider giving yoga a try. The soothing atmosphere of yoga studios, and the chance to be quiet and internally-focused for an hour or so, make this physical activity particularly conducive to calming anxiety.
    • If the thought of exercising itself makes you anxious, try incorporating low-impact physical activity into your routines. You don’t have to play a team sport or join a gym to get enough exercise; simply walking around your neighborhood can go a long way toward boosting your mood every day. [4]
  4. Learn how to breathe correctly. Breathing deeply and slowly has immediate effects on your stress level. Most people practice shallow chest breathing, drawing breath into the upper portions of their lungs and exhaling at a rapid rate. When we’re feeling stressed, we tend to breathe even more quickly, which stresses us out even more. Instead, focus on bringing air into the lower portion of your lungs, breathing as deeply as possible. This helps decrease your blood pressure, relax your muscles, and calm you down.

    • Try to be mindful of your breathing even when you aren’t feeling anxious. Deep breathing is important no matter what your state of mind.

Method Two: Mental Remedies

  1. Confront sources of anxiety you can control. There are many different situations that induce anxiety, and it’s helpful to pinpoint exactly what might be making you anxious and take steps to confront it. If you’re behind on doing your taxes, for example, you may feel like you’ve got a yoke around your shoulders until the chore is finally done.

    • Keep a journal to help you figure out what exactly is making your mood dip. Writing down your thoughts can often reveal sources of stress you hadn’t yet acknowledged to yourself.
    • Even if a particular source of anxiety feels as though it is out of your control, you may be able to change something about the situation to make it feel less stressful to you. For example, if you feel anxious about the holidays months before the time to visit with family actually rolls around, figure out a way to approach the situation differently. Try hosting your extended family at your house so you won’t have to travel, or holding your celebration at a restaurant so you don’t have to host. Look at the flexible side of stressful situations.
  2. Avoid sources of anxiety you can’t control. If a certain type of situation makes you feel anxious, it’s OK to simply avoid it. If you hate flying, and don’t feel this fear is every going to abate, it’s OK to drive. Know your limits, and practice self preservation.
  3. Practice meditation. Relaxation and meditation routines are very effective at lowering anxiety levels. There are many different types of meditation, so it’s best to experiment with a few different methods and choose the one that makes you feel the most comfortable and relaxed.

    • Guided meditation is a good option for beginners. A guided meditation can be practiced in person, but it may be easier to buy a meditation CD or watch a meditation video on YouTube to start. You’ll learn techniques on how calm yourself down when your heart starts to race or when you feel you are not in control of your thoughts. Many guided meditations incorporate soothing music or nature sounds to help calm your spirit. See www.fragrantheart.com/cms/free-audio-meditations for access to free guided meditation audio clips.
    • Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on a particular thought or pattern of thoughts that make you anxious, allowing your mind to dwell on them until they fade away and your mind is cleared. This practice can be as simple as finding a quiet space to think for five minutes at the beginning of each day, but it is an ancient practice that has many helpful components if you want to delve deeper. See How to Do Mindful Meditation for more information.
  4. Ask for help. For many people, talking about anxiety is a very helpful release. If you need to vent, ask your spouse or a friend for advice and tell them how you feel. Sometimes just putting your feelings into words can take a lot of stress away.

    • If you lean on the same person for advice too often, your problems may overburden someone else. If you have a lot of anxiety to work through, consider seeing a therapist. You’ll be free to discuss your problems as much as you need to in the knowledge that a trained professional is there to help.
    • Know when it’s time to get a doctor involved. If you are experiencing chronic anxiety and feel you may have an anxiety disorder, make an appointment with a psychologist or a psychiatrist. It’s very difficult to treat anxiety disorders without the help of a doctor, and the sooner you see one, the faster you’ll feel better.

Method Three: Medicinal Remedies

  1. Try a natural remedy. Certain herbs, teas, and supplements are said to decrease symptoms of anxiety. Try the following options:

    • The chamomile flower is traditionally used to treat anxiety, stress, and an upset stomach. It has properties that are similar to anti-depressant drugs. It can be brewed into tea or taken as a supplement. [5]
    • Ginsing is said to help the body reduce stress.
    • Kava kava is a Polynesian plant said to have a sedative effect that relieves anxiety.
    • Valerian root is popular in Europe for its sedative properties.
  2. Consider anti-anxiety drugs. If you experience prolonged anxiety that affects your ability to sleep and go about your day for an extended period of time, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a doctor. Panic attacks, extreme social anxiety, and other symptoms can be effectively treated with a prescription drug that suits your needs.

Edit Tips

  • Be kind to yourself. Anxiety is a very common emotion, and you do not have to face it alone.
  • Realize that your anxiety will not disappear instantly. It takes a long time to retrain your body and mind to cope with the feelings of anxiety.
  • Most importantly remember that anxiety is just all in the head. Be yourself and don’t care what others think about you. You’ve got to be confident so others will see the light also.
  • Don’t hide your anxiety from others. Share with those you trust and work through it together not alone.

Edit Warnings

  • Don’t take herbal supplements without first talking to your doctor.
  • Severe anxiety and depression should be treated by a health professional. Please see your doctor if you are worried about your condition.
  • Consult with your doctor first prior to engaging in any physical activity. This is more important if you have not exercised before or have been laid up for a while.

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How to Deal With Fainting Spells

Being prone to fainting is known as suffering from fainting spells or syncope. It’s not that uncommon––indeed, fainting spells are experienced by around a third of healthy adolescents.[1] Fainting is one of the scariest things that can happen to you. And if you experience it often, it can lead to much anxiety and worry. As well, being prone to fainting places you in danger of hurting yourself because it can happen at any moment. Dealing with fainting spells requires both understanding and knowledge of what to do to take good care of yourself.

Edit Steps

Reacting Quickly to Fainting Spells

  1. Know what to do to stay safe when you feel faint. Feeling faint can happen at almost any time. If you don’t do the right thing at the right time, you may severely injure yourself. It is recommended that you go through each of the following steps when you faint, to try to reduce the risks involved with a fainting spell:

    • Sit down. Not sitting means you risk falling and cracking open your head on something sharp or hard, or worse. Don’t do anything before you sit down.
    • Breathe deeply. If you are dealing with anxiety, stress or hyperventilating at the moment, deep, slow breathing should help you within seconds.
    • Call for help. Yell as loudly as you can. You may feel like you’re talking very quietly because what is happening to you is taking precedence over your hearing. Don’t worry; just keep calling for someone until you think you have their attention.
      • If someone does come, tell them that you’re going to faint. They will be able to do whatever they can.
    • Find a place to elevate your feet. This will help you become conscious faster.
    • Remain calm. If you can, develop some self-calming techniques that will help you both when you’re suffering a fainting spell, and in general. Such things as meditation, visualizing a safe place and repetitive phrases can help you to self soothe.
  2. Be prepared when you become conscious again. Fainting is definitely scary, that’s why when you wake up, you might scream and/or feel disoriented. Just be calm, you’re okay. There is a chance that you’ve urinated.

    • Take some time and lie down or sit up and rest.
    • When you’re ready, get up slowly.
    • If you are alone, try and find someone for help.
  3. Tell your doctor that you’ve fainted. He or she will need to check all the possible reasons behind why you are fainting. Be sure to see a doctor; having the right advice can be helpful because you can work out what to avoid doing that might be causing you to faint.


  1. Research the topic of fainting. Understanding the causes behind fainting and feeling dizzy can help you to pinpoint the times when you’re likely to be most vulnerable and whether there are things you can do to manage the likelihood of more fainting spells. There are many reasons why you might be fainting, from standing up too quickly to having low blood pressure. Here are some reasons you might be fainting:

    • Abnormally low blood pressure
    • Vasovagal syncope[2]
    • Heart attack[1]
    • Stress
    • Abnormal heart rhythm
    • Getting up too fast
    • Dehydration or inadequate food intake.
  2. Recognize when you’re starting to feel faint. Recognizing an oncoming faint may save your life, or at least prevent injury, enabling you to quickly move to a safe spot and perhaps even give a signal to friends and family in-the-know. There are lots of ways to recognize the onset of a fainting spell. If you keep feeling these symptoms while you’re standing, it’s best to sit down immediately:

    • Seeing white or black spots
    • Dizziness/lightheadedness
    • Feeling hot/sweating
    • Paleness
    • Upset stomach
    • Tunnel or blurry vision.[1]
  3. Learn how to prevent fainting. If you have already fainted, you’ll know it’s not a fun experience. For some people, you might faint 10 times in your whole lifetime. Others, that learn the prevention techniques before fainting for the second time, will experience fainting spells less. You may be able to stop fainting spells by making the right changes to your activities and food and water intake. For example:

    • Improve your fluid intake.[1] Staying adequately hydrated will keep your body in balance. In particular, stay hydrated when you’re going outside on a warm or hot day.
    • Eat enough and eat healthily. If you’re getting enough food with good nutrition, you’ll be less likely to feel weak or dizzy.
    • Be slow when getting up from sitting or lying anywhere. Sudden rising can send you off-balance easily. It can help to sit where you can see something to hold on to, giving you something to grip or rest on to help keep you steady as you rise.
    • Avoid cigarettes, caffeine, alcohol, or using recreational drugs.[1] The chemicals in these products can have unhelpful interactions with your body that put things out of balance, making fainting spells more likely.
    • Avoid placing yourself in stressful situations. In particular, notice whenever you are in a situation that brings on hyperventilation and anxiety and do your best to remove yourself from such situations. Learning to stay calm and to assert yourself can help you to overcome feelings of anxiety.

