We all would like to love our family members unconditionally but there are some family members that we can’t help but avoid because they have toxic personalities and their behaviour 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 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 that toxic relative. You have been through the experience before, so review those times and think of how you can better answer their annoying questions and 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 and you can still enjoy the rest of the reunion.
2. Minimize communication
You can’t help engaging with all family members but 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. If you have mentally prepared yourself, then 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 or 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 and 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 and change their opinion or attitude towards you and their issues. However, if you have already attempted to confront them before and only ended up disrupting the gathering, then it is better to accept that you can’t change the person. This is especially the case if the said relative is older than you as they may already be too set in their ways to consider a transformation 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, if you are constantly relied upon to take care of a cry baby sibling who is old enough to fend for themselves, then put your foot down the next time they start crying over an issue and let the offenders (the people who caused the crying) take responsibility. Even if you have the urge to mediate, refrain from doing so to send the message that you are not responsible for picking up after other people.
There are different kinds of toxic people and it is easier to prepare yourself on how to deal with them if you know which type they are. Do you have other tips on how to deal with toxic family members?
Toxic people can be in your workplace too. Check out some tips on how to deal with toxic colleagues.