Families and Holidays

We hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family.

Holidays already create potential stressful interactions. If you spent Thanksgiving with your family of origin, perhaps you noticed the strong magnetic pull back into a familiar role that you played in your childhood, one that you try desperately to distance from for 360+ days a year. Perhaps you spent an inordinate amount of energy preventing negative dynamics between you and your parents or siblings from boiling over.

And now we have to have a holiday season following a contentious, obnoxious Presidential election that has brought out the worst in many of us (regardless of for whom we voted).

Now, many have written about how to talk with families this holiday season. For instance, Todd VanDerWerff at Vox encourages people to tell stories and narratives rather than counterarguments. Shannon Rosenberg at Buzzfeed (I apologize, by the way, that I just referenced a Buzzfeed article) asks us to be mindful of potential shaming and labeling language, particularly with people who disagree with you.

In fact, Stephanie Wallace and I (Jeremiah Gibson) recently added our voices and advice for adults struggling to have relationships with their families as adults. In episode 8 of our podcast Under the Covers, we provide some tips for people seeking to celebrate the holidays with families while maintaining their adultness. It's important, for instance, to recognize the role that you played (or continue to play) in your family of origin and develop a gameplan with other family members that establish the extent to which you want to play that role this holiday

A couple relationship can be a venue for setting a boundary with your family of origin. We talk about ways to establish new rituals for each stage of your relationship, rituals that may or may not involve other family members. We also identify ways that you can establish your intimate relationship as the primary relationship in your life, such as taking breaks with your partner and staying in a hotel room rather than a family member's home.

We also have a cover of fun.'s Take Your Time (Coming Home), which may be a bit of an obscure song. (It's on their first album Aim and Ignite.) But we found the lyrics to be especially appropriate for this topic, for people seeking to find their adult selves while maintaining positive family relationships this holiday season. We're on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

And as always, if you'd like to talk with someone about improving relationships with your family, Stephanie and I do couples, family, and individual therapy. Give us a call at 617-750-0183, or fill out the Book Online section at the top of the page.