Edit Tips

  • If you ever see someone who is very pale, looks like they aren’t feeling good and are asking for help, sit them down and get help, as it’s possible they are about to faint.
  • Anytime that you feel dizzy or feel as if you may pass out, sit down in a safe area.
  • Avoid crowded or hot places.
  • Have a friend near you when you are feeling dizzy. Tell your friend in advance that you’re prone to fainting spells, so that he or she knows what to do when it happens.
  • Avoid looking at cuts or blood, as sometimes you will be put into shock and forget to breathe, resulting to you fainting.
  • Keep track of how long you/whoever fainted, is out. Medical staff will need to know this, in order to help with medical diagnosis.
  • Avoid very hot baths or showers, sometimes they can be so calming and relaxing, you can collapse.

Edit Warnings

  • There is a chance that people will urinate when they have fainted.
  • When feeling faint, the fainting person only has about 15-30 seconds to sit. If the victim does not sit, they may hit their head or injure another part of the body.
  • If the victim is injured, call for help immediately.
  • Fainting spells are dangerous because they’re unexpected. Injury and even death can occur as a result.

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How to Deal With Stress

Life can be stressful; sometimes you’ll have to deal with ongoing stress positively. Stress can have a variety of causes such as family problems, job problems, financial difficulties, poor health, or even the death of someone close to you. It is important to recognize the causes (some stress is natural), take steps to deal with the root of the problem, and tackle the symptoms. Most importantly, don’t battle stress alone — ask for help from a friend and, if necessary, a professional.

Edit Steps

Help Managing Stress

Treating Stress with Physical Activities

  1. Work your body out. Targeted exercise goes a long way toward freeing your body of stress hormones. Carve out time during your busy day to exercise, because it keeps you healthy and is a natural outlet for your stress. You should notice the difference.

    • Exercise a little every day. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which can lower stress levels.[1] Endorphins trigger a powerful feeling in your body not dissimilar to the effects of morphine. The only difference is that when you exercise, you’re doing your body (and your stress levels) good.
    • Walking for even 20-30 minutes each day is sufficient if that’s all that you can afford. Walking isn’t just good for stress-reduction: Adults over 40 who walked briskly for at least 150 minutes a week saw their life expectancy increase by 3.4 – 4.5 years.[2]
    • Swimming and biking have been shown to reduce stress as well. A benefit of swimming and biking is that, opposed to jogging, they create far less joint strain, which makes them perfect for people with joint problems or those wanting to prevent them.[3]
  2. Get enough sleep. Give your body the sleep it wants, and your stress levels will take a nosedive. Sleep is a mechanism by which your body recuperates and restores its energy reserves. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your body needs to use stress to keep you active and alert in the absence of stored energy.
    • Most adults need at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night.[4] Young children and older adults need more, about 9-10 hours of sleep per night.
    • Get into regular sleeping habits. If you can, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each night and morning. Routinizing your sleep cycle will teach your body when it’s supposed to go to be tired, aiding in better sleep and less sleep deprivation.
    • 49% of Americans who don’t get enough sleep blame stress as the culprit.[5] If you believe that you’re stuck in a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation/stress creation, see your doctor for more targeted advice.
  3. Eat properly. Your body needs to be healthy, happy and properly fueled to help you tackle stress. Like it or not, stress is a bodily reaction to anything that disturbs its natural state, meaning that your body can have a profound effect on producing and relieving stress.

    • Water has been shown to relieve stress.[6] That’s because a dehydrated body creates cortisol, a stress hormone. An under-hydrated body creates stress to motivate the owner of the body to properly care for him/herself.
    • Start decreasing caffeine and alcohol intake. In some cases, alcohol intake increases stress response in humans while being linked to substance dependency, a stressful condition itself.[7] Caffeine is also responsible for raising stress levels, especially at work[8], so try to stick to water as a general rule.
    • Eat a healthy breakfast and healthy snacks during the day. While there is some evidence that certain (bad) foods may cause stress, the overwhelming evidence is that certain (good) foods may relieve stress.[9] Consider these options for a healthy diet that helps keep you stress-free:
      • Complex carbs such as whole-grain breads and pasta.
      • Oranges, high in vitamin A, which curbs levels of stress hormones.
      • Spinach, soybeans or salmon, which are loaded with magnesium.
      • Black and green tea, which contain antioxidants.
      • Pistachios, walnuts, or almonds, a good source of healthy fats.
  4. Learn to relax. Relaxing your body, by whatever natural means, is a great way to reduce stress. Don’t expect your stress to immediately dissipate; it can take time. In most cases, try not to fixate on the stress itself while you’re relaxing. Think of something placid and tranquil, or think of nothing in particular. Let your body tell your mind that everything is okay.

    • Listen to calm and soft music. Music really gets you relaxed and happy. Try listening to music with no vocals and pick music with instruments like the flute, piano, or violin. Classical, jazz, or folk tunes generally work well, but if that’s not your cup of tea, choose music that puts you in a good place.
    • Lie down on a bed with your eyes closed for a few minutes. Try to let your mind go blank. Let your frustrations and anxieties float down out of your body. You may eventually fall asleep if you are relaxed enough.
    • Take a bath. Add Epsom salts or other fragrant bath salts for a luxurious touch. Indulge in your private time and relax the body.
    • Practice deep relaxation, muscle relaxation, and regularly schedule a day for relaxing. Let someone else be responsible for your body’s relaxation at least some of the time.

Treating Stress with Mental Activities

  1. Take steps towards thinking more positively. You don’t have to turn into a Pollyanna, but try to acknowledge that there are some good things in life, and that they deserve to be celebrated. Once you acknowledge the positive in your life, you’ll begin to re-establish some balance in your emotional register, and stress won’t nudge its ugly head as easily.

    • Stop and count your blessings. Write down even the simplest things that you have and enjoy: a roof over your head, a bed to sleep on, quality food, warmth, security, good health, friends or family. Acknowledge that not everyone has these things.
    • Say something positive to yourself as soon as you wake up every morning. This will keep your energy and mind focused on positive thinking. Be thankful for each day that you have; you never know which one could be your last!
    • Use positive self-talk. Reinforce your resolve through positive statements such as, “I can handle this, one step at a time,” or “Since I’ve been successful with this before, there’s no reason why I can’t do it again.”
    • Visualize positive things; this does not take long but can help you regain focus. Think about success, read about successful people. Don’t admit defeat before you’ve been defeated. You don’t deserve to beat yourself down so that you can punish yourself.
  2. Be organized. Set goals for what you need to achieve that day, then write a “to do list”. Add some breathing room in the middle of the day that will give you time to recharge. When writing your to do list:
    • Know your limits. Be realistic about what you can and can’t accomplish in a day. It’s not helpful if you bite off more than you can chew and then castigate yourself for not getting it done.
    • Prioritize your tasks. Work on finishing the highest priority (most urgent/important) items first. Put low priority items on the bottom of your list.
    • Do your most unpleasant or most difficult task at the beginning of the day when you are fresh, thereby avoiding the stress of last minute preparation. Procrastination feeds stress!
    • Emphasize quality in your work, rather than sheer quantity. Take pride in having done something well as opposed to having done a lot of something.
    • Schedule your day, is possible, so that stressful scenarios don’t overlap, reducing the number of stressors you must juggle at any one time. Stagger deadlines for large projects.
    • Review your goals at the end of the day and think about everything you have achieved. This is cathartic and will help you sleep better. Check off the things that you accomplished on the to do list.
  3. Identify the things that put you under stress. Make sure you understand why you become stressed so that you can try to avoid these circumstances. Knowledge is powerful, and self-knowledge is especially powerful.
    • If you notice, for example, that you regularly get stressed at a certain time with a certain person, go out of your way to prepare your brain for the upcoming stress. If the person is someone you love and trust, tell them how they make you feel in a non-threatening way. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your misgivings, remind yourself that the occasion is momentary, the feeling will pass, and you’ll be in complete control soon.
    • Rehearse. When you know that you are going to face a stressful situation, rehearse how you are going to handle it. Picture yourself overcoming it successfully. Create a mental videotape that you can play over and over in your mind.

