How to Survive the Holidays with Difficult Family
Make a plan in advance
Set expectations for yourself in advance. Plan the number of days you think you'll be able to handle the situation, find out who's coming to the events, and go into the events with a plan of how you want to respond to the difficult people.
Be true yourself
If something isn't right for you - don't participate or engage with it. If there's a situation that is going to be too emotional or burdensome, don't engage with it. You know what's right for you - so hold onto it.
Use humor to lighten the situation
A little bit of humor can go a long way. Sometimes you need to rise above the situation and help everyone else put it in perspective with something funny. Don't rely on sarcasm - remind everyone of a funny childhood story and then let everyone else reminisce.
Don't be afraid to speak up for yourself
If the situation calls for it, you might need to be brave and speak up for yourself. If family members are being unreasonable, cruel, or demeaning - you need to let them know you won't accept that kind of behavior. We teach others how to treat us.
Take some time out when necessary
Whether it's going to bed early or taking a walk by yourself in the afternoon, having some alone time can really help. Don't disappear for hours, but no one should begrudge you a half hour to yourself.
Remember it's time limited
Find a quiet space, take a deep breath, and remind yourself it's only a few days. You can do this!
Minimize the alcohol
Alcohol exacerbates situations. It can be tempting to overindulge when you're feeling frustrated with your family, but drinking too much will only heighten your emotions. Make a plan for what you can reasonably drink in advance and stick to it.