Surviving Christmas Lunch with That Tricky Relative

Do you find yourself coming out in a nervous sweat starting around September/October when the dreaded words “family Christmas dinner” are uttered??!!

We all have those family members that send a chill up our spine, for whatever reason, we just don’t connect positively. There may be a history of discontent or an argument that was never fully resolved, or they may just be nasty, cold-hearted and always ready with a comment that can go straight to your heart…

So how on earth do you survive Christmas lunch and walk away without feeling like you’ve just been put through a shredder?!

Here are some tips to help you survive the ‘family Christmas day’ –

  1. Take care of yourself, wear a lovely outfit you feel good in – that way you’ll at least go into the scene feeling strong and good about yourself;
  2. Watch conversation topics – avoid topics you know will most likely end in an argument or abuse. If someone is trying to draw you into a “hot topic” change the subject, or leave the room;
  3. Accept who they are – don’t try to change them, this will only end in a power struggle, and it simply isn’t worth the energy;
  4. Look for the positives in people – believe it or not, everyone has a positive! Then focus on these aspects of the person. The other person will feel accepted and valued and you may even begin to like them!
  5. Be real – remember who this person is and what they are like. While it is always helpful to see the best in them, they are still able to cause the pain that has unsettled you in the past, be aware;
  6. Get help where you can – surround yourself with those people you can trust. Don’t tell your secrets to the family gossip. Journal your feelings or find a counsellor or good friend to share your struggles with. This can take the pressure off those relationships that cause you stress;
  7. Let go and move away – if you’re feeling overwhelmed,  move away from them. If you simply cannot be around this person without feeling compromised, maybe it’s time to let this relationship go;
  8. Positive self talk – remind yourself of all your great qualities (your strengths) – now don’t say you do not have any! I know you do!! Disappear to the bathroom when you feel like you’re reaching boiling point, gaze at your reflection and say some kind words to yourself!
  9. Breathe – even as you’re sitting at the dinner table with your family, slow down your breathing, breathe in deep, right down into your belly, notice the breath and then let it out slowly, this is a fabulous relaxing technique.

Some final tips:

  • Don’t feel it’s your fault this person is so negative towards you – sometimes we simply don’t “click” with some people;
  • You won’t like everyone, and NEWSFLASH not everyone is going to like you either!
  • See the funny side. If you keep a sense of humour you won’t get so pulled into the negativity;
  • Build your positive relationships or look for new friends or people who are positive and loving toward you and cultivate these relationships.

And if all else fails, plan your holidays over Christmas and leave the country (just kidding)!!

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