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How to Handle Family Conflict Following a Death Loss

By: Clare Gemima

Conflict following death loss can be complicated to navigate. The effects of grief can create rifts in families that last for years. Factors contributing to conflict include:

● Fights about material possessions

● A disruption in your support system 

● Disagreements on other topics

Fortunately, you can still keep your family from falling apart and avoid scenarios that create these disagreements. The following tips will help you handle family conflict after a death.

Tips for Handling Family Conflict Following a Death Loss

●   Understand the cause: Family members will likely be heightened emotionally after a death loss. Stress from grief can cause people to act irrationally, causing conflict when strong emotions arise. Understanding that no one is at fault can help you handle the situation more objectively.

●   Regain control: A death loss can make people feel like they’re losing control. They may try to control the entire funeral or make plans without other family members’ approval. Helping them regain feelings of power can mitigate this overstepping of boundaries.

●   Maintain communication: Without clear and frequent communication, family members can feel unsupported and alone after a death loss. Proactively planning how to handle a death’s aftermath together may help prevent disagreements. For example, use “I” statements when communicating to avoid sounding accusatory.

●   Avoid negative generalizations: Your family members may act selfishly and become angry because of their recent loss. Avoid generalizing these behaviors and emotions to prevent conflict, and remember that this doesn’t have to alter your judgments forever.

●   Seek professional help: Individual counseling and family therapy can help prevent conflict. In addition, professionals can help you determine the specific sources of conflict and provide tips on how to resolve them. 

Don’t let grief destroy your life.

Read more on recovery after a death loss with HealGrief’s other blogs and programs!

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