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Friday, November 30, 2012

Special Days with - Well - Special People

The perfect family is truly only a myth. It is more the approach to it that matters. Here are some thoughts on how to deal with delicate family situations over the holidays, like some family members are not talking to others, or you don´t want to continue the 10 year family tradition of having all the work and all the people over, and such...

Having worked for almost a decade on a psychological helpline telephone, I know how stressful the holidays are for people: our number of calls soared. Also, I had my own share of family drama, when we all expected to experience family bliss.

I heard from two different friends this year who would invite the whole family (20 + people) year after year for the big family meal, without getting much help. Finally, they realized that they were not respected for it, but rather started to feel used. It was important for them, to end this and see what else might come of it. They each informed everyone well in advance that they won´t be hosting the gathering this year. It is very important, not to give any reasons or get negative. Just saying that it used to be fun and that they enjoyed the times makes an end on a positive note. Really letting go goes along with it. No expectations that anyone else will take on the big task is another. Families grow - usually slowly. Eventually it is only natural that new smaller groups form, which will eventually grow again. It is nobodies fault, it is the way things go.

In case you have some family members who don´t talk with each other, but you love each one just the same, invite them all and let them decide what to to with that. It is important that you do not get involved in "making peace" and also not take it personally if they choose not to come. Sometimes they are just not there yet to face the other. It is so nice to be accepted and not judged at that point. Give the gift of staying out of it.

Approaching family gatherings with gratitude that there is a family to gather is helping not to get any old resentments started. Arrive at family events as the person you are today, not who you were as a child or adolescent. Make sure you stay that person as well. Sometimes it helps to bring a friend along or leave a situation if the "experienced or psychological age" gets younger and younger.

These are a few things to consider. I wish you all a wonderful Holiday Season. Life is so precious and wonderful. There is no time to be wasted.

Happy Holidays!