The Holidays and Family Anxiety
By Lisa Thomson on December 10, 2012
It's the most wonderful time of the year...or is it? There is a whole lot of hidden anxiety and stress during the holidays in anticipation of meeting familial obligations. Let's face it, we don't all have a Walton's family and there are bound to be some tensions between some of our siblings, parents or in laws. The question is how do we deal with it during the holiday season where family 'love' is in your face. You need look no further than all the holiday movies that repeat the same theme "Christmas is a time to re-establish lost bonds with estranged loved ones".
But if we are estranged then how can we be defined as 'loved ones'? Isn't that a misnomer? It almost seems hypocritical to try to re-establish something that wasn't there the other 364 days of the year. In the name of baby Jesus, is it necessary to put all disappointments aside? I for one, disagree. I would much prefer to focus on the people in my life who are constants like the northern star. The ones who answer the phone with a smile you can feel over the line. The ones who are there at the end of the day to give you the hug you need. The ones who rely on us to give them a ray of sunshine on a rainy day. To me those are the people who are important and deserve our extension of Christmas tidings.
If guilt gets the better of you, try not to feel obligated. Giving those who mistreated you ongoing time and attention only rewards their poor behavior. Giving someone a second chance is one thing but remember when it gets to the fifth chance, you may have to come to terms with the fact that this person has finally blown it. As Maya Angelou says "You teach people how to treat you". Whether a peson is realted by blood or otherwise, this still holds true.
The next time you're enjoying a holiday movie and the repeated theme of family love comes through, remember your situation is your own and sometimes a universal theme does not apply. Enjoy your holidays with the ones who are prescious to you and who deserve your love. If you can abide by this personal rule for the holidays it just might be the "Most wonderful time of the year"!
How do you handle situations at Christmas to deal with extended family?