3 Ways to Respond When Your Family Doesn’t Listen to You

You’d be shocked at how many families don’t listen to each other! Here, you’ll find comfort and support while learning what to do when your family won’t listen to you. 

Let’s start with some good news, shall we? You’ve dealt with enough pain, disappointment, and frustration. You may be carrying heavy burdens; my hope and prayer is that you soon feel lighter, happier, and more hopeful about your life. And your family 🙂 

Speaking about life — and families who won’t listen — here’s an encouragement from a She Blossoms reader: “The good news is that it is possible to have a wonderful life even if you feel like nobody cares,” says Lily on What to Remember When You Feel Like No One Cares. “You can care about yourself. You don’t have to let your family determine your value or your worthiness. You can’t make your family care [or listen to you], but you can determine how deeply you are going to let them impact you.”

Your family is important. You love them; they’re part of your heart and soul. You’ve known them your whole life. You want to have good relationships with them…and you need to know that your family is listening when you talk. 

Feeling — and actually being — heard is crucial in any relationship. Being heard, especially by your family members, is the foundation of a healthy self-image and identity. However, you can’t force people to listen and it doesn’t work to simply talk more or louder. So what do you do when your family doesn’t hear you?

3 Things to Do When Your Family Won’t Listen

This article is part of my She Blossoms Through the Bible project; the three tips are inspired by Genesis 34. This chapter offers a brief glimpse into Dinah’s experience with a man called Shechem. We have no idea exactly what happened between Dinah and Shechem because nobody was listening to her — not even her family members. The Biblical writer didn’t give her a voice so we can’t listen to her, either.

But we can learn from her silence.

1. Speak up even when you don’t feel heard 

3 Things to Do When Your Family Won’t Listen to You

Genesis 34 starts with Dinah, Leah and Jacob’s daughter. She went out to see some of the young women in her area, and was defiled by Shechem. Dinah’s brothers Simeon and Levi were “deeply grieved and very angry, for Shechem had committed an outrage against Israel” (verse 7). In this chapter, Moses describes what Dinah’s brothers and father did in response to this “outrage against Israel” (not against Dinah herself) but we don’t hear from her. Did she speak up even though her family wouldn’t listen? We don’t know how she felt about Shechem. We don’t know if she was friends with the women she visited, but we see she was curious, adventurous, and independent. Dinah liked people; she sought them out. She explored her community. This makes me wonder if Dinah tried to talk to her family about what happened, but her brothers and father wouldn’t listen.

When your family doesn’t listen, what do you do? I recently had a frustrating experience with a family member; I kept telling her that I love a particular food. She kept saying I wouldn’t like the brand she bought. I kept telling her that that’s the exact brand I buy and eat for lunch every day. She refused to listen to me and I kept repeating myself. Now, I see my mistake: I wasted valuable time and energy trying to tell her something that doesn’t even matter. It was unimportant, and I should’ve let it go the first time she didn’t hear me. It wasn’t worth arguing about.

Your turn: What are you trying to tell your family members? On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is it? The higher the number, the more important it is! If something is important and meaningful, keep speaking up even if you don’t feel heard. If it’s a low number (my experience was a 1), then let it go.

2. Find people who will listen to you

Genesis 34 doesn’t tell us who Dinah talked to if her family wouldn’t listen — or if she talked to anyone. Maybe the women in the field heard or knew her story. Dinah stayed with Shechem for at least three days; maybe he or his family listened to her. Maybe Dinah’s mother Leah listened to her, or maybe they had a difficult mother-daughter relationship. There are so many mysteries that could’ve been solved if Dinah’s family had listened to her and shared her story. But they didn’t. Her family disregarded her experience. I can’t imagine how Dinah felt, but I suspect she didn’t feel heard. When your family doesn’t listen to you, you feel like you don’t matter. It hurts.

Who do you talk to? It takes courage, honesty, and humility to open up about your feelings — especially if your family won’t listen to you. When you don’t feel important or heard in your family, you feel unimportant in the world. You feel worthless. When your thoughts, feelings and experiences don’t matter to your family, who else cares? Your family is supposed to love you. When your family doesn’t listen, you feel like nobody else will.

It’s crucial to replace these feelings of worthlessness with the truth. The truth is that you matter even if your family won’t listen to you. The truth is that God created you for a purpose. Your life has meaning and value no matter what your family says, does, or believes. Your job is to find people who will listen and treat you with respect. Don’t let your family’s response change your self-image. Root your identity in Jesus’ love for you. Know that He is always listening and always present…even when you feel alone and lonely.

3. Be humble 

Genesis 34 reveals how hard-hearted, cruel, and deceitful Dinah’s brothers were. One Bible commentator even said that her brothers’ response indicated a bitter, toxic family environment. Jacob, Dinah’s father, had often lied, cheated, stole and ran away in the past. Her family members weren’t loving, kind, compassionate or honest with each other. This makes me think Dinah’s family didn’t listen to her. Finding out what she thought and felt wasn’t a priority; they were more concerned with their reputation in the community. It wasn’t Dinah’s fault that her family wouldn’t listen. Dinah’s family’s response to her didn’t change who she was. Her family may have planted seeds of worthlessness and low self-identity, but she had power to change how she saw herself.

What to Do When Your Family Won’t Listen to You

Can you open up and talk to people who will listen? “I can’t talk about how I feel because I’m not allowed,” says a reader in response to Where Was God When This Happened to Me and My Family? “I called a family member but they were having a good day and I didn’t want to ruin it. I said everything is fine, I just called to tell them that I love them. I reached out to a friend last night, but I didn’t want to come across as needy or dump my problems on someone else. I am seeing a counselor, but it’s the time between sessions that I struggle. Nobody will listen to me…they don’t hear me. I need to feel heard but no one listens. No one cares that I’m drowning in pain.”

