Visiting Your Crazy Family For Christmas?

Visiting Your Crazy Family For Christmas? Dysfunctional Families And The Holidays.Who doesn’t have a dysfunctional family? That’s a rhetorical question. Having a “normal” family can be considered dysfunctional. But seriously, dysfunctional families can be detrimental to emotional well-being and we all know what I’m talking about. As a Marriage Counselor, the Holidays present a very stressful time for couples. Spending time with in-laws is especially difficult if you “have to spend time” with the in-laws. I hear the “we always spend time with your family” and “hardly ever spend time with mine.” Power struggles tend to come up during the Holidays and they can turn the event and your relationship into a very unhappy situation.

Visiting Your Crazy Family For Christmas?

Tips to get through the obligatory Family Get-Together:

  • First of all, you don’t need anyone’s permission to say, “NO, I prefer not to go”.
  • To avoid power struggles it’s perfectly fine for each of you to go to your own family’s home for the holidays and enjoy their company without each other.
  • With that being said….be careful about resentments from past holidays. Declare an amnesty with  whichever family member you are feeling past resentments toward.
  • Avoid the person that bugs you.  Be gracious with a greeting then stay the heck away from them. Don’t even establish eye contact.

  • Develop and utilize coping skills when you are triggered. You can excuse yourself, take a walk, do some deep breathing, go to the bathroom for a timeout, remind yourself to stay in the ‘moment’, stretch your arms over your head to release tension, or leave at a set time.
  • If you choose to drink, don’t let the occasion become a reason for over-indulging to cope. This will exacerbate your depression and anxiety, as well as disable your ability to utilize your coping skills. Contrary to popular opinion, alcohol is a depressant. But I understand why you would want to DRINK!
  •  To offset that day give yourself a break. Create time for yourself to do the things YOU love and need to do for your physical and mental wellness, like aerobic exercise, yoga, take in a massage, taking long fast walks or any activity that calms you down and gives you a better perspective on what is important in your life. Self-care can get you through many hard situations.

Attending family obligations are sometimes necessary to show the ones we love we care about them as a selfless act. We love our family but some of us don’t necessarily like all of them. Just take care of yourself while you’re in their company.

If you dread spending the Holidays with your crazy family and need help making that gathering less drama oriented please give me a call at (858) 735-1139. Happy Holidays.

Managing Holiday Stress – A Smile Can Get You Everywhere

Managing Holiday Stress – A Smile Can Get You Everywhere.  As we enter the month of November I start to think about Thanksgiving and everything I’m thankful for.  As a Marriage Counselor, I see a range of couples from eternally happy wanting to continue to keep their relationship in check to those who are constantly struggling to keep afloat.  As we enter the Holiday Season we will be experiencing our share of stress, be it positive or negative situations or circumstances.  Thanksgiving is the start of many family get-togethers where these gatherings are not always wanted or enjoyed.

As a Marriage Counselor, I encourage putting boundaries in place and setting good limits so that individual and relationship needs are met by you and your spouse and your respective families.  As a Couples Counselor, I stress the importance of being cognizant of knowing when to say YES and when to say NO. It’s very important when dealing with challenging extended family members.  I understand your respective Families of Origins want access to you and yours, but sometimes doing something different can be as beneficial as doing whatever it is you typically do.

With any decision being made it’s important that couples are able to dialogue and have a discussion where they can express their thoughts and feelings.  Showing empathy for each other’s feelings and validating each other’s positions shows you care and are being thoughtful when making a decision for your family.

Keeping a positive attitude during the Holiday Season provides not only good personal mental health but role models goodwill to family and friends as they, too, are managing the stressors that come with Thanksgiving, Christmas and welcoming in the New Year.  Smiles and kind words are good for the heart and can make or break a good day for those who receive it.  Smile as we all have something to be thankful for.

For more information on managing your Holiday stress contact me at (858) 735-1139.