You Don’t Have to Visit Toxic Family Members During the Holidays

M. Brown
Erwan Hesry via Unsplash

You don't have to spend another holiday with family members who make you miserable and here are 3 great reasons why:

1. Your Mental Health Matters

Even though many of us are raised to believe that the holidays are a time for visiting our relatives and familial obligations are a priority over everything else, putting your mental and emotional health at risk for the sake of “family” doesn’t actually have to be a thing.

Yes, many families didn't get to see one another for the holidays during the COVID lockdowns of 2020 and that was unfortunate on many levels. However, you don’t have to visit or host people who upset you — even for the holidays.

If you find yourself dreading the holidays because there are certain members of your family who completely stress you out, make you feel angry, or cause you unnecessary emotional pain, then why do it?

There comes a time when you simply need to put your own sanity above those tried and true “family traditions.”

You may be saying to yourself, I can’t say no to my family — they will be angry with me and will never forgive me!

Well, that’s the thing. People who love you — even your family members — should respect and accept the decisions you make in order to keep yourself mentally stable. They should understand that even though they may not like your decision — it may be what’s best for everyone involved.

In fact, the amount of inner turmoil caused by spending time with family members who completely stress you out versus the uncomfortableness you may feel simply saying no may actually be more harmful to your psyche.

So you may as well do what your gut is telling you — skip awkward and distressing holiday get-togethers. Make your own traditions. Decide what you want to do. Because you can.

2. Peace, Love & Joy

I get it, the holidays are supposed to be about getting together, forgiving one another, and having peace and joy around the fireplace.

But what if you simply cannot get along?

What if you and your grown siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, or other extended family members simply can’t be in the same room together without arguing about religion, politics, or some old-time family grudge?

What kind of peace and joy is that?

If the holidays are supposed to be about harmony then why not make it harmonious for yourself?

There is a special kind of joy that can be obtained by asserting yourself and creating boundaries around events in your life, including the holidays. It’s not about being cruel or selfish to your family, it’s about doing what’s best not only for yourself but also perhaps also for others.

If the holidays are about giving, and you simply do not have anything to give in a kind way when you're around certain people, then perhaps you should do yourself and everyone else a favor and dedicate your time to doing the things you love and spending time with the people in your life who truly bring you a sense of happiness and joy.

3. You’re an Adult

Yes! You’re a bonafide adult now which means you get to make your own decisions regarding who you choose to spend time with and who you don’t — even during the holidays.

Sure, those family members with whom you don’t want to spend time may try to guilt-trip you or get angry — but if you are really and truly dreading the holidays because you simply can’t stand to be around certain people each year, why keep putting yourself through it?

As we get older and evolve as people, we need to start shedding that desire to gravitate towards unhealthy people-pleasing patterns for the sake of keeping the peace.

Not only that, but continually placing yourself in situations you hate and then complaining about later it borders on martyrdom which is not only a sad place to be mentally but it’s not a good look for anyone.

So, pass on the drama, skip the martyrdom, ignore the guilt-trips, and focus on creating new traditions with family or friends who make you feel glad it’s the holidays, who make you feel excited to celebrate with, and who truly manifest a sense of thankfulness in your life.

Happy Holidays!

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