If your family is anything like the families we see on reality TV then you have had your fair share of drama around the festive season. From dealing with toxic family members to babysitting toddlers with attitudes and organising the entire family to gather for at least a couple of hours. I think it is safe to say that for some of us, the holidays can be a bit triggering. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. There are ways in which we can at least mentally escape the gaslighting and set up the right boundaries to have an enjoyable holiday.


The first thing that we need to recognise when dealing with family members over the holiday season is that everyone comes with their own problems. This is important because it will help us understand why people behave the way they do. In psychology, it usually ascribes certain types of behaviours as being influenced by past traumas and socialisation. This is not an excuse for family to treat others badly.

In order to safely recognise and combat some of the things that may be encountered during the holiday season. Here are a few tips and tricks to get started

Create Boundaries

The difficult part about being in a family where loved ones are accustomed to us responding in a certain way, is knowing that they will often take advantage of these aspects. Therefore, boundaries are extremely important. Family may initially think that we have changed because we have actively decided not to entertain their antics. And it may be hard to keep to our own boundaries. However, it will definitely benefit both parties in the long run. Creating boundaries means saying no to the things that may trigger us or don’t benefit us at all.

Adjust your expectations

Donald Miller, the CEO of  Business Made Simple, once said “When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are”. Which makes us reconsider the expectations of the people in our lives. Disappointment arises when family members do not live up to expectations. Or if their expectations are not met.


Practice tolerance and inner peace

Once we have set boundaries and have adjusted expectations, results in standing up for ourselves. The best thing to do for ourselves is to find inner peace and accept that other’s behave the way they do because of their own pre-programmed responses and reactions. It’s important that we start to put ourselves first. So that we can achieve inner peace and practice tolerance when we need to.

It is at this point, that we need to accept family for who they are. In order to create harmonious relationships and social behaviour patterns.