I’d bet there have been times when you’ve felt a bit like “Br’er Rabbit?”
Like during the holidays, when you’ve been stuck with some relative with whom you cannot communicate.

In case you don’t remember the story of “Br’er Rabbit” … it ‘s about a Fox who plays a trick on a Rabbit by making a “baby doll” out of tar and sticking it to the side of the road.

The when the Rabbit comes upon the “Tar Baby, “ he thinks it’s real and that they might have a friendly visit. No luck. A “Tar Baby” is a “Tar Baby” and is not likely to change.

Rabbit gets frustrated. He can’t stand to be next to someone with whom he can’t communicate.

Know how that feels?

We can forgive Rabbit because he is just a rabbit and can’t  be expected to maintain control.

He hauls back, hits Tar Baby … and gets stuck. Then, when he tries to free himself with his other hand, there’s big trouble. It gets stuck too.


The real people in your life with whom you feel “stuck” are often the ones who always seem to show up, hair-triggered every time, at family events.

Make no mistake:

Nothing you do is going to change “Old Uncle Bob,” who is sure he knows everything.

But you, I’m guessing, are not a rabbit and do have a few options about how you can react to this family “bad-guy”.

Let’s say “Uncle Bob” gets on his political soapbox, at dinner, again, and that you disagree with everything he says, just as always.


1. TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND EXHALE… Think about what you’d really like to say, but don’t say it. Instead, think to yourself, “I will not be provoked. I WILL NOT BE PROVOKED.”

2.TAKE A FEW MORE BREATHS. Drink some water. Don’t get drunk.

3.LISTEN WITHOUT INTERRUPTING. When we are upset about what someone is saying, we typically want to cut the person off in order to stop our discomfort and express our disagreement or anger. (Have you also noticed how interruption just makes things worse?.)

4. TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND THINK “I will not provoke.” There’s no use in trying to change his mind. Really. You know that already.

5. LISTEN CAREFULLY FOR SOME… ANY … POINT TO WHICH YOU CAN CONCEDE. Give him the credit and say you are going to think about whatever it is. Keep your voice calm and neutral.


WORST CASE? You get to feel not quite so “stuck.”
BEST CASE? You may slow down “Uncle Bob” a bit.

Thanks For Visiting,

Email Dr. Linda

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