Difficult Relationships over the Holidays

Bridget Leschinsky

19 November 2021

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Difficult Relationships Over The Holidays

The holidays are approaching and this can bring out the best, and the worst in people. Couples that are contemplating divorce are already in a whirlwind of emotions dealing with a strained relationship. The stress of the holidays can cause additional tension to the whole family.  So how do you deal with difficult relationships over the holidays?

Difficult Relationships Over The Holidays

Managing a strained relationship is not limited to troubled marriages. During the holidays, most people must deal with at least one person who can be difficult to be around and cause tension. A strained relationship could be with a family member, friend, neighbor, or coworker. Any relationship that makes you sad, worried, anxious, or angry can be difficult to manage. Feelings are powerful, and if you are frustrated and angry, others will be as well.

So what can you do to maintain your joy and deal with difficult relationships over the Holidays? Here are some tips to help maintain your joy.

Be prepared: Determine the individuals who frequently irritate you and make an effort to comprehend the underlying cause of your annoyance. It’s beneficial to acknowledge your emotions. You will be more equipped to handle that individual once you have identified why and who irritates you.

Accept people for who they are: If you become agitated and call someone out on their bad behavior, you will cause stress and make matters worse. Confrontation can escalate into a power struggle, leading to defensiveness. Only your reaction is under your control.

Try to see the best in people: Identify and focus on at least one positive aspect of the person with whom you are having difficulty. When you start to feel your emotions escalating, perhaps you can repeat the positive trait to yourself like a mantra.

Set boundaries: Limit your interactions with difficult people. Set aside a couple of hours just for dinner. If you are visiting from out of town, you can stay in a hotel rather than at their home.

Take a time out:Keep your distance and limit your interactions with the person. Take a break outside or in another part of the house. Take three deep breaths (inhale for three seconds, exhale for three seconds) and visualize a place or thing that brings you joy.

Take care of yourself: It is critical to take care of yourself during the holiday season. Get enough sleep, don’t skip meals, and focus on things you enjoy doing: going for a walk, exercising, reading, taking a bath, spending time with your animals, watching a movie, and doing things you enjoy.

Remember the time spent with a difficult relationship during the holiday is only temporary. You can take steps to maintain a positive mindset so you can make the most of your time and enjoy your holiday.

Photo by Becca Tapert
Bridget Leschinsky is a CDC Certified Divorce Coach®

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