family sitting around a christmas dinner table opening christmas crackers

How to Deal With Toxic Relatives During The Holidays

While the holiday season is a great time to spend time with loved ones, here's what to do when some family members make the holidays difficult

FamilyMental health and wellbeing
By VoiceBox ·

Marios Stamos

Animal lover | Writer & dreamer | Mental health advocate | Neurodivergent & proud | Gardening enthusiast | Sunset enjoyer | Comic book reader

How to Deal With Toxic Relatives During The Holidays

The ‘Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ is here. For many, it's an opportunity to create happy memories with their loved ones. For the less lucky ones, it's a chore at best and a soul-wrenching experience at worst. 

Instead of having a holly jolly time, they have to endure their toxic relatives and all that it entails: inappropriate questions, negative remarks, and turning even the smallest things into a competition. 

But don't fret. As the famous saying goes, victory loves preparation, so here are some tips that will help you stay sane when dealing with those pesky relatives.

1. Set Boundaries

Don't hesitate to draw a firm line on the sand. Let it be known that you won't answer any questions that make you feel uncomfortable and that you won't tolerate any kind of abusive behaviour. Tell them to change the subject of the conversation if they're talking about something that bothers you. If you feel like you're at your wit's end, don't be afraid to go to another room to compose yourself.

2. Take Time For Yourself

Although the holidays are mainly about spending time with your family and giving to others, it doesn't mean that you should neglect yourself. Don't wake up as early as usual, and enjoy the comfort of your bed. Get a massage and/or a bubble bath with scented candles to relax and to ensure that you'll have enough energy to deal with whatever may follow later.

3. Go Easy On The Alcohol

There's a good chance you'll find yourself in a tight spot, and consuming alcohol may sound like a good idea at first. Maybe it'll ease up the tension. But it's a slippery slope. One shot too many can turn one minor disagreement into a fight, and you can end up hurting yourself and someone else.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Leave if Necessary

Don't let your well-being take a backseat. Don't hesitate to leave if the event is proving to be too much to handle. There are many ways to go about this. You can tell them that you have to leave because you don't feel so well, and it wouldn't even be a lie. You can have a friend call you and pretend that an emergency came up. Or you can just leave without an explanation if you're reaching your breaking point.

Other Things To Keep In Mind

Breathe in, breathe out.

Don’t hold a grudge. For your own sake, not for theirs. These negative feelings are bad for both your mental and physical health. Don't let them live rent-free in your head. Don't give them the satisfaction of wasting your energy for them. They are not worth it.

Everyone has their own outlook on life, and you don't need to try to change anyone's mind.

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