Treating Stress by Letting Go

  1. Stop worrying about the things you cannot change. This especially comes with things such as politics, and often applies to other individuals. Learning to accept things as they are is an important coping mechanism, but not as easy as it sounds.

    • Ask yourself the following questions if you’re the type of person who worries constantly about minor things[10]:

      • Is the problem a real problem you’re currently facing, rather than an imaginary what-if?
      • If the problem is an imaginary what-if, how likely is it to happen? Is your concern realistic?
      • Can you do something about the problem or prepare for it, or is it out of your control?
    • Admitting to yourself that there’s nothing you can do about a particular issue will go a long way in helping you adjust. Acknowledge that maybe you feed off of stress, like an adrenaline junkie feeds off adrenaline, but that in your case, it’s becoming unmanageable.
  2. Take responsibility for making your life what you want it to be. It is less stressful to make decisions and take action than to feel powerless and react to other’s decisions. Decide what you want and go for it!
    • Learn to say no on occasion. You cannot do everything you are asked, and even if you could, you probably wouldn’t want to.
    • Resist the urge to be perfect at all times. Perfectionism can cause huge amounts of stress if you hold yourself to unattainable standards. Be realistic about what you can and can’t do. Don’t set yourself up for failure just because you want to stroke your ego.
    • Don’t get down on yourself for failing if you tried your hardest. You gave it your all, and nobody would ask you for more. Hold yourself accountable, but don’t make being accountable impossible.
    • Be one of your own best friends. It may sound cheesy, like something out of a Leave it to Beaver commercial, but it’s true: Love yourself, depend (mostly) on yourself, and celebrate the things you do well. Loving yourself will ease the anxious question “Am I good enough?” and replace it with “I know I’m good enough.”
  3. Develop a sense of humour. One of the barriers to stress reduction is the temptation to take things too seriously. It’s okay to back off from your intensity and see the humour in life’s situations. Laugh a little or better yet, laugh a lot! See the humour in stress.

    • Learn to laugh at yourself. Don’t put yourself down, or lash your self-esteem, but try to be playfully deprecating about yourself from time to time. How are you expected to laugh at other things if you can’t even laugh at yourself?
  4. Learn to lean on friends and loved ones. This is one of the most important things, as keeping things bottled up can only cause more stress. Your friends, if they are true friends, will try to understand what you’re going through, and will accompany that empathy with a sincere desire to help out if at all possible.

    • Ask your friends for help. If you want something done but can’t find the strength or the time to do it, it’s okay to ask your friends or loved ones for help. Express your gratitude and extend the offer of help as a kind of reciprocity.
    • Look for people’s respect, not approval — your friends included. Your friends will respect you because they love you, even if they don’t always agree with you. Your enemies (if you have any) will respect you because your motivations come from a sincere, heartfelt place. Resist the urge to be loved and accepted by everyone; it’s literally a Herculean task. You’ll find yourself a lot less stressed and a lot more satisfied if you do.
    • Seek out positive people rather than negative ones. It sounds like a truism because it is: Surrounding yourself with people who are fun-loving, excited, and kind will help you avoid the stress you’d be feeling with pessimistic, cynical, mean people.

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Edit Tips

  • Apologize to someone if you need. Make sure it will not make the situation worse. Guilt adds pain to stress.
  • Plan an event in the future to look forward to. Using your imagination can also help reduce stress.
  • Be honest about your emotions. Do not deny them or repress them as this will only add to the stress. Do not be afraid to cry as this can relieve anxiety and let out bottled-up emotions which can help you cope.
  • Maintain perspective and be aware that things might not be as stressful as you first thought. Look at what things are important in your life as against the causes of the stress.
  • If you’re not patient or open to prayer or meditation, engage in theraputic activities like writing, painting, drawing, cooking, crafts etc.
  • Chew gum. It has been shown that the action of chewing can reduces stress; this is why many people who are under constant stress tend to overeat. Chewing gum is a healthier alternative.
  • Get enough sunlight. Sunlight can cheer you up and ease seasonally-affected disorder (SAD).
  • Treat yourself to a massage.
  • Yoga is a very relaxing class to take and can make your day better and healthier.
  • Find something that you want to do or have been putting off and focus on that task, making sure this task isn’t a form of escapism.
  • Remember stress is a way to know you are alive. Celebrate your awareness of your life and congratulate yourself on your achievements.
  • Physically focus your stress, i.e. drum, hit a pillow or a punch bag but only if it is safe.
  • Keep a journal or diary where you can write down your thoughts, express yourself and analyze situations.

Edit Warnings

  • If you experience chronic stress—if you find yourself frequently breaking down in tears, rapidly gaining or losing weight, or experiencing a diminished sex drive—see a doctor about your symptoms. You may have an anxiety disorder or other illness.
  • Avoid escapism as it will not help you cope apart from in the most extreme cases in which you should seek medical help anyway.
  • Avoid self-medicating through alcohol and drugs, prescription or otherwise.
  • See a health professional immediately if you experience chest pain or dizziness.

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How to Deal With Being Taken for Granted

From an early stage in your life, you are taught to respect others, and do kind things for them, such as offering hospitality or babysitting. However, in some cases, people begin to take advantage of your generosity and kind nature, expecting more from you than is fair or right. Such people may repeatedly ask you for favors and cause you to feel obliged, without returning any favors or showing you any respect. When the boundaries are crossed, it can be challenging to go back to asserting yourself. If you feel as if there are people in your life who take you for granted, it’s time to protect yourself and reset those boundaries.

Edit Steps

Looking into yourself

  1. Acknowledge that improvement begins within. It can be difficult to accept your own role in facilitating a lack of respect from others but this is part of improving your situation and interaction with others. When people recognize you respect yourself, their ability to take you for granted decreases dramatically––the less you seem a pushover, the less they’ll push those buttons. And while nobody deliberately sets out to be used up, fear of not being liked, loved or needed can cause some fairly unhealthy self-depriving behaviors, such as:

    • You say yes to everything another person (or any person) asks of you; saying yes is your “default” mode
    • You are not willing to say no or to ask for a revision of expectations of you out of fear that the other person won’t like you or will find fault with you
    • You believe that a good girl/nice guy does what she or he is told or asked to do, no matter what imposition this places on you
    • You think that you’ll only be liked or loved if you do what other people expect of you
    • You’re afraid of the other person and walk around as if you’re on eggshells whenever you’re around them (a good sign you need to get away from this explosive person)
    • You suffer from insecurity, feel needy a lot and can’t bear being left alone much
    • You are always self-deprecating, putting yourself down, making it sound like you have faults while the other person only has virtues
    • No matter how unhappy you’re feeling, you don’t say anything but hide it deep and resolve to pretend you’re okay with what’s happening
    • You’re easily intimidated by anyone who is loud, talkative, bossy or simply authoritarian
    • You’re a seething mass of unspoken resentment; you’re angry, fed up and overwhelmed but you’d never dare tell anyone, just let it eat away at you inside.
  2. Honor yourself. Only you can set a boundary and stick to it. If other people perceive that you’re willing to let your boundaries be merged with their needs, sadly, there are many out there who will take that invitation and make the most of it to get their own way. And many of them lack guilt or consideration, so don’t expect them to “see the light” and suddenly become nicer to you.

