Sunday, November 16, 2014

Deja Vu of Holiday Family Drama!

It was almost one year ago today that I wrote the post below.

Happy Holidays.... Really, {With MY Family?}

Go HERE to read it....

Yes, it's that time of year again. 
And as the festivities begin, I remind myself that my family members are who they are. 
There's nothing I can do about it. 
Family relationships tend to bring out the worst in us, regardless of how evolved and self-aware we might be.  

What is unacceptable treatment? 

If any of these things sound familiar to you, you're definitely not alone.

Rejection, abandonment, not taking the time to get to know you or to be in your life, making you feel unwelcome, someone being competitive or hypercritical of you, pressuring or forcing you to be someone you are not, blaming, ostracizing, manipulating, belittling, neglecting and abusing you…the list goes on and on and on. These types of experiences can make a deep imprint on our hearts and inhibit our ability to react without them being present in the back of our mind’s. Our reactions to life become skeptical, doubtful, fearful and we more often see the dark instead of the light in both people and situations.
These negative experiences can jade us for a lifetime, unless we learn to do whatever it takes to get ourselves into a positive nurturing environment and replace negatively influenced reactions with positive ones.
Do you have a "grinch"(or two) in your family?

Here are signs indicating that you could use a break or change?

-Your own health and mental well-being is damaged
-You feel emotionally, physically and/or spiritually injured
-The relationships with your immediate family/spouse/partner is suffering
-There is violence, physical and/or emotional abuse
-There is substance abuse
-There are constant struggles for power
-There is unnecessary distrust and disrespect

Some things you can do:

1. Get group help. If it’s possible and your family/family member is up for it, get counselling.
2. Accept your parents or family member’s limitations. Know that you don’t have to repeat their behaviour. You are not them.
3. Allow yourself to get angry. Use it productively. Exercise. Do sports. Use art and creative expression. Write in a journal. Don’t withhold your emotions.
4. Seek guidance for yourself. Talk to someone, a counsellor, a life coach —anyone who will listen, someone you feel comfortable and safe with. Ask for help with change and with taking risks.
5. Limit your time. Do whatever it takes to limit the amount of time you have to spend with the toxic family/family member. Limit visits, holidays, do what you can to prevent as much conflict as possible.
6.  Set healthy boundaries. Try to not allow yourself to get sucked back in. You can love and wish them the best from a distance.
7.  Learn ways to protect yourself. Practice having a regular time of prayer and reading God's Word. Learn to be patient with yourself and others, but realize when enough is enough.
8. Practice doing good things for yourself. Do things that build self-esteem. Do things you enjoy. Invite others that love you along.
9. Create balance in your life. Take care of yourself physically and eat a balanced healthy diet. Be aware and be cautious of things you may do compulsively (eating, shopping, drinking, etc)
10. Take charge of your life and your happiness. Don’t wait for others to give it to you.

I found this life coach by the name of Jon Mercer on Youtube. I think he had some good pieces of advice. 

Letting go:
Sometimes, letting go of some family members can prove to be more helpful (even life saving) than grasping at toxic strings, looking for what ifs or chasing disillusioned beliefs. At the end of the day, we are all certainly in this together, but each of us have an honest obligation to do what is best for ourselves. Always remember, you can’t force anyone to change.

Over the last few years, I have found this to be true in my own family relationships. My husband and I have chosen to limit the amount of time spent with some family members. Others, we actually have decided to, at least for the time being, stay clear of family members who have caused us to have a toxic relationship.  This isn't easy at all.(In fact, we did everything possible to keep from doing it.) Just as the Youtube speaker above said, 
"It can be difficult, because you have two competing forces going on - A drive to love your family members and a drive to protect yourself." 
We felt in these cases, we ultimately were the ones who had to be content with our decision.


  1. Great advice! It is so hard to balance what is best for you while trying to extend love to your family. Thank you for linking up to The Weekend Brew.

    1. Thanks! For some people, finding that middle ground is easier than for others. I have some family members that just don't get it. I think the only kind of relationship is one with tension and squabbling. I also have a family member right now that is making some VERY unwise choices and unless I say I'm o.k. with that, they really don't want anything to do with me. It's sad, but there are times that one outweighs the other. Like I said, we do our very best to make amends with every member of our family. Some just don't want that. Thanks for stopping by, sister!

  2. I certainly understand your post and last Christmas was the worst Christmas I have ever had - - no comment, but it was. This year it should be better. I have a sister who for the most part I keep clear of. She needs a friend, but seems to run most friends off with her rants and words. Oh well, life is great and we do the best we can. Thanks for sharing with us here at "Tell me a Story."

    1. I have a sister like that, too, Hazel. I love her like crazy, but can barely stand to be around her very long. I'm glad that things are looking up for your family time together this coming season! Have a blessed week!

  3. I have been doing the "Grinch" in many places, many times, since I was 14, back in '59, and my teacher had handed me a book to memorize in Tacoma, and I could do it at that jr hi in English or Acting classes and also at a children's tv show. Well, I did then. And, sometimes I do it once or twice [churches, schools, hospitals, assisted living, homes] also with "The Innkeepers Daughter" that I began to do in '79. At any rate, my goal is to do it this year, and so far I have 4 places to do it... young kids at churches and older ladies. So, at 55 years of doing it, I think this is the end. But through doing it and sharing about it, I know hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of the seed of God have been planted around and about. You made me smile. I wish I could show you in my costume that someone made for me 35 years ago. Makes people laugh and rejoice. Thanks for putting up with me, but you just grabbed me!

    1. LOL! I would love to see you in your "Grinch" outfit, caryjo!! I've never seen a play put on about it, but I love the movie!!


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