How to deal with toxic family members at Christmas

by - December 10, 2015

Christmas is a time for family right? That's what the TV reminds us doesn't it? And the films? It seems to be a case of extremes: if you love Christmas, you really love it and if you dont like it, you really hate it. But why do those of us on either side feel that way? You can bet it's something to do with the relationships we have with our parents. 

A notion that Christmas is shit stems from experience. Years of dissapointment. That hope that this year will be special, magic, fun even, like everyone else seems to get?  The unanswered question of why we aren't allowed that? That hope is strong and dies slowly. That's why when it does die, it hurts a lot and depression can take hold.

Christmas is a time for family, right? The obligations. The guilt. The alcohol which makes everything more extreme and chaotic.

I'm out of touch with a parent. She's refused to read my letter to her explaining my reasons for cutting contact. She won't acknowledge a thing she's ever done to hurt me. I'll never have a voice. I've asked her many times to stop sending me useless items (which are extensions of her) unless it's an apology. No chance.

It's still so frustrating but I've accepted that my actions are louder than any words she refuses to listen to. And life on the other side has been amazing. So much better. I feel so much freer out of the FOG (Fear, obligation and guilt). It's a work in process and there are certain times of the year which do require extra strength. Those with emotional value. Birthdays, Mother's Day, Christmas. And there it is. The Christmas card sent to my work. She hasn't tried to fool me into opening this time like previous attempts by printing an address label to disguise her handwriting (I wasn't fooled). 

So what's a card then? Seems so trivial.

It's an interesting approach. 

Thousands of questions and emotions race through you.

Have I made a mistake?
Maybe they're not that bad really?
Maybe they've changed?
Maybe they could be the person I've always wanted them to be - maybe all it takes is me doing a little more of X, Y or Z.

And then we are back to square one. All that progress, all that liberating work you've done in realising you are not at fault can be undone with one tiny little gesture.

Stop turning it on yourself!

People with NPD will not change and the sooner you realise that the better. 

Deep breath, stay strong and return to sender. People will ask questions, that's why it's so rude to send it to my work. Where I have to hide my emotions from my colleagues and students. She's doing it for show. Oh what lovely flowers your mum sent you. If only they knew how much of a selfish c*** she is really.

Take the power back. Get those toxic people out of your life.

Christmas day will be hard because we've also been programmed to think (thanks to social media) that everyone's having a better time than us always! Don't forget that's highly fabricated and they only share the highlights! Noone shares arguments, rows and drunken chaos!

 Accept that and make arrangements to give yourself extra love. Buy yourself a £50 present. Spend time with other family if possible who are lovely. Friends and other people who don't want to do the family thing. They do exist. You're an adult. You are not obliged to do anything you don't want to do anymore. Make it your best Christmas yet!

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