How to Deal with Difficult People at Family Holiday Gatherings

How to Deal with Difficult People at Family Holiday Gatherings

We’ve all been there. But spending time with the more challenging members of your family doesn’t have to be an experience to fear and dread.

The table is set with your holiday dishes and best silver, and the smell of the cooking turkey is wafting throughout the house. Fresh pine garland is draped just so over the hutch and bookcases, the Christmas tree is dripping with twinkling lights and memento ornaments, while packages are strewn under the tree waiting to be opened. You look around one more time checking to make sure everything is set, and then the doorbell rings. The first of many family members has arrived. Within minutes the house is bubbling with conversations mixed with familiar holiday music You’re crossing your fingers that all stays well. “So far, so good.“ you whisper to yourself. You spoke too soon…

“Nice decorations, where’d you get them? You know, you should have checked with me first. I know where to get the best ones. Oh, and I wouldn’t have draped the garland like that, I would have done it this way,” says Bossy McBoss as she moves the garland you took the time to get just right.

Across the room you hear Bigsy B. Little clear his throat as he warms up his on-stage voice while approaching your sister, Hope. “Incoming!” you think to yourself, wishing Hope could hear you and duck for cover. Too late! Bigsy B. Little is on the hunt. “Well, it looks like your New Years resolution didn’t quite stick. Twenty five pounds, hmm, looks like you found them rather than lost them.” She turns beet red and is completely frozen. Later, as everyone is seated for dinner, Bigsy says to all, “I pray the turkey isn’t dry as a bone like it was last year.”

The holidays, for all of their hopeful preparation and sparkle, can come apart at the seams very quickly when difficult people do what they do. We all know some variations of people like these, who can strike fear and dread into the holiday experience, but you can change that. You can have your holiday cookie and eat it too by following these tips.

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Source: Working Mother

Terry Barnett-Martin, LMFT, is a relationship counselor in private practice in Southern California. She is an openhearted, intuitive practitioner and writer who is dedicated to helping people find the purpose and path in their life and relationships. Learn more at tendingfences.com  and truepurposecounseling.com.

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