Whatever field we work in as nurses, families will always be there as an integral part of our work. In palliative care we come into contact with these families at a very intimate time of their lives and we need to help and support them to make good choices and to manage the stress and difficulties that are inevitable in the dying journey. Working in palliative care I have found that the effects of family dynamics and relationships on dying and the ensuing bereavement are profound and in many instances have the biggest impact on the dying process. Life time relationship habits such as devotion, synergy, bullying, dominance and submissiveness, will bear much influence in the journey of dying. In our interaction with these patients and families we need to find our way through many uncomfortable situations in a way that supports the process but does not interfere with the relationship and allows us and the families to feel safe. This work looks at understanding the social context and definitions of family and relationships. It examines the evidence behind our practice, looking for new ways to work with the dying and their families in a manner that values the relationship.