How to Handle Family Relationships During the Holidays
Thanksgiving. Christmas. These are the times when one would typically be surrounded or want to be surrounded with families and friends. For some, this can easily be achieved by visiting others or others visiting them. For some, it can be limiting in that you have very few, if any, family or friends to visit or have them visit you. We have been conditioned in our society to use this time to surround ourselves with others. A time for sharing, chatting away about the different milestones that were reached during the year or what is to come in the next year.
Emotions and feelings can run amuck during these togetherness-oriented times. Someone can say something that you "should, could or would" be doing. Or someone can invalidate what you have accomplished as something everyone else is doing and not so important to brag about. These interactions can prove to cause emotions and feelings that could hinder or add to more #emotionalcutoff from friends or families you get to see once a year, if at all.
What are some things that you can do to begin building more emotional stamina to deal with the unwarranted advice aunts, mom or dad, or your best friend give you?
1. Share only what you are comfortable sharing with others.
You are in control of what you let others know about you. Just because they are asking and wanting to know the ins and outs of your life, does not mean you need to give it to them. They are family (or friends) and they will learn to respect your #boundaries if you implement them.
2. You do not control others' actions, behaviors or their lack of respecting #boundaries.
If you are being bombarded with questions or that nosey aunt asking you if you have a romantic partner, you cannot control them from asking. You can control what you respond to them. Learn to manage your own emotional reactions when others lack control of their mouths. You'll be better equipped to implement #boundaries with a cool, calm and collected thinking process.
3. Do not base your opinions/feelings/thoughts from gossip going around the family.
Instead of relying on what others are saying or gossiping about, ask directly. There is nothing better than the truth coming from the "horse's mouth." It is easy to continue to engage in #emotionalcutoff and have a hard #boundary of not talking with the person or people spreading ill-will. It is another challenge to confront the #emotionalcutoff or the ill-will to get clear on the matter. You have to remain cool, calm and collected so that you can ask the correct questions to help move past the gossip and/or #emotionalcutoff.
4. Plan Ahead.
As much or as little as you would like to engage with family, you have to prepare yourself to be surrounded by all the emotions and vulnerability these interactions can present for you. How will you manage your emotions when in a room full of people being nosey about your life? How will you stop yourself from feeling like that 9-year-old again when talking to your father? How will you step away when it becomes overwhelming for you? How will you convey to others that you rather not answer their questions? How will you gently let others down when they propose to you to hug them when it's hard for you?
When encountering people who are not in your day-to-day life, and you only visit during major holidays or when time allows, you can begin to see the emotional evolution you have undertaken since leaving their vicinity. It is almost like a trip back in time to see others you know so well, behave, say, or do what they always have done. It is a tremendous challenge to maintain your emotional composure. This is where #fusion and #overfunctioning and #underfunctioning really gets highlighted. It is through #differentiationofself that you can begin to manage yourself.