Are you dreading the family gathering or office party this Christmas because there always seems to be someone who gets up in your business and you're caught off guard? Read on for some tips on how to deal with those who bring Christmas chaos.
1) Use the very sophisticated technique of I'm Rubber and You're Glue. Remember that from when you were a kid? Well, the grown up version is much more refined because instead of getting in a red-faced huff and wearing your emotions on your sleeve, you are using the power of your mind, your thoughts, your internal dialogue. You’ll appear as peaceful as Buddha. Your mother, brother-in-law or ex will be puzzled as to why you’re not reacting; after all, that’s what they’re counting on, right?
When the name-calling, criticism, judgment, teasing, snide commentary or accusations start, simply take slow, deep breaths and in your mind; this is VERY important, do not actually speak your words out loud or you will endure years of teasing and quite possibly become the star of a YouTube viral video. So, in your own mind, sing that little verse in your best inner child voice.
If you’ve forgotten the lyrics, here they are:
I’m rubber, you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.
Put on a Mona Lisa smile and repeat the verse as often and as snarkily as needed to deflect the sting from their words. Make your own voice so loud that it drowns out the sound of their voice and all you see is their mouth moving but you can’t hear a thing because you’re gleefully singing your own tune.
2) Answer their question with a question. When the nosy and inappropriate cousin, tipsy co-workers and relatives you barely recognize start asking how much money your spouse makes, when are you going to leave the deadbeat boyfriend, how much weight you’ve gained or lost, how your sex life is; let me share the powerful question my wise Aunt Frances told me about.
In response to the uncomfortable / inappropriate / downright rude questions from people, you simply ask, Why do you want to know? If their reply seems reasonable and you want to answer their question, go right ahead. If not, a firm, That’s not something I discuss, should suffice.
3) Be vulnerable. You’ve watched enough Brene Brown videos; why not give it a try? With the right person, being vulnerable can be a beautiful exchange and an opportunity to deepen your communication. Remember to use your “I” statements; I felt hurt when you said … It’s not about blaming them; it’s about opening up and communicating your feelings. Do this in private with them, not during the family photo session around the Christmas tree or you’ll look like a drama queen.
4) Run, Forest, Run! Running away with intention isn’t really considered a reactionary fight-or-flight response. Physically walking away from the offensive person can be from a personal empowerment position if done with foresight and planning. It’s disempowering to scurry away and hide as a reaction to the rude or hurtful comment, but if you plan ahead, you’re less likely to be caught off guard and left feeling powerless like a victim.
Let’s say Uncle Joe drinks too much eggnog and launches into his usual diatribe about what you need to change to keep a boyfriend.
Set yourself up for successfully dealing with him with the If ‘X’ happens, I will ‘Y’. For example, if Uncle Joe lays into me about what’s wrong with me, I will politely excuse myself, affirm I am not broken, don’t need to be fixed and I’ll text a supportive friend.
Responding is empowering, reacting takes your power away.
5) Bless them and wish them peace. Probably the last thing you’d think about doing when dealing with your ex who may push your buttons this time of year. Maybe they out gift you with lavish presents for the kids or they won’t take care of your co-owned dog so you can go away with your new partner.
Feeling frustrated or irritated only depletes your wellbeing; it doesn’t affect them at all. So why not try a different response that doesn’t diminish your joy. Let it go.
Feel grateful you aren’t with them anymore and wish them nothing but happiness and peace. We can’t control what others do, but we can choose how we respond.
With a plan on how you’ll deal with the fruits and nuts of Christmas, you are free to go forth and be merry.
If you’re struggling to find any joy this holiday, join me in my private Facebook group, Soul Garden Healing, for a bit of comfort.