Don’t let pride stop you from talking to people who care about you. Don’t let your fear or ego you from reaching out to others when your family won’t listen. Don’t be foolish like I was, and argue with family members who refuse to hear you.

Your family may not listen to you, but you can find people who will. What do you need to do to ensure that you are heard? Don’t rely on other people to take care of your business. Reach out, speak up, and talk to friends and other family members who will listen.

What do you think? Your comments — big and little — are welcome below!

With His love,


P.S. Are you struggling to make a decision or find the right path in your life? Read an Easy Way to Stop Overthinking God’s Will for Your Life.


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8 thoughts on “3 Ways to Respond When Your Family Doesn’t Listen to You”

  1. My family has always sucked but I’ve usually had my boyfriend to talk to. Two of his friends have died recently and he’s been shutting me out and not calling. I’ve never told him how much it hurts when he does this because I love him more than anything and I don’t want him to feel bad. my momma hates him and thinks he “doesn’t handle his grief well”. if he’s not careful, he may never see or talk to me again.

  2. I read your article this morning after another gut wrenching coversation with my husband last night. At 55 I am at a place in my life where I am at the lowest low but starting to, very slowly, climb up out of the worthlessness that I have felt my entire life. I am now realizing that a lifetime of depression that I suffered, was and still is a result of never being heard or really loved. This article feels as if it was written just for me. I have just recently reached out to complete strangers and am slowly realizing that I do have value. People actually respect and listen to what I have to say, intelligent people at that. I am starting to realize I am not the one that is crazy and unlovable. Just as you had mentioned I’m struggling between therapist appointments and I am trying not to act out of desperation when my loneliness gets overwhelming at times. Thank-you so much for giving me hope and making me see that I’m not the only one with these feelings.

    1. Val, thank you for sharing your experience! I’m so glad you’re here. Your comments and thoughts matter more than you’ll ever know. You yourself matter more than you realize. You’re slowly starting to awaken to your true worth, value, and identity. You’re starting to break free of the chains of worthlessness, depression, and unlovability.

      You are healing. Your family may not have listened to you in the past, but you are on the road to a different family. I don’t know what your new “family” will look like, but I believe you’ll find a healthy, loving, good group of people to belong to. I pray for your future and current relationships, and thank God for your wisdom and courage. He hasn’t left you alone – Jesus has been calling this whole time, and He loves you more than you know. You are worth so much, Val, that He gave His life so you could live in joy, peace, and freedom!

      May you find strength, peace, and healing as you move forward into a new season of life. I pray for your spiritual and emotional health, that you find freedom from depression and worthlessness. Jesus, touch Val’s heart, mind, body and spirit in a powerful way. Show her what she needs to do; give her the strength to move forward with You. Help her learn how much You love her, God. Help her shine in the light of your glory. Amen, amen, and amen!

      With His love,

      1. Laurie, thank you for your kind words. Those I mostly hear only from people outside of my own family and that is what is helping my recovery and gaining my selfworth.


  3. This is a definite problem with society today. If you have a problem or need someone to talk to when you are upset or distressed, it is looked on as not being a “strong person”, and no one really wants to hear you. Even if they do listen, all they want to do is judge you, or try to “help” by fixing it, or wondering why you don’t fix it yourself. I discovered this years ago, when I was going through many trials all at once, and in a row as well! My husband of 36 years left me, and I had no one to talk to. I was used to having him there to talk to, and it was so much easier when you have someone always there, and on your side, and willing to listen. But, when I no longer had my husband, I was lost. Not totally lost, because, I had Jesus by my side all the way through it all! If not for that, I don’t think I would have gotten through it. I also had a therapist, who helped me immensely. Friends and family just don’t understand sometimes, or don’t want to.

    Fortunately, I am feeling better now, (usually) about my past problems. However, I have a “new” problem. My son lives in Virginia, and I would like to communicate with him more, but it seems like we talk less and less on the phone. Texting isn’t really my thing, but I have been doing that, and lately we communicate by emails sometimes. But, he just doesn’t seem to understand that a mom needs more than that! I want to hear his voice and engage in a conversation, like we used to. I miss the talking, and the humor we have as we communicate on an actual phone call. I have been trying to convey to him and his wife that I am a Mom, not just “another person” you have to talk to.

    But, like you said, Laurie, you can’t make someone miss you, and want to talk to you, or care about you and what is going on in your life. So, I have been praying about this a lot, and asking God to help them see, and know my heart! God can do that, I know! I especially want better communication, now that they are expecting a baby in July, and I am going to be a Grandma! I need to have a close relationship with them all this year! I am excited about being a Grandma! Please pray for me and my family. Thank you, Laurie, for your posts, and all of your insight into each book of the Bible!

    1. Thank you, Bonnie, I love your honesty and authenticity! So great to hear from you here – and congratulations on being a Grandma. How exciting 🙂 Yes, I’ll definitely pray for you, your son, and his growing family. Hey! There’s no time like the present…

      Jesus, thank you so much for the blessing of a family. Thank you for giving Bonnie her son and daughter-in-law, and for blessing them with the joy and gift of a baby. Thank you for marriage relationships, for mother-son relationships, and for Bonnie’s motherly love that makes her yearn to talk to her son more often. Holy Spirit, nudge her son and daughter-in-law to talk to Bonnie more, to include her in their daily lives. I pray for wisdom for Bonnie; help her know the best ways to stay in touch her family. Give her words to speak to her son and daughter-in-law so they listen. Bless them with a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery! And maybe after the baby is born, help them see how strong and powerful a mother’s love is. Thank you for all you’ve done for us, Jesus. You are everything we need, and yet You give us so much more. Hallelujah, and amen.

      With His love,