Tips for Managing Toxic Family Relationships During the Holidays
1 – Be Prepared
· Decide how long you’ll stay before you leave. If you need to have another event to go to so no one’s feelings get hurt, that’s fine, but remember it’s perfectly acceptable to just say you need to leave at a certain time.
· Pick your battles. You know what toxic behaviors you can deal with and which ones are dangerous or unacceptable. Ignoring certain behaviors doesn’t mean you’re condoning them. It just means you’re creating space for your own mental health during family gatherings by not pushing back and creating conflict related to every toxic comment or behavior.
· Set boundaries. Be firm and direct but set your boundary with kindness, which will make it easier for your loved one to accept. Setting boundaries can be difficulty. If you struggle with this, consider working with a therapist or a trusted friend who sets good boundaries to practice this skill before the holidays.
2 – Keep Your Expectations in Check
3 – Limit Interactions with Toxic People
· Have a friend you can text an SOS who will call to interrupt you if you can’t break away.
· Make a deal with another loved one at the gathering who will serve as a buffer if things get rough.
· Set boundaries (I know we already said this, but it bears repeating). Tell your toxic loved on that you’re not going to be discussing politics, your relationship status, your parenting skills, or whatever toxic subject that triggers your discomfort.
· Leave early. Remember you don’t need to stay to the very end of every family gathering. Leave when you’re ready to leave.
4 – Change the Subject
5 – Practice Good Self-Care
Finally, make sure you’re taking care of yourself before, during, and after holiday gatherings, so you feel stable and healthy throughout the stresses of the holidays. You can practice affirmations that repeat each day (and during family gatherings when things get rough) to remind you of your own self-worth. Make sure to eat healthy, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. Reserve the bulk of your time for loved ones and friends whose company you really enjoy. You can also make time for therapy sessions at Lotus Psychology Group to help you develop skills to manage toxic relationships. To get started, simply call or email our Livonia therapy practice. We look forward to hearing from you.