A little relationship advice because I know there are many folks who are looking forward to going home for the holidays, and, at the same time, dreading it.
Their hopes are high that things will be different, and, yet, they fear things will be the same. Mom will be great for the first eight hours and then the controlling/inquiring will begin. Uncle George will be the same old curmudgeon, holding the same judgments, and holding forth.
How can you be different when where you’re going is likely to be the same?
- Go with an open heart, being a blast furnace of love, no matter who does what.
- Give up your expectations of people being different and love them for who they are. That is living from who you are, rather than reacting to others.
- Know what your boundaries are and be willing to express them in kind, honest ways. There’s a little story from my own life with Mom and I and boundaries below.
- Remember your purpose for visiting and sharing time: it is to connect, share and love, not judge, demand and begrudge.
- Be willing to leave early rather than staying long enough to create a scene. You do that to keep your integrity intact, before you lose it or say something that is not alignment with who you want to be.
- Keep your heart open. Share yourself as you are now without stepping back into unhelpful family patterns. You are an adult who is living from your own values, vision, beliefs and purpose now. Be that person now.
- Keep your intention clear: to have a happy holiday and to express love.
- Give yourself time to reflect and recover after the visit. Even if it is the best visit ever, recovery may include reflecting on the joy that it brought.
Here’s a story about setting boundaries in clear, kind and honest ways from my life with my Mom:
I went home one day to see my Mom about five years after my father had passed. My dear Mom was one of the controlling, judgmental variety and she found very little in life that was acceptable to her. She was sitting on the couch and said to me:
“Go downstairs and get the bucket.”
My response was to ask her to repeat herself. She did…exactly. So, that was the time to set the boundary.
“You know, Mom, no one in my life gives me orders because we do not treat each other that way. I do not respond to orders, but I’m good with requests if they are within my power to fulfill.”
There was a pause, a long pause. Looking away from me, my mom said:
“Go downstairs and get the bucket…………please.”
I went. And, my mom never again gave me an order. That made life easier between us and I happily took care of her a year later as we fulfilled her wish to die at home.
You bring you home, the you that you have consciously created as an adult. Keep your inner peace no matter what anyone says or does in any relationship. Bring that joy home with you and create a happy holiday!
If you know you’re ready to make positive changes in living, loving, being and relating, you can apply for a free consultation with Dr. Rhoberta Shaler HERE.