Getting Through the Holidays with Difficult Family Dynamics

‘Tis the season. Even though a lot of us have been spending so much “quality time” at home with our families, there is a special something about the holidays (mostly Thanksgiving and Christmas, but all the holidays in this season) that brings out traits in people that may lay dormant during the rest of the year.

There also may be a group of us (myself included) who are not with our families for most of the year, but will travel to see them for winter break. A lot of universities in the U.S. are doing all virtual classes between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so this essentially translates to an extra few weeks around our families that we would not have had otherwise.

I am blessed with a welcoming, open-minded, and accepting family. But I know several people who are not as lucky, and I feel for anyone out there who feel like they cannot be themselves safely with the set of people on this Earth who are supposed to love and accept you unconditionally.

Remember you are not alone.

For some, they can hold their tongue through offensive or disrespectful comments from family. My advice for those planning to do this: have a friend or sibling or someone to let out your feelings around. Someone you can be yourself with in the quiet moments. Bottling up your frustration may work for a while at a time, but you should not try to keep it in for long.

For others that find themselves in arguments with family and have nowhere to go, my advice is really similar. Look for someone that understands you – a sibling, friend, online stranger, anyone you can look to for support. It will take time to find middle ground, if such is possible, so patience really is important here.

It is not wrong to ask for help or support.

If you need a listening ear, you can always reach out to the YouthLine crisis hotline by texting teen2teen to 839863 or calling 1-877-968-8941. This resource is geared towards 11-21 year olds and you do not need to be in a crisis to reach out.

What are Thanksgivings like in your home? How have your family members acted if you’ve been upset during Thanksgivings in the past? Do you have people in your household or anyone who is easily accessible for you to talk to if holidays are difficult at your home?

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