Hi friends! We are amidst “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Yet, even on the happiest of occasions, some families experience well-established patterns that leave them feeling less than joyful.
This year, the staff at Connect Medical focused on prioritizing self-care and developing healthy coping strategies. Together, we identified four common toxic family traits and are here to share strategies for protecting your peace at your upcoming family gatherings.
- The “Here I Am.” Inevitably, there is one person at every gathering who believes themselves the main character. Instead of relating to others, the “Here I Am” dominates the conversation, oblivious to the energy of the room.
- The “Revolve Around Me.” This person leads with entitlement and requires accommodation. The timing of the gathering, the menu, and the program are often tailored to their preference. They expect others to happily comply, and noncompliance can lead to fractured family events in the future.
- The “Negative Nelly.” This person has the half-empty glass, no matter how much egg nog is available. The dark cloud following this person rains with pervasive pessimism, victim mentality, judgment, jealousy, and passive-aggressive commentary.
- The “Gaslighter.” This family member lives by their own truth, blames others, and cannot be trusted to show up on time, if at all. They can be unpredictable and unreliable, and for the sake of the holiday, we keep hoping this year will be different.
Here’s how we can be prepared to gather and still “Sleep in Heavenly Peace:”
- Honor the “something is not right here” nudge. Just because “it’s always been like this” doesn’t make it right to continue that way. Listen to the small voice inside that alerts you to your discomfort or your boundaries being disrespected.
- Observe, don’t absorb. Approach behaviors that cause triggers like a fascinating art exhibit. Distance yourself from your emotional energy, and rather than absorbing the drama, stay curious and neutral.
- Hold your boundaries. With your partner, if applicable, determine what is most important to you and your family. Make decisions with these boundaries as true north.
- Remember “No” is a complete sentence. Sometimes, the way to keep your peace is to limit the time spent in uncomfortable situations.
Dear reader, your family and friends are a gift, and it’s important to recognize that toxic traits likely point to wounds below the surface. So try to assume the best in those you encounter this Christmas season, and try not to internalize their comments or behaviors! With prayer, grace, and healthy boundaries, may this be the year you break unhealthy patterns and establish something new with “Love’s Pure Light.”
See you next month!
Yours truly, Jillian