How to Navigate Family Conflict During the Holidays

The holidays are almost upon us! For many people the holidays bring feelings of joy, thankfulness, and gratitude and they look forward to time spent with family. However, this is not the case for many people. For some, the holidays bring up negative feelings about past conflict and interactions with family members, and the thought of seeing family brings up many feelings, including anxiety, resentment, grief, and more. If the thought of being around family this holiday season is bringing up uncomfortable feelings, then this blog post is for you. Here are some tips on how to navigate family conflict this holiday season.

  1. Be honest with yourself about your feelings

    The first step in navigating conflict with family is to know how you feel and why you feel that way. You may feel resentful or angry in certain situations, but what is specifically causing you to feel that way? For example, do you feel resentful when a certain family member tries to control everything? Or maybe another family member says mean or demeaning things? Try to identify the specific situations that cause the uncomfortable feelings.

  2. Identify what your priorities and expectations are for the holidays

    The next step is to identify what YOUR priorities and expectations are for the holidays. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you better identify these:

    1. Who do I want to spend time with during the holidays?

    2. What is most important to me during the holidays?

    3. How can I make time for what is most important?

    4. Besides seeing loved ones, what other ways do I want to spend my time during the holidays?

  3. Create limits and boundaries based on your feelings and priorities

    Once you’ve identified the reasons why you feel certain ways and your priorities for the holidays, it’s now time to set up limits and boundaries for yourself. One way to create boundaries is by identifying a schedule for the holidays that incorporates your priorities for the holidays. Creating a schedule also allows you to put limits on the amount of time you spend with certain people.

    Boundaries also include how you plan on protecting yourself or responding to others in situations that trigger uncomfortable feelings. If someone consistently says things to you that are hurtful or triggering, then go ahead and write down some responses that allow you to stand up for yourself in the moment.

I hope this blog post is helpful in how to navigate family conflict during the holidays. Stay well and healthy and reach out anytime!