anger & stress

dealing with difficult family members at christmas

simply stephen / December 17, 2010

Christmas with all it’s joy and kindness is also stressful.

For some, it’s about managing the expense and time.

For others it’s more serious. They may spend time dealing with difficult family members at Christmas. We all want to have a good holiday and a nice life. Taking some proactive steps can help you make the time a happy one.

building a good bond

Start by building a good bond with existing family members throughout the year. Even if you have a strained relationship with a certain family member if you focus on a good relationship with other family members it will take away the sting and give you something to look forward to.

If you do have a certain family member that you clash with, take it as a challenge or opportunity to learn about yourself and improve. Sometimes it’s up to you to make the changes.

Don’t set unrealistic expectations though, sometimes years of conflict will take years to resolve.

One step at a time.

how to speak with people

Express your care and concern when talking with a family member but if they decide to heat things up there are a number of things that you can choose to do.

We all have choices – be positive and proactive, not reactive. Instead of debating on a controversial topic, change the subject or walk away and bite your tongue – don’t debate!

If someone expresses a concern, repeat it, so you can understand it. Let’s reiterate – if someone talks and it causes rifts, repeat the topic so you are clear on it.

Never raise your voice – in fact soften it, sometimes it only takes one person to lead by example and the tone will change.

come from a positive place

Always focus on positive actions and thoughts, so if someone brings up a negative one – change the tone. You may have a family member that is a bit difficult and won’t talk at all, you don’t have to do anything but make sure you say hello and attempt to talk to them. It’s not necessary to lower yourself to their childish level.

If none of that helps I always use the expression “my world is fine, everyone else is screwed up” – to put things in perspective. So go crazy and have a drink or two (kidding).

Seriously, just get on with your life and enjoy the event. If someone wants to be a downer, there is no need for you to join in. Keep focused on the good things that are around you and make the deliberate choice that nothing will ruin your day.

Now go get em…and help make your holiday a happier one for everyone.

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