    • Practice clear thinking. Before you can be clear to others, you will need to be clear to yourself. What is it that you want from life? How do you actually want to interact with other people from this point on?
    • Be prepared to challenge your irrational and catastrophic interpretations of interactions with other people––by stopping yourself from believing that the other person will give up on you if you assert yourself, you begin to clarify your own wants and needs in a much healthier way.
    • Be more optimistic and self-caring. What is important to you? Why are you so willing to set that aside for another person? Rational self talk is an important requirement for better self care (see “Tips”).
    • Practice clear speaking. Ambiguity about your wants is a major reason why some people choose to take advantage of others. If you cannot voice your preferences and limitations, then the other person will take the ambiguity and silence as acquiescence to their needs. Start making clear statements about what matters to you and why you insist on your own needs.
    • Find nice ways to say things like no, stop, not again and do it yourself. Part of the fear may be about seeming rude or selfish. Using polite language and good manners will help you a great deal, as will the realization that it is not selfish to give the best of yourself to other people and that best of you is the a fully functional, emotionally healthy human being.
  3. Seek help. Most of the behaviors listed in the previous step are not personal faults but learned helplessness, learned guilt and learned reactivity to people who have probably mistreated you in some way in the past. Once the pattern forms, it can be hard to break, especially if you have had long-term dealings with someone who was in a position of authority over you and made you feel you had to obey all the time. Don’t be harsh on yourself––these behaviors have formed as coping mechanisms, ways to protect yourself from harm and threat. The trouble is that they have now become poor coping mechanisms that keep setting you up for the same fall each time. Working through them will help you to feel happier and safer.
    • Some people are able to make a decision to work through the issues alone, perhaps with the aid of bibliotherapy or a good friend or mentor. Other people find seeing a therapist or counselor is beneficial. Whatever you feel will work for you, take that route, because it is important to restore your sense of worthiness before you will find enough strength to put a stop to other people pushing you around.
    • Explore with your therapist or through your journal writing whether you’re conflict avoidant. Those who steer clear of conflict all the time risk being taken for granted because they’re seen to always settle for “peace” in place of challenging another. The trouble with this is that the “peace” is dearly bought by shutting down your own needs instead, so that the battle rages within.
  4. Learn to stop taking other people’s demands personally. A big part of allowing oneself to be taken for granted is to treat other people’s needs as a reflection of your goodness and ability. Just because someone else asks or demands something of you does not mean that this person has a right to expect you to perform miracles, to react without complaint or to actually do what they want of you. There is no shame in pointing out your own needs and prioritizing them when you know that doing so is the fairer outcome.

    • People who respond to an unwillingness to do something for them may use emotional blackmail, such as telling you that you’re lazy, mean, or selfish. They might suggest that by placing your interests above theirs that you don’t care about them. Any such talk is manipulative, aimed at making you give into their own selfish preferences and if they are unable to see the irony in their behavior, that is not your mission to fix. Simply protect yourself above all and let them learn that you’re not willing to be their pushover.
    • Remind yourself that another person’s lack of planning or understanding is not your emergency. It’s a lesson for them to learn that they need to be better organized or more self-responsible, rather than being manipulative, angry or bossy.
  5. Realize that setting boundaries is about balance, not withdrawal. Some people fear asserting boundaries lest they be seen as selfish and unwilling to do anything for anyone. This is just as black and white an approach as always saying yes. Realize that boundary-setting is a practice of moderation, in which you assess requests for your help with discernment and choose to help when you know it is the right thing to do and it won’t deplete you. Boundary-setting is about teaching those around you that your availability to acquiesce to their needs is dependent on the worthiness of the request, not on how much they can push your buttons when they feel like it. In other words, it’s about asserting your right to being respected and in turn, respecting them when they have earned such respect.

Dealing with the other person

In individual cases, you may need to take an active stance with a person to show that you’ve changed and won’t accept being taken for granted any longer. While you cannot change another person, you can notify them that you’re no longer willing to play by the rules that they set, even if this upsets them.

  1. Talk directly to the offender. Don’t hedge or beat about the bush––come out and state the fact that you cannot do something and give the reason why. Explain that your time matters as much as anyone else’s and that you don’t accept being treated as if you are always available no matter what else is happening. Remain polite and don’t make it personal; be firm and make it clear that you mean what you say.

    • Stick with “I” language. It’s easy to fall into the trap of saying things like “you make me feel about 1 inch high” and “you have made me miserable these past years” but all that does is make the other person defensive and they’ll come up with a long list of rebuttals that can make your head spin (which risks you feeling so bad you give in again). Instead, stick with explaining how things impact you and start your sentences with such phrases as “I feel”, “I want”, “I need”, “I am going to” and “I am doing this from now on”. No need to get all emotional, even though undoubtedly you will feel this way inside. Instead, use facts and straightforward statements to bolster your wants and decisions from this point on.
    • When you first start asserting yourself, it’s really easy to fall into the pattern or using smiles, giggling or trying to self-efface because it’s really scary standing up for yourself when you haven’t done it before (or in a long time). However, avoid doing anything like giggling or attempting to soften the blows with lots of smiles because this signals that you’re not serious and the other person may well just treat this as a one-off case of the jitters and resume treating you the same way the next time. Don’t grimace or look stern but do adopt a business, poker-like face that you’d see on a professional in their daily work––matter of fact, straight to the point and no messing about.
    • Stay calm. Above all, keep your resentment, anger or frustration under control. While there may be plenty of negative emotions within you, focus on presenting a calm front and letting the other person know that you’re not unstable or attacking but that you do mean business.
  2. Find a script. It can be helpful to rehearse what you want to say to the other person before you explain what will happen from this point on. Write it down, read it through and get comfortable with the main points. Nobody ever remembers verbatim a rehearsed script like this because the emotions and context will require changes as you go, but it does help to have your mind primed by having gone through something along the lines of what you want to say. For example:
    • Sally: Hi, I just wanted to talk to you about something.
    • Elizabeth: Yes?
    • Sally: You asked me yesterday if I could babysit your son. But I have already babysat him twenty times in the past month. Unfortunately I can’t babysit him today again, because I have a few errands to run and then I have my own children’s needs to attend to.
    • Elizabeth: What… but you promised!
    • Sally: Elizabeth, I don’t remember promising you anything. I have things to do, too, you know. Sometimes I am very busy, and I won’t always be available.
    • Elizabeth: But I’m your best friend!
    • Sally: I know you are. And I am yours––it’s just that I am not your babysitter on call. Liz, I am fine with watching your son on occasion, but I can’t do this all the time, and definitely not without notice. From now on, please promise me you won’t keep asking me for constant babysitting favors. I will notify you in the future when I am available to babysit but right now I need a break from it. Thanks for your understanding.
  3. Try hard to avoid viewing each encounter as a “negative confrontation”. The idea of “confrontation” suggests a battle of wills in which someone wins and someone loses. This is not what you’re after––think about wanting an outcome that is constructive, in which the person at the other end learns something about you they didn’t know before and you have the opportunity to clear the air. Seek a win-win situation, in which this person knows that you will respect them and be happy to help with worthy requests but that you will no longer be at their beck and call for anything trivial, demeaning or that takes advantage of you.
    • When you feel that this is turning into a battle of wills, remind yourself of the end outcome and what you really want. In most cases, it is to reassert yourself and get to a healthy relationship in which both of you are comfortably aware of the boundaries.
    • Remember reciprocation. In most cases you won’t be seeking to shut down all requests for help, just those that don’t respect your boundaries or dignity. By all means make it clear when you will be there for the other person, such as when they give birth, fall ill, need a once-a-year break or need occasional help with something you’re expert at. You determine how much help you’re willing to give and then make it absolutely clear.
  4. Be consistent. Make it clear to the offender that when you say “no”, you mean it. Don’t give in to any manipulations; instead, stand your ground. Remember, if you can’t stick with your boundaries, then you will most likely continue to be taken advantage of. Consistency means that from this point onward, you stick to the clear boundaries you’ve defined with this person and don’t allow leakage; the moment you allow any boundary-crossing, being taken for granted risks starting up all over again.
    No more boundary leakage...

    No more boundary leakage…

    • For example, say that you have told George that you’ll mow his lawns and check his mail when he is overseas in September. George goes away and you duly do as said. Then George leans on you when he returns by telling you what a great mowing job you’ve been doing while he was away and could you continue to do it every month. This isn’t something you’re the least bit keen about. If you agree, then you’ve shown an inconsistency and George may well end up asking you to trim the hedges, wash the deck and prune the trees as well. If you don’t agree, explaining that your help was an example of when you’re willing to help out once in a while, then George will know you mean it.

