How to Cope With Difficult Relatives This Holiday Season

 

We all have that one relative who makes us cringe during holiday get-togethers – that the thought that they won’t make it to your reunion is so relieving you could throw a party. Yet, being around difficult relatives actually help us learn more about ourselves, and we’re just willing to learn from these people, they could help us become better and more mature individuals. To help make this process a bit easier for you, we listed down some helpful tips on how you can deal with that one family member that you’d rather not see on the holiday dinner this year.

  1. Identify What Makes Them Annoying

Is your relative a bully, devious or pompous? Perhaps he or she has a personality problem. But whatever the problem is, make sure that you identify and label it. Although it’s never a good idea to box people into categories, labelling the problem with your relative could help you see their behaviour more objectively, and create a healthy distance between you and that person. Just make sure that you wouldn’t mindlessly share this label with that person or you’ll end up experiencing a full-force blow out.

  1. Know Their Background

Taking an emphatic stance is another way of minimizing your negative attitude towards a difficult relative. Do you know why he became difficult? Perhaps he experienced a challenging childhood; maybe they felt misunderstood and coped through lashing out. Whatever the reason is, knowing a little bit about them will certainly shed some light as to why he behaves that way, making him actions more tolerable.

  1. Invite a Close Friend

Bracing yourself for an intense exchange with a difficult relative? If so, invite a friend who understands your situation. If your friend can’t support you in person, then call him or her instead. When the tension starts running high, having someone who you can bounce your feelings off can help in easing your negativity and making you feel more equipped to handle any drama.

  1. Laugh It Off

Use your humour to handle difficult relatives who would otherwise have you wanting to throw down. Some psychologists even recommend using silent humour so you can avoid internalizing the negative comments that your difficult relatives are saying. For instance, if your cousin is known for undercutting you, pretend that he’s a stranger who just found his way to your get-together. It can be difficult to feel irritated when you throw humour in the mix; plus, it’ll give your difficult relative less control over your actions.

It’s still possible to enjoy your family gathering even if you’re interacting with a difficult relative. Simply putting these tips to work will surely help you deal with that person, while enjoying the holiday season with the rest of your family.

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