Dysfunction Junction aka Thanksgiving

family counseling

People often ask me if the office schedule is slow during the holidays and actually it’s one of my busiest seasons. That’s undoubtedly for different reasons depending on the client but overall the holidays have a tendency to become like a huge magnifying glass that highlights concerns within our relationships and/or finances.

I will address financial stresses during the holidays in a different blog post but for today, let’s talk about Thanksgiving (t-minus 48 hours and counting) and relationships.

If you are one of those people who absolutely loves getting together with your extended family and it always goes super smooth, no big relationship hiccups, and just can’t relate to people who dread the holidays for worry of what the day together might bring, then you are welcomed to continue reading but this post for all the others!

Alright team, how do we get through Thanksgiving with as little emotional trauma, stress, tears or high blood pressure as possible? I really like the old saying “less is more” in these types of situations; less time, less booze, less conversations about the worthiness of ObamaCare, less people-pleasing, less trying to get everyone to get along, less, less, less!

Our best approach is become like Switzerland; the appearance of being very neutral on all topics. Thanksgiving is NOT the day to hash out some long standing dispute with your mother-in-law, sister, brother, uncle or even the dog. Just be and breath. There are other days for dealing with issues that probably need to be addressed but Thanksgiving day isn’t it.

At the end of Thursday, as you lay your head on your pillow, what do you want to be feeling and what do you want to have happened in the day? Be intentional about your efforts because they won’t just happen. Maybe make a short list of what your best hopes are for the day and hide in the bathroom reading it from time to time if you need a good pep-talk. Is there another family member who desires to have a healthy Thanksgiving that you can partner with to hold each other accountable in keeping to the list of less that I mentioned above? What pre-self care do you need to do before Thursday so you don’t walk into the situation already drained and anxious?

Today is Tuesday so you have the rest of today and tomorrow to get a game plan. God intended families to be a blessing and a place of acceptance. If other relatives are not interested in those things, maybe the change needs to start with those of us who desire good family relationships.

Best of luck to you on Thursday!

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