Edit Tips

  • Be assertive while being friendly; remember to still be polite. Rudeness won’t change a thing but it does give a hook to the other person to insist that you owe them because you have hurt their feelings.
  • Rational thinking and self-soothing can help you a lot if you’re compelled to do other people’s bidding out of fear of losing the relationship. Rational thinking helps you to stop making things up about the other person’s tenuous interest in you and can help you see that the truth is that the other person needs you just as much (if not more) and in most cases, won’t run off. And if he or she does, you’re better off for it. Avoid making assumptions and instead, look for evidence and stop mind reading. Finally, assert yourself by asking directly when you don’t know something.
  • Prevention is the key. In the future, avoid doing any ‘big things’ or making sacrifices for people unless you can really afford the time, effort, money, and so forth. Avoid letting occasional favors turn into the new status quo.

Edit Warnings

  • Be wary if a person doesn’t offer a “thank you” after you do something nice for them. This is a warning sign that they are taking you for granted and to nip the situation, or even the relationship, in the bud. Expectation breeds contempt.
  • Obviously, don’t take other people for granted. If you are doing this, stop, go back, and understand the stress you are putting others through. Sometimes someone who is suffering from being put down themselves can do it to others who are seemingly more vulnerable, as a way of getting even somewhere in life’s account. Rather than tit for tatting, be empathetic and detect and respond compassionately to the other person’s feelings.
  • Sometimes, in certain situations, it’s best to not confront the offender, especially if the person is extremely rude or even violent. It’s better to stay away from people that act like that and prevent them from contacting you again. If you have any fears that a person may react violently and you cannot get away from them, seek outside help, such as through a refuge, the police, counselors, family or friends not associated with this person, etc. Do not put up with harm––life is not a dress rehearsal and you’re nobody’s puppet.

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April is Alcohol Awareness Month. How to Deal With an Alcoholic Parent

Alcoholism is a chronic disease that makes a person’s body dependent upon alcohol. The person may be obsessed with alcohol and unable to control how much they consume, even though they know that their drinking is causing serious health, relationship, and financial problems.[1]

Alcoholism is a problem that spreads far and wide, and is one that affects people of all walks of life. Many families are affected each day by alcohol abuse. The problem often goes beyond just getting drunk – emotional abuse, money problems, and even physical abuse can contribute to alcoholism. Dealing with an alcoholic parent is never easy, but there are ways to cope.

This article assumes you’ve already determined that your parent is an alcoholic. It makes no assumptions about your other parent’s role, which may, or may not be helpful or even relevant.

Edit Steps

  1. Understand the causes of alcoholism. The most common cause is depression. It doesn’t happen very often that a person becomes an alcoholic without being depressed; moreover, drinking does nothing but make one even more depressed. The only difference between being depressed when sober and when drunk is that people forget about themselves and can lose control of their actions when drunk. It’s important to know that despite some actions are blamed on loss of control, the overall responsibility of their control is up to them. They are the ones who make the choice to drink, and so the person who drinks somehow eases a burden by pushing that responsibility off onto someone, or something, else. It’s more difficult to deal with your problems when sober; when you’re drunk you can refuse responsibility for everything.
  2. Try talking to your parent when she or he is sober. Find a time when both of you are calm and your parent has not been drinking. Sit your parent down and discuss how his or her alcoholism makes you feel. Explain the problems that have arisen because of the drinking. You will probably not be able to convince your parent to stop drinking completely, but you can at least encourage less drinking and try to inject some realism into their understanding of the impacts.
    • Make it clear what behavior you will and won’t tolerate. This is not about telling a parent what to do––it’s about ensuring your own safety and well-being. Say that if they keep getting drunk, you will take action (such as getting in help, leaving to stay with someone else, etc.).
    • Encourage your parent to talk about possible reasons for the depression that fuels it. Showing compassion is not the same thing as tolerating or enabling your parent. You can encourage seeking therapy for the depression but don’t be discouraged if the parent refuses to entertain this idea––it’s fairly confronting as it requires taking responsibility.
    • Ask your parent to take a gradual approach to reducing their reliance on alcohol. It won’t work asking them to stop drinking at once but you can tell them to at least decrease the amount of drinking day by day or week by week.
  3. Avoid arguing with a drunk parent. A heated argument with a drunk parent is one you will rarely win and it will make the drinker clamp up in any future talks. There is a risk of you getting physically hurt too. In addition, your parent may not even remember the argument the next day, though she or he might remember that they were mad at you.
    • Avoid sounding as if you’re accusing or nagging.
  4. Stay consistent. If you tell your alcoholic parent that you will do certain things as a consequence of their drinking, stick to it. Inconsistency will only make your parent realize that you don’t mean what you say and lets them continue to pull the emotional triggers that keep you stuck in enabling their behavior.
    • Do not facilitate your parent’s alcoholism by purchasing or obtaining alcohol for him or her. Equally, don’t provide money for your parent to get alcohol with. If you’ve already gotten into a pattern like this, realize that while it will be hard to stop doing so, it is important to be consistent with your desire to see them sober again.
  5. Realize that your parent’s alcoholism is not your fault. Many alcoholic parents blame their children for their alcoholism. Even without having the finger pointed at you, it may feel like the fault is yours. It isn’t. Your parent is the one who chooses to drink, not you. Part of the allure of alcohol is that it does allow a person to become a bit more “Teflon-coated”––in other words, rather than taking responsibility for their life and actions, alcohol lubricates the ability to level blame at others.
    • You may feel resentment, especially if you’ve had to take over household chores and responsibilities for things like paying bills.
  6. Let your feelings out.

    Let your feelings out.

    Let your feelings out. Get a journal and write down everything you feel. Or, if you’re afraid your parent will find it, get an online journal and make it private. Clearing your history will help minimize the chances of getting caught. Keeping a journal may help you put your feelings into words. Finding ways to express your feelings will help you process and deal with them, whereas bottling them up inside will simply create a pressure-cooker type situation––and when you blow, it may be spectacular. That’s not desirable. Instead, try to deal with things in smaller, daily bits.

    • Looking after your feelings and yourself should be a number one priority. Worrying all of the time about a parent’s alcoholism is ultimately draining and can leave you feeling upset, confused and embarrassed. Exploring your feelings is an important part of acknowledging them.
  7. Don’t depend on your parent or trust what she or he says she or he will do unless your parent has proven that you can depend on him or her. For example, if you’re going out somewhere, make sure you have a backup plan in case your parent gets drunk and can’t (or forgets to) pick you up. Always have backup plans, options and other people to help you out of tight spots if needed. Being resourceful will stand you in good stead both now and in the future.
  8. Do things that will take your mind off the situation at home. Go out with your friends often and have fun. Joining a sports team, reading, and drawing are also good activities that will help you escape when you need a break. There is not much you can do to control your own situation at home, so staying when you can with reliable friends who care about you will help you feel more stable and in control of your own life.
  9. Do not start drinking yourself. Children of alcoholics are three to four times more likely to become alcoholics themselves. Remember everything about your parent when drunk that you do not like, and keep that in mind if you’re tempted.
  10. Get out if your parent becomes abusive. Never tolerate abuse or violence. You need to get out before things escalate or continue the way they are if the abuse has been happening for awhile.
    • Have emergency numbers ready to fast dial on your phone.
    • Know who to contact and where to go if you need a safe haven. Make sure you have enough money to get you to safety, well hidden.
    • Do not hesitate––nobody deserves to be harmed, no matter what the relationship. You are not being disloyal when you seek to protect yourself.
  11. Do not be afraid to tell someone. A best friend, school counsellor, or trusted teacher are all good choices. They won’t judge you, and they’ll try to help. And knowing there is someone who knows what you’re going through can be very comforting if things get rough.
    • It is a very good idea to tell a friend about your home’s situation, as not only will you feel better for it, you’ll also have someone “on your side”. Approach the friend (or the friend’s parents) and tell them of the severity of your parent’s drinking; bring up the topic when the time is right. Ask if you can rely on them if you need a place to spend a night or two, should your parent get out of hand.

