SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS
A DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY
For many, the holidays brings a variety of emotions, ranging from joy to anger and fear. In my work as a psychologist, I am already having some talk of the negative part of the season.
Visits with family is a tradition for many this time of year. Meals are prepared, relatives from out of town gather to share old memories and events from their current life. But, for many, it also opens old wounds, starts new conflict, and causes many to regress in the progress they might have made.
Those who are anticipating problems have choices to make whether to attend or find a healthier place to be during those times. Yes, it is OK to say "NO". For those who don't have other friends or families to be with, there is always the option of doing volunteer work. Helping other not only takes the focus away from their own pain, but it can bring joy to others.
Some may choose to attend family gatherings, knowing the emotional turmoil that may develop. One of my favorite sayings is that "It is hard to be rational in an irrational situation". If that is the case, it might be wise to prepare for what to expect before going. I've had one person this week who did some "What ifs" and some role playing, knowing what is coming.
If there are old wounds that might be opened, causing fear, anger, or disruption during the visit, it might be wise to keep topics light and away from the issues that are looming. For just that time, it is OK to get that elephant out of the room. Perhaps doing activities together, whether it is watching a ballgame, cooking, or going to church might be helpful.
Many find that the time after the holidays is when the emotions surface. Whether it be from expectations not met, or wounds opened, this can be a difficult time. Suicide rates rise as well as other unhealthy emotions become difficult to deal with.
Fortunately for some, they reach out for help through a professional. If you, or someone you love, finds the holidays difficult to survive, it might be time to make a call to a psychologist, counselor, or therapist for help.
Dr. Nona Owens
580 Springridge Rd.
Clinton, Mississippi, 39056
Help for the dysfunctional family, Living with the borderline or narcissistic person, Psychologist in the Jackson, Clinton, Brandon, and Vicksburg area who treats family problems.