This Holiday Survive Toxic Family Members With These 5 Powerful Strategies

Toxic Family for the Holiday

“Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays…”

Perry Como

The holidays are here again. At this time of year, we’re reminded how important it is to spend time with family and be together. But what are you supposed to feel or do when your family is toxic and dysfunctional? Should you take a deep breath and go to the family dinner, even though it is going to leave you emotionally drained for the next week and regretting your decision to attend at all?

If you decide to attend the family dinner, is there anything you can do to make the experience as painless as possible? I know you’re looking for quick and solid strategies here, so check out these tips to help you make it through the holiday season with your dysfunctional family.

5 Tips To Survive The Toxic Holiday Season

1. Set Boundaries & Expectations

It is important to set boundaries both before the holiday season begins and during specific events within it. Once you establish what you will and will not accept, stick to it, and your experience will be much smoother. For example, if you are attending a dinner party, make sure that you are aware of what the purpose of your attendance really is.

Understanding what you need to do to have a successful event puts you in control of your outcome, where it will be hard for toxic relatives to misguide you. Setting expectations helps rid you of any anxiety that may come because of an unwillingness to disappoint others. Knowing what needs to be done before meeting with your dysfunctional family allows you to prepare yourself mentally and reduce stress levels considerably.

2. Build A Support System

Build a support system by surrounding yourself with good friends who understand your situation, share similar interests, and encourage you! If it’s possible and if they’re willing, maybe your friend can accompany you to your holiday gathering. And you can return the favor, equally supporting each other and making a difficult time a little easier. Having good friends that are real helps to open the door for mutual respect, honesty, empathy and love.

You may also connect with a family member you relate to and whose company you enjoy. That relative likely may be just as anxious as you about the gathering. But if you join together and push more positive vibrations in the room, maybe more family members will follow you and take the attention away from that one or two family members who are often the source of toxicity.

Holiday Season
Stay Busy to Avoid Toxic Family Drama

3. Stay Busy

If possible, make sure that you stay busy during the gathering. Volunteer to help prepare the meal, organize the entertainment, or plan your family’s effort to give to others during the holiday season. This will keep you away from any toxic family members who may try their best to get you alone in order to manipulate you into feeling even more vulnerable than before. You might even make some splendid memories along the way which can help reduce stress levels!

Of course, you should not use your cell phone or television to distract from the environment. Those actions might actually provoke a dispute by a relative who feels slighted or annoyed at your attitude. Honestly, if you expect you will be isolated and relying on your phone or television for company, you might reconsider attending at all.

4. Try To Find The “Gift” In Everyone

Even if you consider someone to be toxic when looking at them from a distance, it doesn’t mean they aren’t also loving in their own way, just like everyone else. Finding their positive traits will assist you in developing more compassion, which will free up your mind to focus on the important things, rather than wasting your energy feeling anger or resentment towards them.

I am reading your thoughts right now, and I know you are saying your dysfunctional relatives don’t have any redeeming qualities. I know, and I understand why you say that. But let’s just assume there is something interesting about just about everyone, allegedly (a little holiday humor to make you smile).

5. Know Your Limits

Sometimes it’s good to take a break from toxic individuals. If you feel as though you can no longer pick yourself up after spending time around someone who makes you feel less worthy, then it may be best to place some physical distance between one another until you feel confident enough to deal with them again. It’s actually healthier for all parties involved to disengage until you feel comfortable.

You can leave the holiday event early if you need to, and you can give yourself a curfew if it helps your peace of mind. If you know your toxic relative is coming to the holiday party at nine, and you want to attend to see the family members you get along with, go early and leave before nine. While it can be a hassle to adjust your schedule to avoid negativity, the drama you stopped will mean less stress and conflict for all of you.

It’s a good idea to think about the specific strategies you plan to use in managing your toxic family members so that they don’t take you by surprise. For example, how would you respond if something upsetting occurred during Thanksgiving dinner? Do you see yourself ripping them apart in front of everyone or keeping your mouth shut until you get home so that you don’t cause a scene?

You need to know the answer to that question. And consider how your relatives will expect you to respond, which may cause them to get involved and choose sides, and you don’t need anymore conflict in your life. Decide what boundaries mean the most to you and put them in place.

While family dysfunction can make you afraid of the holidays, it is still possible to enjoy the season. Try to understand your family, anticipate what will happen, and try to keep your energy positive. Remember, you can’t change your family. But you can change how you interact with them by controlling what you handle. I hope you find these tips useful, and they help you have more fun this holiday season!

If you need support and help with setting boundaries, contact the people over at They offer a great remote therapy platform for people looking to receive professional support and advice without having to go out in public or even leave the comfort of their own home!

If you want to read more about me and how I healed from childhood trauma, purchase my book Choosing to Stop the Madness and the accompanying journal Stop the Madness. You will not be disappointed and will find the courage to speak about your pain and determination to heal from it.

I have heard from many people about how much the book has helped them. I’m glad to know that and look forward to the same for you. Please reach out to me here and visit my website to learn more.

Thank you for spending this time with me. Share this article with those who could benefit from it using the social media buttons below. Drop me a comment about your thoughts. Happy Holidays!

I wish you love, peace, and light!

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