• Mind + Mom + Baby

How to Bounce Back When Your Family Disappoints You


We tend to lean on family the most. But when they don't support us in return, that's tough to navigate.

Most people tend to think that their family will be there for them, no matter what. Sometimes, that isn’t the case. Other times, even when your family is “there,” they can say or do things that disappoint you. 


It’s not uncommon for people to let us down. It’s harder to accept when it’s your own family. 

Truthfully, it doesn’t matter what the reason for the disappointment is. When it comes from someone you love, trust, and value, the hurt that disappointment causes can feel devastating. 


Keep in mind, it doesn’t need to take you down, and it doesn’t necessarily need to sever your relationship. Still, what can you do to bounce back if something your family has done disappoints you?  Let’s look at some steps you can take to get back on your feet and move forward. 


Acknowledge Your Feelings

Just because someone in your family disappoints you, it doesn’t mean you need to shrug it off. It’s natural to have a trusting relationship with your family. Furthermore, when a piece of that relationship is tarnished, it’s okay to feel sad or even angry. 


Instead of ignoring your feelings, acknowledge them. Focus on the situation at hand instead of digging into the past. Think about how the situation makes you feel. 


Then, try to put your feelings into words. Expressing yourself will not only help you to feel better, but it can let the person (or people) who disappointed you know what they may have done wrong. 


Figure Out What You Need

Once you fully understand how you feel, it’s essential to understand your needs to make that disappointment go away. Maybe someone in your family said or did something that needs to be rectified. Perhaps it’s something they didn’t do that let you down. 


Sometimes, nothing can change what happened, but you can still have your needs met. Things like compassion, empathy, and support are all everyday needs that we often go without under challenging situations. Mostly because we aren’t willing to acknowledge the hurt we’re going through. 


You might not be able to get what you truly need from the family that’s disappointed you. But, you can find it elsewhere—from a spouse or partner, a friend, or even from a therapist or counselor. 


It’s Okay to Set Boundaries

Your priority should be to take care of yourself. If you’ve confronted this family member or multiple family members on why they’ve disappointed you, that’s a good start. But, it’s up to them to make things right or change their ways. If they refuse to change or repeat harmful patterns, you have every right to set boundaries for your well-being. 


It’s not always easy to do, especially with family members. But, boundaries help to keep you safe, emotionally. They can also show that you value your self-worth. Make it clear to the family members who have disappointed you that you won’t tolerate that kind of behavior anymore. If they continue to disappoint you, taking a step back is the healthy thing to do. 


Again, it’s not as easy to deal with disappointment from a family member as it is with other people. We’re wired to think a family should be there for us, no matter what. Unfortunately, we’re all just people, and people have flaws and make mistakes. However, you don’t have to put up with a relationship that is draining you or causing emotional turmoil. 

If you’re struggling with disappointment from your family and you’re not sure what to do, feel free to contact me. Together, we’ll go over how to acknowledge and manage your emotions. We’ll work out where you can go from here to protect yourself and keep moving forward. I offer a complimentary phone consultation to all potential clients. To schedule yours in a matter of seconds, please check here.


To learn more about how counseling can help our your parenting journey, please click here.


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Jennifer Perera is a mom, spouse and Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has over a decade’s worth of experience in mental health. She has a private practice in New Jersey, with locations in Cranford and Princeton. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual, group and couples counseling. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum periods and those coping with a pregnancy loss or infertility. Her other passion is travelling to different parts of the world and her goal is to vacation in a different locale every time. She also has a great fondness for cats!

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