Edit Tips

  • Always have a backup ride to take you home or to an important event, just in case your parent gets drunk before it’s time to pick you up.
  • When trying to talk to a parent, always try to catch them in a good mood when they’re sober. Try not to sound too accusing, but let them know that you’re serious.
  • Create your own support group of friends and other family. You need someone there for you.
  • Don’t get your hopes up about things your alcoholic parent tells you unless they’ve shown that they come through in the past.
  • Consider leaving as soon as possible. It isn’t healthy to depend on someone who can’t emotionally be there for you. Don’t make excuses for them, buy them alcohol, or feel sorry. Doing these things only aggravates the problem. Even if you can’t help your alcoholic parent, you can help yourself.
  • If you’re paranoid about a parent finding your journal, make sure not to write anything you can get punished for. That way your parent will only find your feelings, and it may even cause him or her to rethink their habit.
    • Examples:
    • Okay - I hate it when my mom drinks, I feel as though she isn’t my mom. I feel like she’s just someone who randomly came home from the bar and decided to parade around looking like my mom.
    • Not okay- My mom is stupid and I hate her!! I want to kill her because she drinks so much!!
  • Consider staging an intervention; make sure that there is a safe medical detox facility that your parent can go to afterwards.
  • Find a support group or simply a friend in the same situation, online or otherwise. They can help you deal with the issue, and you will have people to talk to that will know what you’re going through.
  • Al-Anon is a support group for families that have an alcoholic. See if there is one in your area. They can give you strength and support when you need it most.
  • If your parent tries to start an argument, try to keep your cool.
  • It is very important to know the difference between alcoholism and alcohol abuse.[2] Also, keep in mind that a person who drinks a beer a day cannot be considered an alcoholic.

Edit Warnings

  • Do not allow your parents to drive you anywhere while they are drunk.
  • You cannot change the way your parents are. Only they can decide that they want to change; you can only try to persuade them to want it.
  • If your parent(s) become abusive, or if you believe you are in danger, get out, and seek help.
  • If you try to talk to your parent about the problem, s/he may get defensive and angry.
  • If one parent takes you away from your other parent without informing anyone or going through proper procedures – abducts you – call the United States Child Abduction Hot-line at 1-800-100-480.
    • Depending on the laws of the state and country in which the parental abduction occurs, this may or may not constitute a criminal offense. For example, removal of a child from the UK for a period of 28 days or more without the permission of the other parent (or person with parental responsibility), is a criminal offense. In many states of the United States, if there is no formal custody order, and the parents are not living together, the removal of a child by one parent is not an offense.

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Happy Spring! The perfect time to learn how to deal with change

Changes are never far from our door, whether it’s breaking up with an ex, relocating to another area for any reason, having a best friend move away, the death of a relative, the loss of a job or a demotion or something that once meant a great deal to you but that has not turned out the way you hoped it would. Change isn’t easy but then again, it often provides an opportunity to grow in life and to test your mettle. You can cope with it, and here’s how.

Edit Steps

Preparing in advance

  1. Be prepared. Life is full of unexpected surprises; don’t let this be a lesson you refuse to learn. Death, loss, and strange situations will be a part of your life, no matter how much you may try to shelter or protect yourself from it. The major key to coping with change is to begin by accepting the reality of change and its inevitability.

  2. Notice the signs. Many a time we refuse to see what is before us. The ailing health of a loved one, the restructuring of the place we work at, the pointed comments about things needing to be different. To avoid surprise or shock at the last minute, stay alert, listen and register the signs of oncoming change. Acknowledging impending change allows you to be forewarned and forearmed. Nothing can be helped by pretending things will be okay––they may be, but equally they may not be. Putting in place options to cope with change ahead of the actual change can help you to not only deal with it but potentially thrive too.

    • Any general talk of redundancies at a workplace should be heeded. Start polishing up your resume, start looking for new jobs and start sending in applications. Even if you absolutely love where you are, it is wise to seek other options. You can always turn down another job offer but it might even make your current position more sound if your employer finds out someone else sees you as worth poaching.
    • Read about an illness if a loved one has it. Know and understand the coming stages of the illness, including what to do if the situation worsens quickly. If the illness is terminal, learn what you can about making the most of the person’s remaining time and how to make their last days comfortable and pain-free. There will be decisions you need to face that will be better for being informed while you can still think clearly.
    • If you need to move to another city, state or country, learn as much as you can about the new place before going. Use the internet to read about the new place and to find out about all the equivalent services you’re likely to need to use when you get there. Leaving a loved residence and community is never easy but you don’t need to make the change harder on yourself than it need be.
  3. Ask yourself a very useful question. Namely: “What’s the worse that could happen?” This question will force you to look a the worst case scenario then work back from there. It’s forcing yourself to look at what could go wrong and finding strategies to do your best to prevent this.
    • For example, say you have been told that you’re going to be moved to a different department at work. You think that this means you will fail in the new department because it’s not an area you know much about. What’s the worst that could happen? You could lose your job. Now work back from that: To improve your chances, what can you do? Ask for retraining, ask for books that you can study to come up to scratch, return to night school briefly to relearn that accounting you skipped over during college, etc. You might even feel it’s okay to express your concerns to a trusted supervisor. Whatever solutions you come up with, you’ve faced the worst possibility and now you have ideas to stop that from becoming an eventuality.
    • Another example could be the melding of two families because your mom has married someone new. You might think she won’t have time for you anymore or that she’ll disinherit you. Ask yourself: “What’s the worst that could happen?” Maybe it’s that she and her new husband will jetset around the world most of the year or that the new family will inherit things you were meant to get. Now work back from that and ask yourself what you can do. You might raise your worry with her initially and ask that the two of you make arrangements to spend time together at regular intervals or that she clarify the will with you.

Acceptance as a strategy for coping with change

  1. Acknowledge that there’s only one thing you can control in life, and that’s yourself. Change may turn your world upside down but it’s how you react that makes the difference between coping or falling apart. Blaming others is a fairly standard response but whether or not it’s a fair assessment, blame won’t solve anything and it risks turning you bitter and leaving you feeling helpless.

    • Accept that you cannot change others. Nor do you need to take their actions as a reflection of who you are or of your personal worth. That’s a slippery slope of giving in to fate and disempowering yourself.
    • Seek to be empowered instead. Empowerment is essential for coping with change in a dignified way. The reality of the change won’t go away but by understanding that you can––and will––find a way through relying on both your own resourcefulness and the help of those who care about you, you will be able to roll with the change without breaking.
  2. Be discerning about advice from others. Some people have a switch that gets flicked on when they see someone else’s life falling apart. Whether it’s rescuer mode or interferer mode is neither here nor there, if the advice is unwarranted and unwelcome, then you do not need to add it to the weight already sitting on your shoulders. So what if Mrs White only grieved a week for her husband and so what if Mr Black found a new job only two weeks after being made redundant. What these people may be failing to tell you is that they’re packed up to the eyeballs with Vicodin, scoffing down half a dozen cupcakes a day or leaning on their already overwrought brother-in-law’s business to give them something new to do. People can be absolutely wonderful when the chips are down but they can also be really manipulative and thoughtless too, and you need to be discerning about peoples own motivations for offering you advice.

    • If the advice feels wrong, pushy or manipulative, then listen to your inner voice. Thank them for their help and ideas but make no commitments. Just let them know that “you’re working on it” or that “you’re already getting help thanks”. There is no need to go into copious details.
    • Be aware that a lot of people actually just don’t want to know. Hearing about change and/or loss from others brings fear to some people and causes them to don their armor in the hope you won’t infect them. Let them be––life often has a funny way of bringing about what they fear most. Look for the people who are supportive, caring and willing to listen. Even if you have to pay a counselor, get someone’s non-judgmental ear on side so that you can spill it all out now and then.

Allowing time to heal

  1. Accept that the change has knocked you flat. Acknowledging that you don’t feel like coping is the first step to picking yourself and getting up again. There is a lot of emotional pain involved in many types of change, from job loss through to death of a loved one. Each emotional upheaval is very personal and cannot be measured by any other person, whoever they be. Give yourself the time to grieve the change as well as finding ways up and out of it. If you don’t acknowledge the pain that accompanies change, there is a risk you’ll push it deep down and pretend you’re coping. In turn, this emotional time-bomb risks exploding later on, when you’re least able to cope.

    • For example, perhaps you’ve lost a job and suddenly there is no regular income coming in, no daily routine to get up for and no activity left beyond your four walls. This type of change isn’t just about the loss of income––it’s loss of place in a society that values what you do, it’s potentially the loss of the ability to keep the shelter over your head and it’s loss of dignity. By acknowledging your fears and pain outright, you can begin to sift through the feelings while coping with the practical realities that need facing now. Be patient with your feelings but aim to stay on top of the practical matters, like informing the bank you need more time, drawing up a strict budget, growing your own food, and so forth. This approach is about being gentle on yourself and can prevent you from avoiding facing the practical issues because the emotional ones feel so overwhelming that you’d prefer to shut yourself down totally.
  2. Expect new patterns of living to take time. Change is a shock because it destabilizes the life you’ve made for yourself to this point. If you had goals and they had been achieved, then change can feel like a slap in the face to your goals. All habits and routines are up for questioning when change interferes, so going slowly and easing yourself into the new is an essential strategy for coping.

