As much as we may want to visit with family at the holidays (or just feel obligated to), many of us are weighed down with family drama. We feel heavy with the fear of unresolved conflicts being triggered, old wounds reopening, and multiple miscommunications devolving into emotional chaos.
Just as you might trim your waistline before summer, so, too should you trim your family drama before the end of year holidays. For swimsuit dieters, there are quick, easy and even healthy ways to achieve this trimming (such as The Southbeach Diet). For those of us carrying around a few extra pounds of family drama, there’s a surefire way to trim down as well - before getting caught in the “Hell”-iday flames.
The technique I’m about to share with you is simple as One, Two and….well, forget about Three. That’s it actually. That’s the whole technique. Drop the number three from all your family interactions in the days leading up to your family gathering. In other words, “three’s a crowd” and so don’t talk to anyone in your family about any other member of your family. At All. Under no circumstances. Keep all contact one-on-one.
Stick to this rule and just like abstaining from carbs will trim down your body in two weeks,trimming three from your family relationships will reduce your load of “dirty laundry” in the same amount of time. Keep it up between now and New Year’s Day, and you will coast through the holidays like Santa on a sleigh – minus the heavy load. I realize that this is easier blogged than done, but I promise you will see results if you are disciplined.
This means that if a family member calls you up to complain about a prehistoric argument with another family member, change the subject. Keep the subject of the dialogue positive, and only on you and the other person, not anyone else in the family. This may result in yourtriangulating relative (TR) to feel rejected. Kindly remind TR that you are very interested in them and their life, but that you simply do not wish to discuss the relative they have beef with – instead you’d rather hear what’s going on with them. Your conversations may become much shorter than ever before, and this is ok too. As long as the conversations are positive and dyadic (only focused on you and that other person) you’re good.
After trying this (for at least a week), you can help yourself even more by proactively contacting relatives you will see at an upcoming gathering, but are used to only being in touch with through someone else. Again, these may be short exchanges, but at least they will be positive, and you will have made a direct connection, thereby avoiding any preemptive fanning of “Hell”-iday flames. By doing this, you may also even create an unexpected firewall for yourself, if and when family drama erupts.
By the time you arrive at your event, you will already be familiar with how to have brief, positive encounters with each person present. Everyone will know that you’re not the person to confide in regarding their smoldering feelings about others present, and since you haven’t talked about anyone behind their backs, you can enjoy the levity of having nothing to hide.
Leave the number three to 1) the three blessings while lighting your menorah (for Hanukkah), 2) lighting the three candles of hope/ and the three candles of struggle (for Kwanzaa), or 3) for setting up the three wise men in your nativity (for Christmas); but trim the number three from your family tree.