We all would like to love our family members unconditionally, even our toxic relatives. They usually have toxic personalities and their behavior stresses us out. It is particularly hard to avoid them during family gatherings and holiday celebrations. So how do you deal with them without losing your sanity and still be able to enjoy family gatherings?
Here are 5 ways you can avoid getting stressed out from toxic family members and avoid playing the blame game too. With these tips, you can still keep in touch with the relatives you do love to be around with.
1. Mentally prepare yourself
Before going to that family gathering, mentally prepare yourself for the expected onslaught of your toxic relatives. You have been through the experience before, so review those times. Think of how you can better answer their annoying questions. Plan how you can handle the same situation if it comes up again. This way, you will be prepared to react when you encounter the person. This ensures that you can still enjoy the rest of the reunion.
2. Minimize communication
You can’t help engaging with all family members; you can choose to limit attention to those who stress you out. Only talk to them when necessary and don’t talk about personal matters to keep the conversation short. Mentally prepare yourself so it will be easier for you to navigate these situations without dreading it each time.
3. Focus on the joys, not the drama
No matter how toxic some relatives can be, there must be at least one person who can relate to you. There might even be someone who has the same experience as you regarding said family member. If there are more of you, then the more reason for you to not dread the reunion. Focus on the joy of spending time with these beloved family members (a.k.a. support group) instead.
4. Don’t try to change the person
You may feel that you’ve had enough and decide to confront the person head-on to clear up things. You may want to confront them to change their opinion or attitude towards you and their issues. Maybe you have already attempted to confront them before and only ended up disrupting the gathering. If this is the case, then it is better to accept that you can’t change the person. This is especially true if the said relative is older than you. Keep in mind that they may already be too set in their ways to at this point in their life. Instead, forgive them but don’t forget their shenanigans and keep a cautious distance from them.
5. Rewrite your role in the family drama
If the reason you dread going to family gatherings is that the whole family has designated you into a particular role that you didn’t consent to; then try to change your role. For example, you may be constantly relied upon to take care of a cry baby sibling who is old enough to fend for themselves. Learn to put your foot down on these toxic relatives. The next time they start crying over an issue, let the offenders (the people who caused the crying) take responsibility. Even if you have the urge to mediate, refrain from doing so. This is to send the message that you are not responsible for picking up after other people.
There are different kinds of toxic people. It is easier to prepare yourself on how to deal with them if you know which type they are. This way, you don’t end up becoming a toxic person yourself. Do you have other tips on how to deal with toxic family members?