5 Ways to Deal With A Dysfunctional Family Over the Holidays

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It’s getting close to that time of year again. Where we have to all gather around the table for the big family Christmas dinner and celebration. Yippee! But wait, unfortunately, we aren’t all too excited about this upcoming event. Many of us belong to a dysfunctional family. Are you one of them? I am. Don’t feel bad or embarrassed.

I honestly believe, in this day and age, there are way more dysfunctional families than there are ‘normal and healthy’ ones. Amirite?

I’m no stranger to this. How many of us have declared “Oh I can write a book on what it’s like being in a dysfunctional family?” Yup. I’ve said it too. And I still may do just that.

So the day of the Christmas feast is fast approaching. You’re starting to feel a wee bit of anxiety. Like that pit or knot in your stomach is getting tighter and tighter. You are totally dreading this day. I feel ya. You wish you could just graciously decline the invitation but you already know that will stir up more trouble so you suck it up and go.

I have good news for you though!! Yay! There are ways to deal with a dysfunctional family during this holiday season that should be cheery and full of love and laughter. Let me share you with some tips so that this Christmas dinner will have you smiling and enjoying yourself, for real, not pretend.

Dealing with your dysfunctional family at Christmas dinner

Prepare yourself mentally.

You already know how it’s going to turn out. You already know your least favourite cousin is going to be there. You already know that 4 of the 25 people who are going to be there grind on your last nerve. Start preparing yourself at least one week ahead of time. Self talk and positive affirmations will go a long way here. Try ones like: This is temporary. It’s only once a year. I can get through this. I’m stronger and better than them (yes you can say this and not in an egotistical way). Remind yourself it’s only a couple of hours one day out of 365. You’ll live.

Shield yourself.

This is my favourite and honestly works like a charm. Don’t think I’m crazy. I promise I’m not and this method works. Just before you  have to go to dinner take about 5-15 minutes and sit quietly somewhere alone. Lock yourself in the bathroom if you have to. Ask the Angels, especially Archangel Michael to wrap you in a protective shield that will keep all negative energy and harm away from you and surround you only with love and protection. Don’t believe in Angels? You should. You have two around you all the time whether you like it or not. Just before you walk in the door to Aunt Betty’s house, reinforce this invisible shield and keep imagining it around you every time someone starts to get on your nerves.

Smile and ignore.

Ya, you can most certainly do that. If there are 25 people at dinner and only 4 get on your last nerve, go hang out with the other 21. No one said you even have to talk to engage with the ones you honestly can’t stand. Nope. You don’t have to. Thing is, they probably already know you don’t like them anyway so your avoidance of them won’t be a surprise. Just ignore them and their ignorant remarks. Smile and ignore. That’ll probably irritate them even more but you know the best part of that? It’s their problem, not yours.

Keep yourself busy doing other things.

Go in the kid’s room and watch movies. Go watch TV with the seniors. Go sit with your favourite Uncle and chat up a storm. Do whatever it takes to not have to interact with the odd 4 people in your dysfunctional family. If you keep busy doing things that bring you joy, in no time you’ll even forget that Aunt Betty is at it again driving everyone nuts. You’ll be too busy actually enjoying your time doing things that make you happy.

Decline the invite.

Now I get this is a hard one to do but you can do it. We used to have huge family dinners at my uncle’s house until one year my dad laid down the law and said we weren’t going anymore. It was a big blow to the whole family but we stopped going and had a nice family dinner at home with a couple of other random family members. After dinner, those who wanted to, would then go to my uncle’s for coffee and dessert. Sure there were a few hurt feelings in the beginning but as time went on, people totally understood dad’s reasoning (kinda). You do have a choice to say no and host a nice dinner at your house with the people from your extended dysfunctional family that you actually love and want to be with.

5 ways to get through Christmas dinner with a dysfunctional family
Getting through the holiday season with your dysfunctional family

You can only control yourself

You know it really is a sad thing that so many families are torn apart for so many reasons. It’s also so sad that many holidays are ruined because of this. The most important message I can share here with you, the biggest takeaway for you, is to always try to find joy no matter what.

You’re definitely not gonna be able to fix everything and you can’t change people so don’t even try. The only thing you have control over is yourself and your emotions, how you deal and handle these types of uncomfortable dealings with the dysfunctional family.

Your reaction to any and all of it will either make or break the situation. If you try some of my tips I shared with you, though I can’t promise your Christmas dinner will go off without a hitch but I can almost guarantee that it will be much more pleasing and enjoyable for you and everyone else.

Christmas holidays with no yelling?

You can’t argue that Christmas dinner will be a million times better without all the fighting and yelling, amirite? Did you use to partake in all that too? Don’t this year. Be the bigger person and don’t engage. Not only will you be happier but so will your blood pressure and stress level.

Wouldn’t you rather leave dinner content knowing that it all was so lovely and you have love in your heart instead of racing home in a fit of anger because Aunt Betty did it again!? Remember, you control your emotions, you get to choose.

Choose peace over hate, love over anger.

Someone wanna pass down that bottle of wine please?

xo iva xo

(this post contains affiliate links so if you make a purchase I make a small commission but the best part of that is the more I make, the more hungry bellies I can feed here in Guatemala-win win!!)

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