Holidays Plus Family Are Not Always Happy

Happy Holidays???

Call me the Bubble Burster if you will but I know too many people and have experienced for myself some Unhappy Thanksgivings and Christmases that were anything BUT Merry, not because there’s a lack of love in my family, but because MY FAMILY are not The Cleavers.

So regardless of the holiday when it comes to dealing with family, it’s YOU who needs to change.

I’ll talk about mine for a moment because I ain’t scared of ‘em and they, although not always happy with me for it, KNOW I’ll tell the truth about us – or “my” truth amongst us; it’s liberating for me.

My family is made up of individuals, and like yours, we each have different perspectives of our whole family experience .  Some of us have traveled dicey paths even to the point of wondering HOW we are of the same gene pool, others are educated professionals, others make a decent living working whatever jobs we can get, some don’t and have never worked – know the welfare system well enough to live almost as well as I do, others you might recognize if I mentioned their names, some know the inside of prisons better than their community…you get my point  – we’ve all taken different paths which have led us to living very different lives and different kinds of lifestyles; you name it, we’ve probably got it in our family!

Family Is As Family Does

My beau says that all the time, “Family is as family does.” His way of saying blood does not make one family, consistent loving actions do.  Some of us will fare off far better to adopt this philosophy because the pain of dealing with the blood family members cut deep.

You’re the Problem

For those who don’t have the associated pain of past hurts with family, but are just annoyed by family differences, the problem is likely that you keep expecting that things will be different! The angst about going home is happening within you because you’re hopeful that family members will have changed and THAT’S a problem. If you want to have a better experience WITH them then YOU change.  Ensuring a happier time than you’ve known for the Holidays will start with you. So the question is: what is the one thing that you can SET in your mind to expect It Is What It Is;” that inevitable thing that happens every single time you get around family? You know…the belligerent brother, the controlling sister, the parents – drunken father-in-law or passive mother, the out of control niece… you know the labels you’ve attached to each of ‘em!  Whatever you’ve BEEN doing AIN’T WORKIN’, SO here are some things to consider as you set a more realistic expectation:

  • Decide now, to Live and Let Live because frankly unless they are your children AND under aged, they are NOT YOUR BUSINESS.
  • Decide now to ALLOW what is; to respond differently to the things they do that are different than what you do than you have in the past.
  • Decide now to allow them to be who they are…the same person they are when you are not around. You know very well that it’s what they do all the time; it’s how they live and how things happen when you are not there. You know that they will just return to “normal” – “their” normal – as soon as you leave. As much as you may want different for them, they have as much a right to live their lives as they choose as you do, so decide that you will NOT be fuquitable; you’ll not allow them to ‘tie your panties in a wad’ because as long as you do, they will fuquit you while they – each of them, will go on with their lives as usual, as soon as you leave.
  • Decide now to have a Happy Thanksgiving, in spite of them, with the realization, that you cannot change them, nor their perception of your family experience, moreover, neither should you. You are each entitled to your own perception and interpretations.  It’s your family, not your “project”…none of them!  Each of them is responsible for themselves, as you are for yourself.

Enjoy the Entertainment

So, how should you handle them? You KNOW you have family members who are drama magnets – from the “victim” to the one needing the “spotlight”! If you’re smart you’ll learn to enjoy the entertainment; their lives are so bizarre that you couldn’t make that stuff up, so learn to watch ‘em like a movie; the stranger the stories, the more fascinating.  If you were sitting in a theater watching a movie that kept you on edge, the more captivated you’d be, right?  Learn to watch them the same way.

I’m fascinated by Judge Judy, Judge Mathis, Judge Joe Brown, Judge Lynn Toller (Divorce Court – a favorite!), and my 15 minute daily fix – Maury!  I see things on these shows that my responsible decisions just won’t create as realities in my life.  Well, I don’t know about YOUR family, but members of mine make decisions that create very similar realities…listen and enjoy in the same manner. You’ll rest better and probably live longer – you’ll, at least, have happier Thanksgivings and Merrier Christmases.  And they’ll like you more too!

Power of Choice

Here’s the reality, the holidays won’t make your life with family any more magical so it’s a setup for disappointment to expect that your Thanksgiving with them is supposed to be any ‘happier’ or that your Christmas should be any “merrier”.  If it does turn out to be pleasantly different, be pleasantly surprised, but for many a more realistic expectation is that sometimes you’ll find that going home for Thanksgiving is to increase your gratitude for the rest of the year, or for Christmas, to prove your ability to love despite rather than because; reminding you from whence you came and, that daily, you get to choose the life you live. NEXT Decision BETTER! 😉

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About Zara Green
Hi, I'm Zara Green, A "Do Better" Fanatic and Your Advocate...I'm glad you're here! As a personal growth Author and Speaker, who's Individuality & Resilience-Focused, I spark conversations that expand thinking, encourage effective & productive responses and produce better individual decision-making and better interpersonal communications in relationships. Growing Up with Zara because life is meant to be enjoyed ;-)

