Dealing with the Aftermath of Family Holidays

After the holidays, my clients fill my ears with tales of their finest teachers – their family.

“Can you believe my aunt said that?”

“My grandfather is always picking on me.”

“Why can’t my mother-in-law just accept me as I am?”

The session always starts with a long dialogue explaining the he-said she-said of the incident then a blow-by-blow of all the fallout. Sometimes the client wants sympathy for being attacked. Sometimes the client wants validation of how horrid their family member is. Sometimes the client wants to replay the story again and again to show the injustice of it all.

argumentOnce I have all the details, I take them out of their story.

For better or worse, there will always be individuals in our lives who do not accept us, accept others, or are just appear to be mean nasty people. The way to handle these people is not to fix them, but to find the lessons for ourselves we have been given through knowing them.

Are we being attacked because we are feeling vulnerable?

Are we too sensitive because we have not owned our self-confidence?

Are we giving more weight to others’ words instead of believing in our truth?

Remember the old phrase, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me”? The only way words can hurt us is if we let them; if we allow the thoughts and words of others to hold weight. Here are a few ways to deal with family or friends who are malicious with their words.

Don’t Feed the Attacks: When we or someone we love are wronged we often want to retaliate or at least play defense. The rule of physics, however, is that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When we are attacked (action) – we attack back (equal and opposite reaction). The problem with this is that it creates an energy of its own and all of a sudden we are locked in a shouting match to which we can not escape. Instead refrain from reacting. If you do not attack back in any way, shape or form, the attacker loses energy because there is no energy returning.

Reframe: Remember Not My Monkeys – Not My Circus? Their drama becomes your drama only if you let it. Stay out of their game. Become objective and take the time to uncover why they are attacking. Are they insecure? Do they feel like an outsider? Do they need control? Once you can see their underlying need, it makes it easier for you to mentally remove yourself from the situation, because it is not about you, it is about them.

Find the Gift: People are in our lives for a reason. Find out why this person or situation has come to you. What do you need to learn about yourself? Where is an area you need to grow? How is being confronted by this person the means to help you move into your best self?

If there is someone being hurt by others words, do help them remove themselves physically from the situation. After you let them vent or release the emotion they need to, teach them all you have learned about letting go of other people’s drama.

Did this post come to you at just the right time? How do these words help you with the difficult people in your own life? Share your realizations with us.

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