The hilarity of a Griswold Christmas aside, sharing a holiday with dysfunctional or abusive family members is a stressful and potentially dangerous thing. Christina Enevoldsen and Bethany Ruck (founders of Overcoming Sexual Abuse) share a few things they’ve learned in years of surviving family gatherings.
Christina writes, “In our healing from abuse, Bethany and I have learned a few things about getting through this stressful time of year. Now we know that we deserve to have a nice drama free holiday. We haven’t had a relationship with most of our family members in a few years and we celebrate the holiday differently each year–but each year, we make decisions based on what’s good for us rather than what tradition dictates or what is ‘expected’ of us.”
Here are Christina’s and Bethany’s five tips for surviving a dysfunctional family gathering (linked above):
1. Empower yourself by acknowledging the choices that you have and by deciding on your boundaries beforehand.
2. Take an ally with you.
3. Have an escape plan.
4. Know what coping methods to use and what not to use.
5. Plan another place to go in case you do need to leave.