11 Responses to Holidays Plus Family Are Not Always Happy

  1. Zara Green says:

    Talk to me, I’m listening! 🙂

  2. Linda says:

    At the beginning of this year, my brother who was 63 had a stroke during knee replacement surgery and two weeks later, I sat with my 63 year old sister in law (not the same brother’s wife!) as she died from cancer – less than 30 days from her diagnosis. During the rest of the year, I sold my house, gave away 2/3 of my belongings, held my dog while she died, celebrated my mother in law’s 80th birthday, moved to another state to start a new life with my partner and 14 year old daughter, held my partner after her mother died, celebrated my mother in law’s life with people who never wanted to meet me in the 20 years I’ve been with my partner because they didn’t approve of her “gay lifestyle…” Today, all of our children and their S/O’s are together celebrating our “family bush” – way too complicated to be a “tree!” And I don’t care about our differences. I don’t care about anything other than the fact that we’re alive and able to enjoy each other. Who knows what tomorrow may bring? I just want to celebrate today – it was fabulous. “If I should die before I wake…” I’m OK with that. I have loved and been loved. Nothing else matters. Take a deep breath in – and let go of what doesn’t matter. And spend tomorrow with whoever makes you feel loved – with whoever makes your heart sing!

  3. Zara, what am I going to do with you? LOL. If I didn’t know better, I would think that we were headed to the same destination for Thanksgiving. We certainly share a few of the same relatives.

    One thing I’ve learned to do is give people their problems back. If they want to be a victim, then I let them. But I don’t carry on of their junk around with me. I’ve also learned how to walk amongst witches without being hexed. So I don’t let the gossip mongers and critics who will have nothing to do but sit over in a corner and talk about everybody and everything affect me. And you know what, life is so much sweeter this way.

    Love you girl,

  4. Zara Green says:

    Oh Linda, what a bumpy journey, yet your Spirit beams from peace…so admirable!

    A “family bush” – I love it, truth is, bushes are far more common than trees, today. And with the complexities of family…it’s far more important to create bonds than to depend on family ties. As my beau says, “Family is as Family does.”

    I so applaud you for living your truth. 🙂 I promote it heavily. Linda, I wish you the happiest holiday seasons and continued peace all year ’round.

    Thank you for sharing your story, I am certainly, enriched because of it!

    HUGE Hugs and MUCH Love. 😉

  5. Zara Green says:

    Lisa, well, you’re gonna love me! 🙂

    I wouldn’t, at all, be surprised if we DID share the same relatives but EVERY family has its share of characters and WHO the characters are depends on who you ask in the family. lol!

    That “one thing I’ve learned…give people their problems back” IS A LESSON WELL LEARNED.

    Lisa, we always want more for them, but just as we can’t force anything on anybody else, we can’t with them either.

    Live and let live…that it, Girl! 🙂

    Love You Too, Lisa! And thanks for chiming in! 😉

  6. merilyn reid says:

    I wish that there had been this blog when I was young- it would have made my life so much easier.(of course in the 60’s we didn’t have blogs, and if we had had them, this truth would have been sac-religious and heretical) I love the truths that are in your blogs. I am old now, and can attest to the truth that you speak, so if you are reading this and are young, pay attention and follow- it will save you so much heart ache

  7. Zara Green says:

    What an awesome perspective Merilyn! Reading that I wanted to put a bullhorn to your mouth…there’s something about “if only I’d known then what I know now” perspectives. 🙂

    Thank you so much for contributing your wisdom and for supporting my work. Huge HUGS ‘n Much LOVE to you.

  8. Virginia Tickles says:

    Yes ma’am, sounds like you know my whole family…and sounds like we’ve taken on the same attitude about it. It’s called meeting them where they are, and loving them for who they are. Everyone, no matter how they act, brings something of value into our lives, if for no more than to remind us of who we don’t want to be like, or what we will do differently in our lives. Keep telling it like it is…because that’s how we do it!

  9. Zara Green says:

    @Virginia — girl, that is it! Meet ’em where they are and don’t drag ’em along with you. Leave them right where they are if that’s where they choose to stay.

    Ahhhhh, that’s so much better, lol! Thanks for chiming in! 🙂

  10. AAT says:

    Just read this and you’re right. I’ve always dreaded the holidays and felt anxious about being around “them, ” but I’m learning to not give my power away. My relatives, which are my elders, are grown therefore their behavior is a choice! My problem is expecting them to behave in a mature manner, but I’m learning to expect nothing and just do me and minimize the time spent in order to preserve myself.

    Thanks for the read~AAT

  11. Zara Green says:

    You got it, ATT!! Accept them for who they are. Changing is their choice. It’s THEIR lives to live exactly how they choose. Watch ’em like a movie, girl! 😉

    Thanks for sharing! xo

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