Keep Your Family Members From Ruining Your Holidays
Who doesn’t love going home for the holidays to visit family members?
It’s that precious time of the year when you have that annual visit with your siblings, parents, and various cousins. However, the holidays also bring together the toxic people in your life. The holidays are a special time, perhaps the only time all year they get to see our family members. However, these annual get-togethers are often fraught with trepidation because of the behavior of one family member. Many people have that drunk uncle you avoid all year, yet you have to spend Christmas Eve dinner with him. Others might have that cousin you have not spoken to in years joining you to open gifts together on Christmas morning. Your toxic family members often display behaviors that can irritate you and want you to kick them out of your life. However, remember that these people will be in your room for the rest of your life.
Even when people are out of your life they remain in your head.
Recognizing that people can never fully leave your room once they’ve entered can be unsettling. What do we do with our family members who don’t align with our values? How do we handle them? They’re family—what can I do? They may be family, and it’s true I had no choice on whether they are in my room, but I’m not going to let them run amuck in my space any longer. My mother taught me how to deal with toxic family members: “Well, we can’t quite kick anyone to the curb, but we can box them up and put them on a shelf.” That’s right, box them up and put them out of sight. Don’t let them continue to control your life. I also encourage you to thoughtfully reflect on the experiences and people you are “boxing up” and try to learn from them.
We all have a family member whom you want to put on the highest shelf you could possibly reach. So, how do you deal with difficult family members? They are people whom we love and don’t actually want out of our lives completely. Your goal will be to connect with your family members but only rarely and for short periods of time. That way, you still maintain a relationship but you don’t get “infected with drama or craziness,” The people may be welcome in your room, but their baggage does not have to be. Holiday parties can be perfect places to continue relationships with your toxic family members without getting sucked into the drama because these tend to be larger gatherings with lots of other family members, where you can chat briefly with them. However, you are not their sole focus for an extended time. Set rules for your gathering. Examples are, “No politics at the table” or “once you go negative, I’m done with you”. These types of people are draining, so it’s best to recognize that and plan accordingly. Visit briefly, be friendly, then move on to someone else in your room.
This is the premise behind the newest book, “Who’s in Your Room? The Secret to Creating Your Best Life” by Ivan Misner, Stewart Emery, and Rick Sapio. It would make a great Christmas gift to give to all your family members, especially the toxic people.
To order the book, please use this link: https://tinyurl.com/WhosInYourRoom
2 thoughts on “Keep Your Family Members From Ruining Your Holidays”
I have a toxic sister who manages to ruin every family occasion whether she is actually present or not. I looked hard at how she managed this and I discovered that she threw an emotional grenade into the room just to get a reaction. If we didn’t give her a reaction then that grenade didn’t explode. Each time she did what she always did we ignored it and started to talk about something else entirely. She was furious and eventually stopped throwing the grenades and stepped back from us, allowing us to be together in peace and harmony. The lesson here is don’t feed other people’s needs for upset and discord.
Fionna, I absolutely LOVE this story. Thanks for sharing it.