Family is often a topic that comes up around the holidays…sometimes it’s positive, sometimes it’s negative. One thing I’ve noticed over time in being a therapist is when clients do the work and change for the better, certain (negative) family members often have a hard time accepting these changes. When we develop better communication skills, courage to say our feelings, the ability to say “no” and create boundaries, it is not well accepted by the people who test you, say hurtful things and have certain expectations. These scenarios can and do sometimes work out to create better relationships, but they also just as well create unwanted tension and holiday drama.
While you are around those family members who know how to get under your skin to the point where you keep replaying Frozen’s “Let it go” in your head over and over as your anger levels rise-try a different approach. Find the strength to be brief with this person, let them know how they are affecting you and create a boundary for yourself. For example, “This conversation is bringing up negative emotions for me, I think it’s best to go help Aunt Gigi with the ham now.” If you usually fight with them or it turns into the blame game, this will most likely catch them off guard at first to give you enough time to escape to the kitchen. Sometimes being strong and empowered to say how you feel and address conflict head on can be daunting, but when it’s your only choice-it can show you just how strong you are!