ASK COLETTE: “No Happy Holidays With My Family”
Boomer Intuitive Coach Colette Baron-Reid tackles a common holiday headache: dealing with family dramas
I dread the holidays. There is so much pressure to spend “quality” time with family and I feel guilty for not wanting to even see some of my relatives, let alone create “cherished moments” with them. In a nutshell, they’re crazy! They are petty, sarcastic, spiteful, jealous, disrespectful, drama-filled people. To add to the stress, I also gain a lot of weight in a short time, without enough emotional eating to justify that much weight. Help! – Overstressed and Overloaded
Dear Overstressed and Overloaded,
Are we cousins? Just kidding. Your letter sounded so familiar I thought we must have spent “quality” time together in the same family.
I remember the stress I felt before each family gathering. I’d run through it over and over again in my mind—anticipating the criticism and not wanting to spend time with people I rarely knew or for whom I held resentment. All of these old family dynamics that are unhealed have a chance to be reactivated during the holidays.
This is the perfect time for a little construction project—building some boundaries.
Saying “No” to drama is key. For the limited time you are with your family, step away from the emotions you’re feeling and let go of the need to prove you’re right, or they’re ridiculous. Many times the sarcastic comments or need-to-be-right remarks we hear are not even about us. Don’t make it personal and don’t’ take it personally. These comments and actions are about the other person’s issues with their own limitations. Besides, your time together is temporary.
Speaking of time, setting boundaries around how much time you’re exposed to stressful scenarios is not being selfish, it’s engaging in self-care. For example, you can remove yourself from the room when conversations turn negative—wash the dishes or walk the dog. Also, plan to have somewhere else to be after the event so it’s easy to depart with a purpose, and early. Hint: that purpose could be to watch a movie at home or read a great book. No one needs to know what or with whom, they only know you have to go.
In my book, Weight Loss for People Who Feel Too Much, I walk you through a program that deals specifically with the issue of porous boundaries.
Try these for starters…