Families are not perfect
The holiday season seems to underscore this fact: putting adults fuelled by eggnog in close quarters over a stretch of time are the perfect ingredients for bringing out the worst in us. So how do you bring peace into your home during this festive time?
Arguments usually get started when Uncle Joe says something to the effect, “I don’t like the turkey. It’s too dry.” Chances are he’s been saying this same thing year after year. And year after year, your sister has answered somewhat impatiently, “Can’t you say something nice for a change? I don’t see you volunteering to make the turkey.” To which Uncle Joe responds, “I do enough around here. And let me tell you if it weren’t for me, we wouldn’t be having this dinner in the first place…”
See where this is going?
Into the stratosphere. Unfortunately both Uncle Joe and your sister have played into each other’s sore spot by acting out a familiar conversation – their pattern of response is like a dance and as long as the dialogue stays the same, this “dance of anger” (See Dr. Harriet Lerner’s classic “The Dance of Anger” for more information http://www.harrietlerner.com/pages/dance_of_anger.htm) will repeat itself again and again.
The way to peace and happiness in your home this holiday season is to break the pattern of conversation that leads to conflict and upset. Instead of being baited by Uncle Joe’s comment, your sister can respond, “If it’s too dry for you, just leave it. There’s lots of other food so help yourself,” and direct her attention elsewhere. If Uncle Joe doesn’t have an opponent to argue with, he’ll likely quiet down. And that’s exactly what you want – for yourself and your family this special time of the year.
Happy holidays to you all! See you in 2013.