Kerrie Mohr, LCSW, founder of A Good Place Therapy & Consulting, says some important issues come to the fore when it comes to sparking family discussions about holiday meals. “The politics and positions on masks and vaccines are very provocative discussions for families right now,” says Mohr. Add to that the fact that the holidays can be a very busy time for those who are recovering from eating disorders, those who are mourning a loved one and people who are not binary, and you have the perfect family recipe for emotional turmoil.
According to Mohr, one useful strategy is to think of your family as a jigsaw puzzle. Each piece goes out on its own for a year and then returns home for the holidays. “Sometimes the pieces stop matching, so we have to try to stop trying to use that piece. “We can change the piece of the puzzle, and that way the family can adapt and change,” he says. way to feel safe.
To do this this year, Mohr says you’ll want to have a game plan before you go home (or wherever you go this holiday season) for the holidays. and one for when you really got home to your childhood. Below, she shares her best tips to enjoy the season on your own terms – and no one else’s.
How to set boundaries around chatting before Eucharist
Let’s set the scenario: You are going to get in your car and drive a few hours to your parents’s house for Thanksgiving. Before you leave, take some time to think about what topics of conversation would make you feel more connected to each family member or friend at dinner. “Do you have clear, positive goals in mind about what you would like to connect with your family members: What values and interests do you share? What aspects of each family member’s life and experience do you want to learn more about? Do you want to share your own life and experience? ” asks clinical psychologist Gena Gorlin, PhD. For example, you may decide to ask your mom about her recent marathon training experience or receive a scoop from your cousin for a recent off-road trip.
“Do you have clear, positive goals in mind about what you would like to connect with your family members: What values and interests do you share?” – Clinical Psychologist Gena Gorlin, PhD
With these positive issues in mind, you will have a much easier time setting boundaries and redirecting the discussion when it no longer serves your mental well-being, says Dr. Gorlin. And — speaking of limits — Mohr recommends setting your own before jumping into the car. If you are recovering from an eating disorder, allow yourself to get off the table if people make annoying comments about pie and ice cream. Remember: You have a reason for how this holiday season will go. You do not need to sit down, suck it and accept the bad behavior.
How to close the conversations that trigger the trigger while you are home for the holidays
When you spot an incoming chat that triggers, Mohr recommends making a quick diagnosis of how the person meant the comment or question. “Are they curious, thoughtful, noisy, reckless or just malicious?” asks Mor. If someone is curious and respects some aspect of your life, it may be you I will they want to deal with them. Well, maybe you would not do it – and that’s okay. “When you honor your limits, you are free to choose what you want to share for yourself in your response,” adds Mohr.
If you decide you want to transmit the conversation, Dr. Gorlin recommends closing it down as concisely and immediately as possible. Say something like, “I prefer not to discuss it” or “I prefer not to talk about X.” Next, you can steer the discussion back to one of these arguably more positive topics mentioned earlier.
Of course, sometimes the discussion that triggers you will not be directly involved. For example, your uncle and dad may be at your table, but you can hear them talking about something that makes you feel uncomfortable. In this case, Mohr recommends that you synchronize with yourself before deciding what to do next. “Determine what is mixed. Notice where you can feel the tension in your body and recognize and accept the feeling you feel. Try to maintain curiosity about yourself and the emotions that arouse you, but also curiosity about the person who is causing you. “This curiosity helps to cultivate empathy and tolerance that will also help you stay calm.”
With this perspective, you will be able to know if intervening in this conversation will really serve your well-being. ““You may want to think about what kind of commitment aligns with your values, as not participating can also make you feel guilty,” says Mohr. “You can explore if this is a battle you have to fight and how it can serve you and the other stakeholders you are interested in.” Then you can make your choice. You may decide to redirect the conversation to one of the positives. You may justify yourself for a walk, you may choose to stand in your place and disagree, whatever you choose, keep in mind that your actions are in line with your values - even at an extremely demanding time. .
If all else fails, get ideas from others. “When the tension escalates and people are emotionally flooded, they are unlikely to use their rational minds to pursue a constructive dialogue. “It would be better to spend some time if you find yourself getting too hot,” says Mohr. Depending on the seriousness of the conversation, this may be like leaving the room for a few minutes or booking a hotel overnight so that you can put some distance between yourself and what or who fired you.
Above all, remind yourself of this “You’re worthy of limits and self – compassion,” says Mohr.
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