The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills friend Eden Sassoon recently defended putting herself in the middle of the ongoing family drama between her series co-stars (and sisters) Kyle and Kim Richards. Eden had revealed to Lisa Vanderpump that Lisa Rinna had accused Kyle of enabling Kim in her battle against addiction. “It came from a place of complete compassion and caring,” Eden revealed to PEOPLE. “And yet everyone sort of came at me in a different way like I’m meddling in their business.”
It’s never easy when family members are at odds with one another.
If you are a neutral party who’s a consistent witness to their squabbles, you probably just want to “wave your magic wand and make all the fighting go away,” exclaims Fran Greene, relationship expert and author of the upcoming book, Dating Again with Courage and Confidence: The Five-Step Plan to Revitalize Your Love Life After Heartbreak, Breakup or Divorce.
But Fran warns about allowing yourself to get sucked into the drama, even when your intentions are good. First of all, your input may not be welcomed, as evidenced on RHOBH. On the show, the Richards siblings confronted Eden – who lost her own sister to drug addiction in 2002 – to tell her that her help was not needed.
Fran says that when you try to intervene, you may be forced to take sides.
“It becomes a precarious situation, where each family member may be fighting to get you on their side of the situation,” she explains. “Not only can that become incredibly taxing, you may become the enemy of the other person, and find yourself having a difficult time with that relative.”
Still, there are those family members who are always in the role of mediator, even when they don’t try to be. “My aunt and uncle have a pretty contentious relationship,” confesses Barbara. “Whenever there is family drama, I’m always the one that has to be the go-between the two,” shares the 36-year-old dental hygienist.
“There was a death in the family, and we were making plans. I asked my aunt if we should let my uncle know all the details we were planning, and she told me he could find out on social media, for all she cared.”
If you are regulated to the role of family peacekeeper, Fran suggests listening to both sides, but refrain from intervening.
“It’s not your role to carry information back and forth between warring family parties,” Fran says. “Information can be misconstrued, and then used against you.”
Fran also says be careful not to badmouth the other family member in a moment of weakness.
You can encourage them to speak with one another, or even seek professional help – yes, there are mediators for family issues – so a truly neutral party can help them work through their differences.
In the end, you want to maintain a good relationship with both these family members. “Blood is thicker than water,” Fran declares. “If they ever realize that again themselves, you’ll appreciate being able to celebrate with both of them.”
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