Do you dread required holiday visits because of the family drama? Do you already know that the family narcissist will not miss the opportunity to glorify herself while spewing venomous insults at you and other family members? Do you still remember Uncle Joe’s drunken argument at the dinner table last year?
How to Avoid the Holiday Family Drama
If this sounds like the drama you endure every holiday, there is hope. You do not have to stay home and then feel guilty because you let Grandma and Grandpa Jones down.
Check out these tips to help you get through the holidays with your sanity intact. Learn how to avoid feeling victimized and stressed over the family holiday drama. Discover how you can actually look forward to future holidays with your family.
The holiday narcissist
The narcissist does not change just because of the holidays. She will still do everything possible to make sure she is the center of attention so she can remind everyone of her greatness. She never misses the opportunity to gossip, cut others down and tell you how to improve your life.
The narcissist is only the center of attention when she has an audience. Refuse to be that audience. Remove yourself by helping in the kitchen, playing with the kids, helping to wrap gifts or whatever you can do to avoid giving the narcissist the satisfaction of your attention.
The family gossip
Everyone in the family knows that Aunt Mabel is the family gossip who tells everything no one in the family wants anyone else to know. Of course, Aunt Mabel adds her own sinister twist to make airing the family’s dirty laundry sound like an afternoon soap opera.
Much like the family narcissist, Aunt Mabel cannot gossip if you refuse to listen. Explain that you really do not get into gossip; make yourself unavailable or too busy to listen.
The family drunk
You hated sitting next to Uncle Joe last year because Uncle Joe never seems to know when to lay off whatever bottle of holiday cheer he can get his hands on. The more he drinks, the more Uncle Joe wants to debate why he is right and everyone else is wrong.
Do not allow Uncle Joe to draw you into his “Friendly debate” by leaving the room or changing the subject. Avoid sitting next to Uncle Joe at dinner by switching seats with someone so you and Cousin Sue can catch up on details about her new job or share stories about the kids.
The cook who cannot cook
Why is it that the one family member whose food is so bad the dog would probably not eat it is the one family member who insists on asking you how you liked her holiday dish? You could lie and say you loved it. However, that would likely only lead to her insisting on giving you a second helping.
Instead, explain that you ate too much already or that you will try it later. Let her see you take a few bites in her presence to avoid hurting her.
The holiday family drama likely will not disappear. You can get through it without a major psychotic breakdown, however, when you stop letting family members leave you stressed. Learn to make small adjustments so that you are not in the middle of the gossip, venomous insults, and drunken debates.
You can only become a victim if you let yourself become a victim. When you spend time with other family members instead, you have the satisfaction of helping prepare the meal, feeling like a kid again when playing games or having a snowball fight with the kids, engaging in enjoyable conversation and sharing a few laughs with other family members.
Who knows? You may actually have a good time when the family gathers for the holidays in the future.