It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
It’s time you come home to spend the holidays with your family. You listen to Christmas carols playing everywhere while drinking eggnog. You smell chestnuts roasting on an open fire as you relax with your family in front of that gorgeous Christmas tree. You laugh hysterically as your drunk uncle John dressed as Father Christmas hands out gifts to everyone. And to top it all off, you see snow falling outside setting the stage for a perfect white Christmas.
“Christmas time is cherished family time. Family time is a sacred time.”
Despite the brutal weather outside, Christmas is a great time filled with warmth, joy, and happiness that we share with your family and create new memories together. It’s a time when you forget about all your problems & worries and you just relax & have fun.
But not for everyone!
A Christmas nightmare
“At Christmas, all roads lead home.”
– Marjorie Holmes
For many folks out there, the holidays can be a nightmare that they dread. And the primary reason for that is toxic family members.
The moment you come home for Christmas, you feel drained of all energy. You hear your siblings yelling everywhere as you try to dodge their abusive verbal bullets aimed at you. As you choke on the tasteless eggnog you smell the dinner getting burnt in the oven. As you sit down to get a moment of peace in front of the shabbily decorated Christmas tree, you realize it has the exact same decorations from last year. You laugh hysterically at your misfortune as your drunk uncle John dressed as a homeless Father Christmas abuses and curses everyone. And to top it all off, you see snow falling outside making sure you can’t escape this white, red and green nightmare.
If this is what Christmas feels like for you, then you need to know that you’re not alone. According to a Healthline study, around 62 percent of people experience increased stress levels during the holidays. And it’s mostly due to their dysfunctional families. Spending Christmas with your family can severely affect your self-esteem and make you go back to therapy even though you’ve worked all year to rebuild yourself and your self-esteem. Crazy family dynamics can not only ruin the holiday season but also mess with your mental and emotional health.
When the Christmas tree falls
“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.”
– Burton Hillis
Christmas for you doesn’t resemble the perfect Hallmark holiday by a long shot. Instead of loving siblings, cousins and relatives, you have to cope with abuse, estrangement, addiction, and negativity. The more you try to tell yourself you can get through this, the more stressed you feel as you can’t see how you can do this.
Get togethers with toxic family can get you into sticky situations leaving you feeling suffocated.
As the criticisms and insults flow freely through the house making you feel like a total worthless loser, you start losing your temper and your old emotional wounds start to reopen. With your older brother showing off how better he is doing than you, your mother-in-law telling your wife how she could have done much better, and your cousin’s new boyfriend cracking the nastiest and the dullest jokes, you become almost homicidal and wonder if setting the Christmas on fire would be a bad idea. You feel inclined to summon Krampus instead of Santa Claus this Christmas.
But you don’t have to.
You don’t need to lose your mind. Spending time with your family during the holidays doesn’t have to ruin the rest of your life. You just need the right strategy to survive the holidays with your sanity intact.
How to survive Christmas with a toxic family
“Christmas is a time when you get homesick, even when you’re home.” – Carol Nelson
If you have a difficult family, Christmas can lead to feelings of anxiety and dread. Your home needs to be a place of comfort and Christmas should be a time of joy and togetherness. So even though you may not want to, you can feel obligated to go home during the holidays and be with your family. If you are stuck with your toxic family this Christmas, then you may experience a lot of holiday stress. However, there’s still hope. You can still put the “merry” in Christmas and have a holiday you can enjoy.