The holidays are supposed to be the season to be jolly. But for anyone who comes from a toxic family, it can be painful. Is it possible to prevent the emotional pain of spending time with family members? Yes. Instead of fear or fighting, it can be a time of comfort and joy.
Begin by letting go of any unrealistic expectations. For example, it is unrealistic to think, “It would be wonderful to spend two weeks with my ex-spouse, kids, grandkids, and our pets all in one house. What could possibly go wrong?”
It is more realistic to set boundaries by limiting time spent together, learning to say no when necessary, and discussing plans beforehand. Communicate boundaries in a way that is firm but respectful. (more…)