The Holiday Survival Guide When Your Family Is Dramatic AF
On the top 10 list that makes me feel comfy and homey, Thanksgiving and Christmas are in the top five. The smells, the foods, the fighting- there’s nothing quite like it. And even if I end up crying because my sibling pushed that button that makes me feel like sidewalk poop on a - 10-degree day- I always leave feeling defeated and weirdly happy.
I know, it’s crazy.
But the reason behind those warm and fuzzies aren’t because of the drama, but it’s because I’ve learned to set boundaries, quiet own my crazy, and let the button pushing roll off my shoulders like a good body roll!
How? Well, let me tell you…
Know Your Triggers.
Look, we all have triggers. They grow just like our minds and bodies do overtime. But instead of becoming wiser or wrinklier, they become the equivalent to Kill Bill’s Five Point Exploding Heart Technique. One move guaranteed to kill your vibe.
And some people know not only how to kill our vibes, but also how to make us reevaluate every decision we’ve made in our entire existence of living.
So if this is the case with someone in your family, you need first to understand your triggers.
The mastery of owning your triggers starts with knowing the who, what, when, where, why and how. I’m not just talking about a five-minute dear diary session, I’m talking about calling the people who push these buttons, and taking note of the physical response and feelings that begin to bubble up. What is it about them? What is about what they say? What memories fill up your mind? Why do their words hurt more?
Personally, my triggers come and go, so I keep a running list in my bullet journal. I pop open a new page and let my pen fill as many lines as I need it to. If I’m being completely honest, there are times when I can only write a few sentences because I’m so emotional, while other times I’m like a faucet. Regardless, every sentence no matter its length reveals something about me and my past that makes me stronger or contributes to that aha moment that helps me build much-needed boundaries.
BUT there’s one person in my family that PUSHES the Hiroshima of triggers in me. I know there’s nothing but love between us, but after every encounter, I find myself burning through pages. After reading through my entries, I’ve been able to pull out a few key things, like,
I feel like my words and my feelings don’t matter around this person
we are too much alike stubbornness wise
we both have an incredible desire to be right
we have different views on big life subjects
Now that I know what triggers me, I am trying to find ways where I can rise above the drama or find a way to exit the conversation without causing more ruckus.
Want to know a secret? I mean this is going to save you years of time, energy, and emotions, ready??
The only person you can change in your life is YOU.
If you try to change someone else, get ready for a Defcon 1 disaster. Not only will you be disappointed, but you risk losing this person’s trust and/or respect. And if it’s with someone in your family, get ready for the coldest of holidays. Ice cold. Montréal in the winter, you’ll need to build underground tunnels to make it through your next family outing alive!!!
But you don’t have to change who you are, or what you believe necessarily, you change the way you react and the way you take these experiences in.
Oh, but how!?
First, let us acknowledge limiting beliefs. These assholes have been embedded in us from as early as birth. And every time we feel guilt or shame by experience, we get scared, and another limiting belief is planted. And eventually, they grow into paralyzing anxieties.
For example, when I was eight, my brother told me I was ugly, and I could never be a cheerleader because I was ugly. Ugh, bros are so cruel. His comment, combined with magazines, TV, having gorgeous sisters, really effed with me. So for the longest time, I thought I was ugly and could never do anything that pretty girls could do. (Our brains are genuinely sadists!)
From this point, I would never attempt to get pretty or do my makeup because I always believed I was ugly.
The only way to get over this subconscious belief would be by reprogramming those situations or essentially taping over them until I didn’t believe it anymore. And when you do that, you’ll finally wake up from the groundhog’s day nightmare and break free from whatever is keeping you small.
My favorite method has been using Lacy Phillips Programs. It’s all about becoming your true authentic self, and I love it.
As you can imagine, like any family, there have been a lot of experiences that I have left a negative imprint in my subconscious. But the more I work through them, the better I am off during the holidays.
We all struggle with this- whether it’s work, friends, lovers, family, kids- literally everything and everyone. Some people just walk all over us - but we have to remember we have the power to stop them.
Whether, it’s just taking a break from your friend for a few weeks, or leaving the room when THAT family member is about to say some hurtful things- you need to do it. It’s not going to be forever, but you do what you have to until you have fully accepted who you are and realize that we decide who/what will impact our lives, and then things get really good!!
For example, my Dad always likes to talk about money. It drives me insane. But I realize a) I have money issues b) that I need to work on them before I can have a real convo with my dad about it. So when I talk to him on the phone, and he starts to bring it up, I either remove the phone to my ear, until I don’t’ hear anything or I change the subject asap. It’s not rude, these are boundaries. And because I’m working on myself and breaking free from any subconscious money beliefs, me doing that is OKAY. One day, I’ll be okay with my money convos, and I’ll be able to talk to him or let him speak and choose not to let his words affect me.
We have to do the same during the holidays. Granted, we can’t always walk away, but we can still choose to stop listening. Or remind ourselves that whatever our family members are saying isn’t true for us.
IE if for example, someone in my family calls me a bitch (which I don’t think they would), I can ask myself “am I a bitch.” The answer is “no.” Therefore, I don’t have to torment myself with what they said.
The other day I went for a walk in my neighborhood, I was at a four-way crosswalk, and I didn’t have the little white man telling me it’s my turn to cross. As I was waiting, I got a notification from the BCC that Jeff Sessions was resigning from his seat, and as I started to cross the street, I opened the app to read the full story. Well, it turns out, it wasn’t my turn, in fact, I had cars turning into me. Luckily, no one hit me, but the F you’s hit my ears loud and clear.
My immediate response was “Fuck Yooooooooou!”
And for a second, I was all pissed off, but then I laughed at myself because that’s not what I meant. I meant, “you’ll live!” I made a mistake. I take full responsibility for it, but the guy who yelled at me will live, I will live, and life will go on. (trust me I get that this was entirely my fault, but nothing terrible happened, and it was okay. we are human, and we make mistakes)
Anyways, when I’m feeling like things are getting too out of hand with my family, I remember I’ll live. I’ll make it through this, and it will be okay. So if it means, conceding in the argument, or leaving a room, or cleaning up even if it’s not my mess, I remind myself I’ll live. It’s just not worth the anger, the torment, or the pain.
No matter what anyone in my family says, no matter how much it hurts, I will live. And the more I continue to accept & love myself and set boundaries, the easier it will be to handle the crazy drama during the holidays.
How do you handle the Family Holiday Drama? Share your tips down below!
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