As most people get super excited to see family, there are others who don’t feel the same. Some people come from toxic families. Looking at the calendar and counting the days brings more anxiety instead of joy. Trust me when I say, I know the feeling. This is why I decided to give tips on how to cope with toxic family during the Holiday season.
Before I get to it, just a reminder, I am not a professional doctor or a mental health specialists. I like shedding light about mental and emotional health so others don’t feel alone. Also, to help break the stigma about mental illnesses. I strongly believe the more it is out in the open, the less taboo it will appear. With that being said, let’s get into the ring of battling with toxic family.
First, realize you don’t have to go to the event if it really bothers you. No one has a gun to your head saying you have to go. It’s really up to you. Most of the time I don’t go. The only time I go is if it has to do with my nieces or nephews. I have a soft spot for them and like any proud aunt, I want to see my babies. But let’s say, for whatever reason, you decide to go anyway. Strategizing will be your best friend.
One, if it’s a one day event, check what time it starts and end. If there are usual family traditions that occurs early or end of the day (like exchanging gifts), try to go in that time frame then dip. If you know you can tolerate 2 hours with the family, act accordingly on which 2 out of the 10 hours will be it less tense for you.
Two, bring a friend. Bringing a friend for emotional support can definitely help dealing with the family. Especially if you have the type of toxic family that likes to play innocent around people they don’t know. The attention will go more towards your friend than you. Also, if things gets too hectic it’s great to have someone who will have your back. If you can’t find anybody to join you, have a friend on speed dial. Let your friends know in advance that you will be visiting the family and will need support. Ask if they can be a reliable source when things become unbearable. I highly recommend to ask more than one friend. Just in case he/she is not available in that moment. Plus less pressure on their end.
Three, acceptance. I need you to accept this will be a horrible holiday gathering. You know it, heck… they know it too. Don’t try to full yourself that yall going to be snuggling together in front of the fireplace drinking hot cocoa while reconciling all the hurt from the past. Stop it. Not going to happen. You will feel extremely discourage when it does not happen. You will have to accept the the yelling, screaming, fights, and the pity behaviors that will occur. The sooner you accept it, the better you can handle the visit.
Four, stop faking it. I know you wish your family was like your friend’s family or your coworkers family. But it ain’t. There’s no point in lying and putting a fake smile saying, “Yes, I love this time of year! I can’t wait to see my family” Yea, I felt your soul died a little just trying to push those words out your mouth. Now I’m not saying to tell your whole family trauma. But a simple, “I’m not a huge fan of the holidays because I don’t get along with my family” will suffice. Because faking it around others makes it more difficult knowing you’re going to see them.
Five, exit plan. If push comes to shove, figure a perfect plan to leave. Try to be courteous as possible. Eh… what am I saying? This is your toxic family. Kindness have left the window a long time ago, lol! However, it’s about being the bigger person. Don’t stoop to their level. Try to remain calm as you leave. Don’t give them the satisfaction knowing they have ruined the holiday for you. As frustrating it may be in the moment, remember you have the power. Don’t let them take it from you.
There you have it! my tips on dealing with toxic family during the holidays. I hope it helps. Is your family toxic? Are you planning to see them or not? What’s the worse moment have ever occured during the holidays? What strategies do you have managing your toxic family during the holiday? I love reading comments so don’t be shy. Thanks for reading, and remember, we can deal with our crazy family members if we just adult one day at a time. xoxo
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