    • Give yourself time to recoup. For example, if you’re grieving after a death, be it a person or a pet, acknowledge that how you grieve and how long you grieve for are decisions only you can make. Nobody else can rush you, no matter what they insist. Time is very subjective and only you can say whether or not your mourning is done with. Indeed, there is much evidence that those who do not grieve end up experiencing breakdowns and the inability to cope at unexpected times.
    • Recouping is not about giving up to hopelessness. As suggested earlier, cherish your feelings but continue to deal with life’s practical day-to-day decisions both as a way of reintroducing routine to your life and to ensuring that your daily life is not harmed by indecision and complacency.
  3. Cherish the memories but nourish the future too. With grief for death, there will always be a piece of your heart missing but if you accept this and you’re willing to carry the memories as lively as can be for the rest of your life, this will help you reach some acceptance of what has happened. If it is a job loss or some other personal loss that is not death, you still need mourning time to assuage your sadness and grief over a loss of something that once filled a large part of your life. Perhaps a small ending ceremony of some sort will help to give you a sense of closure and allow you to move forward; it may help you to read How to Get Closure.

Restoring equilibrium in your life

  1. Adopt a purposeful approach to recovery from change. Restating, refinding or finally finding your purpose in life can be a very powerful way of putting change into context in your life. Initially you may feel resistance to the idea that your sense of purpose in life is either missing or skewed, but change can actually awaken the quest for re-examining what truly matters to you. Allow this to be an opportunity to renew or reroute your purpose in life.

    • Have you been true to yourself in life? Sometimes you might discover that you’ve wandered off the path of what matters to you and that you’ve been pursuing someone else’s dreams or expectations.
    • Has this change shown you that perhaps there are cracks in the dreams and goals you held for yourself? You might have achieved all that you set out to get, only to discover that this has been a fairly hollow victory. Can the change teach you how to get back to a pathway that aligns with what fulfills you?
    • Do you still have self-belief? Losing a loved one, a job or a home can shake this aspect of yourself. Remembering that what others say or do does not define who you are, it’s time to restore your self-belief by remembering what counts in your life and deciding practical ways to go about restoring that.
    • Are you reacting to change or are you shaping the change? A purposeful approach to change and life in general, is to take the curveballs and toss them right back, all the while fielding the other balls coming your way. Change won’t go away but make this the time that you roar back at change and set a precedent for how you’ll deal resourcefully with future change in your life.
    • Nobody is asking you to dismantle who you are. If anything, change is the very time during which your true character rises to the top. But is that character as polished and healthy as you’d wish it to be? Examine yourself, be truthful and set about improving anything you think you could be better.
  2. See change as opportunity. Change is an opportunity to re-examine the life you’ve been leading to see whether you’ve been making the right choices, paying too much (time, money, effort) for leading a lifestyle that isn’t bringing you happiness or being aimless rather than making choices that make you the leader of your life. Although devastating, each of the following types of change can bring a silver lining:
    Just as the phoenix rises from the ashes, in what ways can you renew your life after dramatic change?

    Just as the phoenix rises from the ashes, in what ways can you renew your life after dramatic change?

    • Grief can lead to greater understanding of the cycle of life from birth to death. It can bring you a renewed sense of purposeful vigor and a decreased fear of your own death. It can shock you out of complacency about putting up with second best. And it can help you renew your investment of time spent with family and friends.
    • Job loss can lead to meeting people you never knew existed and finding possible new things to do with your skills and creativity. It can also help you to see how little you enjoyed your last job but clung to it just for the sake of surviving. The gain in time from job loss can sometimes be a total surprise, when you find you can save money by doing many things yourself from scratch precisely because you do have the time. It can also be a time of changing your occupation, perhaps with a small skills upgrade, to work in something you really do love doing.
    • Moving to a new place can lead to meeting new people and opening up amazing new opportunities. It can broaden your understanding of people and your place in the world and it can bring many new activities into your life that you never considered before.

Moving on

  1. Leave complaining and blaming behind you. When a change thrusts you into constant complaining and blaming, it can be understandable for a short period of time. Friends and family will rally at the beginning of a misfortune. However, as time progresses, constant complaining turns you into your family’s and friend’s misfortune and does absolutely nothing to improve your state of affairs. Rather, you may alienate the very people who would be happy to support you through your hardships if you turn into a grouch and someone who feels permanently victimized and scolds the entire world for your troubles.

    • A little ranting is fine at the beginning; a sourpuss for life is someone who becomes increasingly isolated. Do not allow this to happen to you.
    • Seek to be an optimist who has faced the worst possible scenario but still knows that life will go on, regardless. Do what you can to make things better and remember that action is the best antidote against falling into a heap.
  2. Let go of what has happened and move on. You cannot remain rooted in the current or a past situation. It may feel comfortable and returning to a habit is always the simpler path of least resistance. Yet, change requires change from you as well and you will need to learn to resist turning back to the past and trying to recreate what once was. Forge on into the future and stand proud. Use what you have learned but don’t let it use you.

Edit Tips

  • Sometimes a sudden drastic change in life is also a good time to change habits you’ve wanted to change for a long time. Since everything is different, it’s a good time to set in habit changes. Try your new habit for three weeks, if it sticks you were ready to make that change and it’s an achievement in itself.
  • Seek support online from people who have gone through the same type of change as you have. Look for forums about that change, whether it’s divorce, death, relocation or job loss.
  • Grieve and take care of your feelings. Even if the big change in your life is a happy one like getting married or moving to a place you always wanted to live, accept that there will be some emotional losses and work through them privately. Don’t drag down your closest loved ones with the down side of a happy change in life, talk to people who’ve been through it before and ask how they adapted.
  • Go gradually when trying to make things better for yourself. It is better to do small things here and there than nothing at all. For example, you might want to make a little cash to help ease financial woes while you look for a new job. You might have some clothes to sell on eBay but you feel overwhelmed by the whole process of photos, descriptions, shipping and feedback. Just try one single item. Then two. Then three. Then keep it at a maximum of 10 items at any one time. Don’t fall for the need to be some sort of “power-seller”. A dollar here and there soon adds up and soon frees your wardrobe up from clutter. Suddenly, you might find $ 100 has accumulated in the bank all because you bothered to keep trying in small ways. You will get there if you persevere.
  • If you find yourself constantly blaming others, teach yourself to stop. Write down keywords that you think signal an oncoming rant, such as the names of people who really bug you, issues that really bug you, and emotional feeling words that you often use when ending up in a rant. Use these keywords as warnings to stop, take a breather and to reframe your thinking. It will take a little practice but it’s a lot kinder on your long-term health than carrying the burden of blame and hatred.

Edit Warnings

  • Don’t beat yourself up in the attempt to find good things in change. Sometimes change brings so much negativity that facing it is an enormous hardship. The bouncy phrases of joy and action-less affirmations will not do it for you. In such cases, seek others to lean on. People who can be of help include family, friends and professional counselors.
  • Take care not to wear out those close to you. This is a good reason why a neutral, professional outsider will often be your best choice if you need long-term support. If you have long-held emotional issues, a counselor is the right person for unburdening yourself to. Remember that those close to you are already going through the change experience with you and may be unable to cope with your deep-seated problems too.
  • Change is hard on everyone. Sometimes a lot of change happens when you’re already weighed down by earlier changes. In this case, do not hesitate to reach out for help, as getting back on your feet matters more than pride or stubborn wilfulness.

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Beware the Ides of March! How to Deal with a Backstabber

When you realize a friend has been talking about you in negative and detrimental ways behind your back, what should you do? After the initial shock at the sense of betrayal wears off, it’s important to salvage what you can and mend your own feelings. Follow these few steps to get a good friend to stop the backstabbing.

