EP — 17 Setting Boundaries for Family Holidays

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Setting boundaries for family holidays

  • Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial — 1 Corin. 6: 12
  • Setting boundaries for family holidays takes pre-planning.
  • People feel they can say or do anything without ramifications.
  • People we love, the closest to us, often take advantage of that relationship to say and do anything that isn’t respectful or kind. Unfiltered meanness isn’t appropriate. There may be some exceptions like mental illness or medical reason, but it doesn’t mean you have to take that.
  • Blaming and scapegoating visual or personal issues by attacking verbally isn’t appropriate. Attacking a symptom is not okay. Because of being a family or friend doesn’t give anyone the right to attack you personally.
  • Repetitive patterns can be changed by being proactive instead of reactive. That person who always says that same thing…Be prepared for it this year.
  • The blame and shame game isn’t going to change anything. What are you going to do differently to change the equation with habitual attackers?
  • Brainstorm new responses in advance. Some general ideas:
    • Excuse me? Were you meaning to be so rude? (This is holding your boundaries, calling them on the carpet is not rude.)
    • Choose to remove yourself.
    • Choose not to go to the event.
    • Head it off before it starts: Happy to see you here. I’m expecting you’re going to be polite through the whole evening…is that right?
    • What are some other, more gracious ways?
    • I’m sure you didn’t mean that they way it sounded, what did you really mean?
    • I understand you’ve said that to me before. But since nothing has changed, I’m just going to let you rest with that.
    • When I feel ready to have that conversation, I’ll let you know. But until then, this topic is closed.
    • Turn to someone else and start a different conversation.
    • If the attacker must share their opinion: Thanks for that opinion. (And then move on to something else without saying anything else.)
    • Those words sound a little bit too heavy. At this point I’d rather enjoy my time with family, would you?
    • Wow, I didn’t come for this kind of a show, did you? Let’s have a nice conversation.
    • I don’t really want to talk about that right now. I’m here to enjoy you and the rest of the family, let’s do that now.
    • What about foods you don’t like. You just don’t have to tell them, “That is the worst casserole…” Ask yourself: who was encouraged, who was uplifted? There’s no reason to hurt feelings that way.
    • Consider taking a portion for later. Stick it in the fridge. Then you can discreetly dispose of it later or give it to someone that loves it. There’s gracious ways around it.
    • You can always say thank you, it doesn’t mean you have to eat it.
  • What about food pushers, especially with food you can’t stand? You’ll have to listen to the show for the coconut cake story 😉
  • Recognize the intent of the person. If it’s out of love or bonding or caring, honor and respect the intent. If it’s disrespect/tearing you down, superiority, power/control, attack, or abuse then call a boundary by taking yourself out of the situation or stopping the conversation.
  • What if you can’t get out of a family or social event that you know will be miserable, but you can’t get out of it without a big battle?
    • Take things with to give you the opportunity to entertain yourself and keep your mind busy. Ideas include: handicrafts, puzzles, books, games (for one or more)…
    • Use your handicraft as a conversation opener like bring along extra knitting tools, scrapbooking elements, crafts that you can teach or share for fun. You might be surprised at how people will join you. But if not, you’re still enjoying yourself and being productive.
    • Have a quiet conversation with someone you do enjoy at the event.
    • Coloring books for kids (and now there’s adult coloring books).
    • Make Christmas cards, family albums, etc.
    • Interview the elderly family members for a record. Take pictures and create family memories.
    • When all else fails, take a book and get immersed in the pages.
  • Think about relationship building ideas to use while you’re there.
  • Answer courteously and respect the intent.
  • Who are your problem people? How might you be proactive and plan ahead of time for a better experience?
  • An appreciation moment to Jenn Davis who took time out of her day to share that she put The Debutante Queen on her Amazon wish list…and then for the super fun conversation she and I ended up having on Facebook when she asked me a few questions about the stories. Thanks for making my day, Jenn!
  • Thank you to Martha Artyomenko and Carrie Fancett Pagels for connecting me to a new friend so we could talk about my book.
  • A big thank you to Tristan and Forrest Leder who recorded The Debutante Queen. It released today on Audible. I’m excited for this whole Montana Beginnings series as each book releases and then also goes to audiobook.
  • Thank you to friends like Ava Pennington, Carla Breidenbach, and quite a few volunteers who helped me with a bit of behind-the-scenes needs this last week. No one ever is a one-woman show. I couldn’t do it without you, my friends.

Please let me know if any of these ideas helped you and do share your ideas with other listeners, too, at any of these places:

Tweet me at: @AngBreidenbach

What other ideas would you like shared here on Grace Under Pressure Radio?

Did you miss any of the past episodes?

Boundaries part 1 (shining from within)

Boundaries part 2 (be proactive)

Boundaries part 3 (take care of yourself first)

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