Difficult relatives tend to emerge as Thanksgiving draws near. Many who expect to see extended family do so with trepidation. Sometimes, the people they are supposed to love are coming from a place of discomfort, anger or pain. Sometimes they drink too much, or abuse substances.
Over the next week and a half, I will be offering tips on how do get along better with your more difficult relatives. Here are my first three:
1) Remember that most of the reason they are upset has little to nothing to do with you. Their feelings and the thoughts that arise from them are creating a version of reality that is inaccurate. It is not you, even if you did have a cameo role in the drama they are creating. It is not personal.
2) If you go into the holidays thinking you somehow deserve to feel slighted, you will be. Eleanor Roosevelt said “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Don't let another person dictate your sense of self-esteem.
3) Feeling disliked stings. It is hard to not retaliate when someone seems to deliberately want to misunderstand and even hurt you! Do your best to not respond if you are emotionally reeling from a verbal attack, a nasty silence or show of contempt. Give both yourself and the other person time to back down.
Do your best to enjoy your holiday, and stay tuned for more tips on dealing with difficult family members as Thanksgiving season progresses!