Edit Steps

  1. Ask your friend if you can have an important, quiet chat together. Tell your friend that you’ve heard negative rumors about you that were apparently sourced from your friend and that you’re trying to clear up things as quickly and carefully as possible.
  2. Clarify your position. If the things said are only known by that friend, make this clear when bringing it up. There is little point in beating around the bush when this is clearly the case. However, say it kindly and with tact.
  3. Speak Calmly. Yelling and getting over emotional usually doesn’t help the situation. Talk in a calm voice.
  4. Seek out your friend’s side of the story before making assumptions about what has happened. Use open-ended questions to encourage discussion and avoid asking specific ones or grilling your friend. Simply ask what happened. Listen attentively and stay sympathetic.
    • Ask your friend how he or she felt about what they said or did.
    • Avoid interrupting. There may be a temptation to correct things they are saying but don’t; just listen for now.
    • Always talk to your friend away from other people. You can’t have a serious conversation about your relationship issues when other people are around.
    • If your friend won’t answer or evades the issue, persist gently but don’t push. It is important to avoid lapsing into a rant or an angry tirade against your friend, as this will only cause him or her to withdraw even further. Getting caught doing something negative to a friend is beyond embarrassing; it’s mortifying and most people know it’s an issue of broken trust. You’re working with fragility and shame, so take it carefully. If your friend continues to ignore you, don’t persist for now. Say that you’ll get back to them when they’ve had time to reflect on it. Leave time to simply cool off and reserve the talk for another time.
  5. Tell your side of the story next. Keep a calm and steady voice and use words that express your feelings. Avoid making statements that are accusations. Simply explain how their actions have made you feel. Be as nice as possible but don’t sound desperate, accusatory or angry. Stick to the known facts and preface anything you’re unsure about with comments such as “I don’t know if it’s true but X said…”, etc. to show that you are still trying to make sense of the unknown, rather than presuming anything.
    • Don’t mention the person who told you. If they mention names, take your cue from there.
  6. Bear in mind that people who are more removed from you than your friend may have an ax to grind or simply like to stir up trouble. It is important to keep an open mind before launching into accusing your friend of letting you down and spreading rumors about you. Consider what you know about the people who have fed the stories back to you and what their agenda might be. Consider also why you think your friend might have said something she or he shouldn’t have––perhaps something slipped out without meaning to, perhaps a mistaken belief that someone else knew something caused your friend to elaborate or perhaps your friend was clueless about the real intentions of the person she or he spoke with. While your friend’s reasons aren’t excuses for their own behavior over which they have control, they are important aspects for you to consider when working out how you feel about the friendship from this time forth.
  7. Ask your friend if you have done something to bring on this bout of backstabbing. It’s important to know whether you have somehow (even if the logic behind your friend’s thinking is illogical, odd or wrong) contributed to this state of affairs. Perhaps they think that you’ve hurt them in some way and that this is a way of “getting back” at you for something you’ve said or done. Perhaps there has been a misunderstanding. At this point, it’s important to clarify the possibility that your friend sees things in this light.
    • If you have done something to hurt your friend, apologize. Even if you did nothing wrong objectively, apologize for reacting with anger or simply for just what happened. Say something like: “I’m sorry if I hurt you in any way. It does not matter whose fault it is. I apologize for any hurt feelings this may have caused in our friendship and I am sorry that this has happened. Let us both try to put this aside and be friends again.”
    • Know the difference between using “being hurt” by you as an excuse and genuine feelings of being hurt. This is only something you can judge from the circumstances at the time but it should be fairly clear to you. For example, a friend who says she backstabbed you because you owed her money and she was scared of not being able to pay her rent is making a mountain out of a molehill; whereas a friend who says she backstabbed you because you stole her boyfriend may have some justification in feeling hurt (depending on the context).
  8. Tell your friend that you consider that friendship is stronger than rumors and gossip, and that you’re absolutely willing to work through whatever has happened to restore the trust in your friendship and move forward from this episode.
    • Ask your friend what he or she needs from you. This may vary, depending on the situation (namely, whether it arose as a result of envy, a misunderstanding, anger, etc.).
    • Explain to your friend what you need from your friend now. Use the “I-message” formula: I feel _____ when you _______ and I need for you to _______.
    • Be ready to meet both needs. This is where the resolution begins. You begin understanding each other and the situation. As you hear similar needs from each other, the differences are put aside and you are able to work things through. Brainstorm together a few, or as many, ideas of how your situation may be resolved. Try your hardest to meet both needs. There may be room for negotiation and/or compromise. Be ready to give up a part of your needs in turn for making the both of you happy.
    • Tell your friend how you feel about the decision and ask him or her if they’re content with it as well.
    • Be flexible. Perhaps you need to accept that your friend did something very stupid but has a learned a solid lesson and won’t be doing it again. Staying objective allows you to accept the hurt and move on.
  9. Slowly build back trust. Do not let these wounds stay forever and block ability to share secrets or be open and honest with another person. Life brings us trialing moments where trust gets broken, however temporarily or easily. The way in which we respond to that breach of trust says much about our own character as well as about the other person. The more resilient we are, the more likely we are to be merciful and give a person we care about another chance, setting aside outrage as an excuse to stay stuck in being hurt ourselves. Try once more and give your friend another chance, especially given the boundaries you’ve set together from the previous step.
    • Be willing to forgive. Let go of any anger and try to focus on the good things about your friend. He or she will come around.
    • Talk over any further disagreements and other obstacles. Make this a clear necessity of the friendship going forward, to prevent any real or perceived hurts from festering. More openness should be the key to your future together.
  10. Decide what to do if your friend is not willing to ever discuss or overcome the lapse in judgment and where you feel that the friendship is no longer viable due to a breach of trust or irreparable differences. Perhaps this isn’t the first time it has happened, or perhaps your friend is already moving on from your friendship and this was a cheap shot way to rupture it. In such cases, protect yourself and go into damage control.
    • Stick with the “I statement” method and tell your former friend how you feel. Explain why you no longer feel able to remain friends (breach of trust, a loss of honesty, outgrowing each other, etc.)
    • Realize that while what has happened was disloyal, you cannot shoulder the blame for what happened or use it as a reason to distrust other people from this point. Your former friend chose to do what he or she did and the motivation and consequences rest entirely with them.
    • Talk to someone else you trust, perhaps a parent, a spouse, another friend or even a counselor. Discuss what happened with someone neutral who can reassure you that your hurt is real but that you will also overcome what has happened. It is just important to have a shoulder to lean on at such a time.
    • Avoid seeking revenge. Thoughts of revenge may flit in and out but never act on them. Revenge is all-consuming and has a tendency to cause the person acting in revenge to stoop to the level of the person they’re angry with. Forgive, learn and move on.

Edit Tips

  • Be honest. Don’t embellish what you’ve overheard or being told.
  • Avoid asking them anything by email or text. This is something to be done face to face only. Besides, it is harder to ignore or make up things when you’re both present together.
  • Stay kind. This is your friend, at least up to this point.
  • Try to sound understanding when you talk.
  • Give it time. Time solves, many many things and time heals hurt feelings.
  • Denial from your friend can be undermined through an apology from you, whether or not it’s warranted. For example, if your friend says something like: “I’m not mad at you, why are you trying to start stuff like that?”, just apologize for overstepping the mark or for pushing them too hard. You probably won’t want to, but it does help them to see that you’re genuine and that you want to patch up things.

Edit Warnings

  • Do not talk to them in front of your other friends.
  • Some friendships come to an end at various stages of our lives, for various reasons. And a cowardly way out of a friendship often involves spreading gossip or rumors about someone once considered a good friend. It’s low but feel pity for a person who wants out of a friendship in such a petty and demeaning way.
  • Do not seem desperate.
  • Do not interrogate them.
  • Avoid doing the same thing back. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
  • If you do become friends, don’t ever bring it up again.

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How to Temporarily Deal with a Water Leak

The suggestions presented here work well for minor water leaks, enough to let you get on with your life until the proper fix can be made. Just remember that this is just a temporary fix and you’ll still need to get the leak seen to by a plumber or handyperson as quickly as possible.

Edit Steps

  1. Find a container that will fit under the drip. Suitable containers include buckets, ice cream containers, large jars, plastic containers, etc. Even children’s plastic toy containers can be used in a pinch.

  2. Place the container a bit higher than where it will drain. Put it on a chair, ladder, box etc.

  3. Get some small hose or tubing. Surgical rubber and aquarium tubing can be bought at a home improvement store.

  4. To seal the tubing to the container, use hot melt glue for quick sealing. Otherwise use caulk, epoxy, silicone rubber, shoe goo, etc.

  5. Make a hole with heat, a drill or sharp object at the top of the container.

  6. Insert the tubing into the hole and seal it.

  7. Place the end of the tubing into a drain, sink, outdoors, or a very large container.

  8. With cordage or duct tape, secure the top container from tipping over and falling. Also secure the tubing so it does not put excessive pressure on the sealant.

Edit Warnings

  • This is a temporary measure. The leak may harm walls, flooring, furniture, etc. if the source is not fixed quickly.

Edit Things You’ll Need

  • Container
  • Sealant
  • Tubing

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