Extended family driving you a bit nutty?

My parents drive me crazy.

My in-laws are just plain toxic.

I’m kind of dreading being with my family over the holidays – I leave so triggered.

The holidays are supposed to be that time of year when families get together, laugh, hug, and release grudges over good food and warm drink.  

Yeeeah, then there are times when “supposed to be” and “actually” couldn’t be further apart. If you’re finding that your blood is boiling more than the hot coco this holiday season, keep reading. 

You deserve to have more peaceful joy than stable misery this holiday. Here are some hacks to help you get there.

Fill your stocking full of tools. 

No, not power tools for building things but empowerment tools! Come up with 5 things you can do or places you can go to get a break or feel empowered when you find yourself breaking down to the point of “I can’t do this anymore.”  

Design these tools before you start to crumble so they’ll be there when ya need em.

Gratitude! The helpful kind… 

Okay, okay, don’t roll your eyes just yet. I know some folks claim gratitude is the antidote for everything; and while I (and a ton of research) do believe it is super powerful, I also think it can be misused as a tool to bypass difficult feelings (which is why those feelings keep popping up again and again). 

I’m suggesting something different. 

This morning, my son got a gift but realized that it didn’t have a component he really wanted. His mind reeled so much about this one thing, that he lost sight of the gift itself. I sat next to him and asked, “what excites you about this gift?” He slowly began talking about different aspects and shortly thereafter, was asking if we could stop talking so he could go play with it. 

I share this story to illustrate that rarely, during holiday time, are we only with folks that drive us nutty. If we spend our time focusing on how our parents “always do that thing just to make us angry,” then we miss out on that thing our kids are doing that fill us with so much joy to watch. If we allow our in-laws passive aggressive comments to consume our energy, then there’s no energy left for our partner, or our sibling, or our best friend down the street. 

What excites you this holiday season? Who excites you this holiday season? Were can you go this holiday season to feel peace, joy or excitement (yes, the bathroom and closet count)? What you focus on only grows, so focus on and express gratitude towards what you want to feel, not on those things that drain you. 

Remember, not everything that comes at you is about you.

This morning a friend wrote that her mother-in-law stopped talking to everyone after my friend did something without asking. Here’s what I told her: 

You know you’re dealing with someone else’s triggered “stuff” when they give an atom bomb reaction to a situation that required only a laser beam response.  More specifically, when their reaction is disproportionate to the situation. Your mother-in-law is willing to spend Christmas disconnected from her son and grandchild because you asked for something that would have made your family’s holiday more full. She is CLEARLY dealing with something that started way before you and has nothing to do with you. This is not about you, sweetie. This is her stuff. You did the right thing.  All you need to have a magical Christmas is right there in that room with you.

Don’t allow your in-laws inner drama wounds to lead you to forget this.

So, the next time you notice an atom bomb reaction to a laser beam situation, remember it’s not about you. Do what you need to take care of yourself so you can enjoy your holiday.

A room full of frustrating family is just a graduate-level classroom for the soul. 

As exhausting as if may feel, family gives us a beautiful opportunity to self-reflect and see where our unhealed wounds fester within us. Take some notes this holiday season. Where do you notice yourself constantly feeling sad, resentful, overwhelmed, drained, super-annoyed, unforgiving, shut down, and the like? These feelings are actually helpful signs. There are likely parts of you that want to evolve and no longer be held captive by this draining energy. 

So what about you?

  • Do you want new empowerment tools to help build yourself up when you notice you’re breaking down?
  • Would you love help creating a vision that pulls you towards what you want for yourself and your family (so you can stop obsessing about what drives you nuts)?
  • Are you ready to embrace, bless, and release those unhelpful actions and reactions that leave you feeling frustrated, guilty, or powerless?
  • Are you tired of taking the same cosmic class over and over again (beyond ready to toss that graduation cap into the air)?
  • Are you ready to feel more empowered than drained by your family relationships?

If so, let’s chat! 

Ya KNOW I love hearin’ from ya!




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Hi, I'm Lynyetta

I'm a psychologist and family empowerment coach for self-aware women and their families.