Family Disputes: Preparing for Christmas Chaos
More often than not Christmas isn’t all snow, Santa and eating chocolates in front of the television. For many families it brings raised tensions, disputes and arguments that can make it a difficult time of year for everyone. Despite what you might hope, being a family does not mean that you will all get along automatically. It’s not uncommon for issues to emerge around the festive period due to the additional financial and emotional stress, or because members of your family have clashing personalities and may have treated each other badly in the past.
Don’t let these fights and arguments prevent you from having fun this Christmas. There are a variety of ways that you and your family can learn to overcome your issues and interact with each other in a more positive manner. Read on, if you want to understand how you can make this Christmas different from those in the past and have a relaxing and loving time with your relatives.
Keep a Diary
It is a common misconception that diaries are reserved for thirteen-year-olds, but by keeping a journal you can put your feelings down on paper and look for deeper reasons behind your family arguments. Detailing when, why and where you’ve had previous disputes can give you a chance to look over them objectively and reflect. Try focusing on different ways that the situation could have been handled as well as thinking about whether the subject of the argument was really worth fighting over.
If a situation starts to present itself where you think that there might be a dispute between specific family members this holiday season, you can use your knowledge of past fights to help calmly resolve any issues. By understanding how you, and others, respond to conflict, you will know what to say and do to avoid making the situation worse. Letting your family read your diary or telling them how you feel and explaining how their behaviour affects you can help them to reflect on their own actions, potentially preventing further issues.
Families might argue for a variety of reasons during the Christmas season. It might be that people’s opinions and outlooks don’t match, or that there is underlying anger from a previous argument that remains months, or even years, later. Either way, you can work together during the run-up to Christmas to learn how to forgive and accept one another for who you are.
Make some time to talk about your issues with individual family members and allow them to speak to you about anything that they feel you have done to hurt them. Bring the family together a couple of weeks before the big day to have an open discussion about any ongoing disputes. Try to keep the situation controlled by having a family member with no bias there. You might not be able to sort out all of the conflicts in one day, but you can take this time to learn how to find peace with each other. If there is something you don’t like about another person or you have a problem with the way that they act, it doesn’t always give you the right to argue with them about it. Everybody is different and can see the world in a way that you can’t. Once your family understand this, a harmonious Christmas should be much easier.
Go to Therapy
There might be personal reasons that cause you to erupt when surrounded by family that you don’t want to discuss with your relatives. Perhaps there has been some neglect or abuse, and you would rather deal with your issues without involving them. Going to therapy can be the best solution, as it allows you to speak to an outsider who can provide expert advice, support and help.
In counselling, you can identify what deep, internal conflicts or issues are affecting your mood and behaviour, and what tactics you can use to overcome them. There may be something that you can’t identify yourself that causes tension and changes the way that you interact with your family. Often, it’s not your family members you want to argue with, but instead, you are just projecting your emotions onto them. By understanding the root of your feelings and anger, you can disconnect them from your family, so when it comes to Christmas time, you can have a happy day without any stress or upset.
Try Group Therapy
If talking with your family is hard, creates further arguments, or doesn’t lead to any resolutions, then group therapy is a very good option. Counselling works well because you are introducing someone who isn’t biased or judgmental into the dispute. By adding someone who has experience handling the many personalities and emotions that present in all families, they can help you to work together towards a satisfactory solution. They will be able to control the situation more effectively and make sure no severe arguments or fights erupt, creating a calm environment that encourages positive conversation.
Some members of the family may have deeper issues or more pressing concerns that they were previously afraid to talk about. But therapy can offer the safe and honest environment for them to be open with their relatives and perhaps even reveal something that completely alters the situation.
Don’t let the family arguments ruin everyone’s Christmas this year and prepare ahead of time by working together, or alone, to look into your issues and overcome them. By looking into why you feel the way you do, it makes it easier to reach a resolution or understanding of the other person/people. If you think you or your family could benefit from therapy, then contact me today for more information.