Happy Holiday Tips: Handling Toxic Family So You Can Make Merry
As we gear up for this holiday season some of us are dreading parts of our season of merriment because of one thing. Our families. I am somewhat of an expert in handling Toxic Family. To be clear… I wish I wasn’t. This isn’t something I wish upon others either.
Unfortunately, it’s a reality for many of us wether it’s our immediate family, extended family, or in-laws… some people just cannot play nice. So if you know you’re going to have difficulties… what do you do?
DISCLAIMER: NEVER accept disrespect or abuse from ANYONE. You are not obligated to accept harm from family or anyone else for any reason or tolerate it directed to anyone accompanying you. If abuse is being thrown at a guest and you’re hosting, remove the offending party. Kick them the hell out.
Tip 1: Manage Your Expectations
Don’t go in expecting the Hallmark Channel. Don’t Walk in with a shitty attitude but also don’t expect more from people that what they have shown they’re capable of.
You will wind up stressed, tired and resentful, relegating holiday perfection to Hallmark-channel movies.
As hard as we all might wish for it, difficult family members are not going to change between now and Christmas. They’re still going to be the same (annoying, difficult, dramatic, unreliable, and downright rude or even cruel) people around the holiday dinner table that they’ve been all year and will continue to be for years to come.
Long story short don’t expect the Karen’s of your family to stop being dicks.
Prepare how you want to handle sensitive topics ahead of time and prep lab how you want to establish boundaries when a difficulty comes up.
Tip 2: Know Your Limits
Plan for your own outs and know that you can RSVP No.
Think about the people you’re willing to see, the topics you’re willing to discuss, and the responsibilities you’re willing to accept. While you may not be able to avoid unreasonable requests from toxic relatives, knowing your limits will help you respond with correct intention.
If you know that a three-night stay at your mother in-laws is about all you can tolerate, schedule the visit accordingly. Have strategies in place to get some alone-time to rest and recharge from the fray. Volunteer to make an airport run, walk the dog or pick up the pies, anything to get yourself out to recharge.
Give yourself permission to decline invitations to events that are just too taxing or triggering, or stressful. If you’re biting your nails off worried about what the day is going to be like… know you don’t have to go (*if you’re an adult).
You can use this as an opportunity to start some new traditions for yourself, or spend the day with more pleasant people like your friends for Friendsgiving.
Start Your Own Traditions
Solo, with your partner or friends, creating new traditions and having different holiday experiences can be a lot of fun.
Even new ways to have Thanksgiving/ Christmas dinner is fun!
Alternatively, spend the day volunteering or giving back to your community. This is a great way to make sure you get some connections if you’re going to be solo for the season.
Fun Food Option: Thanksgiving Turkey and Mashed Potato “Butter Board” (this is a GREAT option to enjoy leftovers too!)
Ultimately just make sure y’all are taking care of your mental health this holiday season!