How to Deal with Difficult Family this Festive Season

Dealing with Family at Christmas

Baby, You’re a Firework!

‘Tis the season to be jolly — people all over the globe are dusting off the mistletoe and puckering up for the long line of friends and family just waiting to be welcomed into your house for another round of yearly festivities.

“Christmas is a time when you get homesick, even when you’re home.”
– Carol Nelson

However, there is a darker side to the holidays (ho ho….bah humbug).

Being within close proximity to certain near and dear ones over vast periods of celebratory time can lead to some harrowing gas-lighting, festering underlying issues that bubble to the surface (especially as we’ve just come out of Mercury Retrograde and may still be feeling its keen sting), compounding anxieties and stresses and — let’s face it — emotional outbursts.

Related Article: A Creative Way to Relieve Stress — How You Can Benefit From Color Therapy Today!

Invariably, some wild and uncouth words could get slung about the Christmas dining table!

We’ve all probably experienced our fair share of family squabbling during holiday gatherings but how can you ride out the storm without having a huge blow-out before you’ve even got to sample that hot, steamy Christmas pudding?

Santa’s Watching — Are You Going to be Naughty or Nice?

“A Christmas miracle is when your family doesn’t get into a single argument all day.”
– Melanie White

Remaining calm and peaceful at family reunions is no small feat — it requires a lot of awareness, internal reflection and non-reaction.

Related Article: Do You Need to Call a ‘Time-Out’ For Yourself? 7 Things You Need to Be Aware Of….

The button-pushers will always try to work their Christmas magic but you’re going to have a Santa sack full of antidotes. Below you’ll find zap-it-in-the-butt recipes to counteract disaster:

  1. Reign (deer) It In — if someone is working on your last nerve ask yourself if you really need to react and cause a potential argument.  Can you simply smile and walk away?  See if you can be the still presence and avoid a hot chestnut from slipping down your trunks.  It’s a great test to be non-reactive — can you pour ice over the coals this Christmas?  Sometimes, when I feel overwhelmed by chaotic vibes I go and take 5 in the bathroom — just sit and take 3 long deep breaths and restore your essential energy/chi/sanity.  Walking away and creating space or a break in a quarrel can be the very thing needed to diffuse it.
  2. Root (beer) Yourself — ground yourself wherever possible.  Take deep breaths and root yourself into the present moment.  When you are quiet, calm and centered, you move into the space of still presence where you can become the observer and this can be a very illuminating place to be. You might even get some clarity on certain behavioral patterns in others which may lead to a better understanding. When we are being seduced to the dark side of arguments it’s better to keep shtum unless you have something incredibly significant to say — otherwise, you will only be adding fuel to the yule logs. Remember that most of what you say — in these heated situations — isn’t being heard because there is too much tumult around and ears tend to close whilst mouths tend to flap.  Being the still observer offers you a way to stay in control of your emotions and gauge what needs to be said, done or to identify if this is your cue to take a stroll around the garden or build a snowman.
  3. Spread Good Cheer(s) — we all love our family and friends, but if you find yourself in a situation where you truly cannot contribute anything but loving them unconditionally, then do just that and send them love. Remain calm and balanced and focus on the love you have for them. Build on that and project it towards them. Remove yourself from the room if needs be and then do it in SUBSCRIBE icon 1privacy — even if it means locking yourself in that bathroom again for a few minutes to gather/center yourself. I guarantee you will have helped them more by doing this then by rising to the bait of drama and argumentative behavior.

Good luck and may the force be with you. Happy Holidays everyone! Keep it zen, keep it sane.

Other articles you may enjoy:

How to Stop Monkey Mind Manifesting

How to Avoid Misunderstanding Forgiveness

Comfort Zones: The Beauty of Awkward and Uncomfortable

CRDCherie Roe Dirksen is a self-empowerment author, multi-media artist and musician from South Africa.

To date, she has published 3 self-help and motivational books and brings out weekly inspirational blogs at her site Get stuck into finding your passion, purpose and joy by downloading some of those books gratis when you click HERE.

Her ambition is to help you to connect with your innate gift of creativity and living the life you came here to experience by taking responsibility for your actions and becoming the co-creator of your reality. You can follow Cherie on Facebook (The Art of Empowerment — for article updates). She has an official art Facebookpage (Cherie Roe Dirksen – for new art updates). You can also check out her Facebook band page at Templeton Universe.

Cherie posts a new article on CLN every Thursday. To view her articles, click HERE.

This article (How to Deal with Difficult Family This Christmas) was originally written for and published byConscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author Cherie Roe Dirksen


One thought on “How to Deal with Difficult Family this Festive Season

  1. I asked how everyone coped with xmas day on my mental illness pages and had a heap of responses. I was going to respond to each one if I could but it has proved rather hard! I have strong feelings about today, and I’ve decided to talk about it.

    Three years ago I recovered completely from thirty years of depression and anxiety. I’m on a medication combination and I did a course of cognitive behavioural therapy, which challenges negative thought patterns which had accumulated over years of depression. Husband and I have spent the last three Christmases in Cornwall because we wanted to escape the forced jollities. I’m good now and want to share my thoughts on that.

    My three years in Cornwall has shown me one thing – we’re not alone in wanting to spend Xmas day on your own. I knew that, but seeing people on their own on Christmas day in Cornwall – fishing, walking, looking at the sea – made me realise that people do do this. Not all people do the jolly thing. That’s good. It reassured me that we’re not alone in those ideas. Not everyone wants to celebrate Christmas, and why should they? Particularly if they’re not particularly religious, or not mentally up to it. It’s hard enough, when you suffer from mental health issues generally, to get through daily life, let alone something like Christmas day.

    After I began to recover from thirty years of depression and anxiety three years ago, it took me those three years to feel how I feel today – better than I’ve ever felt. Three years ago I suffered a medication crisis over Christmas but was fortunate enough to receive the help of a brilliant mental health team who got me where I am now. Today, I fully empathise with anyone who suffers mentally, particularly at Christmas.

    A year after my crisis, both my parents died within days of each other. Dad died on Christmas day and mother died five days later. Thereafter, the obligation to remain sociable with a family who contributed largely to my depression vanished. Even while my parents were alive I had reduced our attendance at family events because I hated them. We often used my depression to avoid them! But, after my literal cure, I decided that nothing and no-one was going to spoil my chances of happiness, which included socialising with family. If they didn’t like it, it means they don’t understand and therefore they’re not our friends. They say blood is thicker than water, but I’ve always felt that just because someone is family, doesn’t mean that you enjoy their company. In which case you shouldn’t feel obligation towards them. Easier to say than do, but I’ve managed it with great success! One has to be strong on this, no doubt about that.



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