However, they have their own struggles and battles to fight. They have their own inner demons to fight. They are as stressed and anxious about the holidays as you are. So try not to take everything as a personal attack. Instead of being frustrated or angry at your family, try to be a bit more compassionate and empathetic towards them.
After all, it’s the season to show love and be forgiving. Treat your family the way you want to be treated and this alone can make the whole experience a whole lot better.
5. Stay away from alcohol
“When the wine is in, the wit is out.” – Thomas Becon
Most of the worst memories of our lives start with alcohol. It just brings out the worst in us. Alcohol, including alcoholic eggnog, can easily provoke aggressive and emotional reactions. It suppresses inhibitions and serves as an unhinged arbitrator in conversations. As you drop your guards, you become more open to exhibit unhealthy behaviors.
6. Stay neutral
When visiting your toxic family for the holidays, stick to neutral topics and conversations. You can also think of some funny experiences you had throughout the year and share them with your family. When you have strained relationships with family members, spending time with them can be a challenge. So it’s best to avoid heavy topics like politics or religion. Talk about things that you all enjoy like food, cars, Christmas movies, camping, vacations, and even the Christmas tree.
7. Try to have fun
“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” – Charles Schulz
No matter how toxic your family is, they’re still your family. And you can still enjoy your time at home. So have a positive mindset and banish all the negativity. Plan an enjoyable activity, watch a great Christmas movie, play a game that everyone can enjoy and inspire everyone to share their favorite Christmas story. Use your positive attitude to put some much needed ‘fun’ into your dysfunctional family.
8. Act mature
When spending time with our family, we often tend to regress to childish behavior. However, you need to keep in mind that you’re an adult now and you need to act like one. Remind yourself of your achievements, your personal life, and your age. So when a negative emotion or thought surfaces, choose to act in a mature way instead of acting out like a teen.
9. Have an exit strategy
If things become really toxic around your home, they can pay to have an exit strategy. A simple emergency phone call from a friend or maybe a prior engagement can come in handy when things start going downhill. Plan an exit strategy ahead of your visit for some peace of mind.
10. Understand what you can control
“Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.” – Janice Maeditere
Regardless of what history you share with your family, you can always use the holiday time to start making things better. Your family may offend you on a regular basis or maybe they have caused deep emotional wounds. But this is not the time to focus to dwell on what hurts you. Instead, use Christmas as the time to heal your own self and be as strong as you can be. Make sure you have enough mental resilience and emotional strength to go through this.
Tell yourself that no one can affect you, your thoughts or your emotions without your permission. So show enough love, compassion, and kindness to yourself as you go through this difficult time. When you realize the only thing you can control is yourself and the only one who can control you is you, then the toxicity in your family will not be so damaging to your emotional and mental health.