I have shared with you that my home I was reared in was dysfunctional. You've heard the saying there is FUN in the middle of dysFUNctional. Well, humor is one way people process their pain in family get togethers. Counsellors work with their clients to shore them up to handle possible conflicts that could pop up when all the family shows up.
Here is one project Dr. Martha Beck recommends to her clients:
A way to weather stressful family events is by using a technique called Dysfunctional Family Bingo. Before the holidays, get together with friends and fill the squares of a bingo card with dysfunctional phrases or actions that are likely to surface when you see your family. If you dread hearing the "So, when are you having kids?" question, then that goes in one square of your card. The first person to fill out their card sneaks off to call the other players and wins lunch, coffee, or whatever prize you all have agreed on.
Dr. Leonard Felder, the author of When Difficult Relatives Happen to Good People, advises that you enlist a friend or loved one to be your support person at family events. "Rehearse ahead of time with this person what you will need if you get into a pickle with your family," Felder says. "Do you want your support person to remain silent or speak up to defend you? Would you like them to look you in the eye and communicate non verbally that you are a worthwhile person when things get tense?"Newman also suggests you plan in advance to limit your time at gatherings if possible. "Just be sure your host knows beforehand by telling them something like, 'I can only stay two hours because I have another event to get to.'"
So peace on earth for some families is possible almost any time of the year but the holidays. Innocently you can upset someone with the best of intentions. I recall hosting our daughter's kindergarten class for the Christmas party. I worked around a theme of snowmen. I made a papermache snowman. A few weeks ahead I papermached a regular balloon, but just as I had soggy paste filled paper strips over the balloon it popped and blew that mess to adhere to my entire kitchen. What a mess! But this was for my precious daughter. I finally finished the snowman pinata with heavy duty balloons. I placed the candies and treats inside, attached a strong cord and away we sped to the festive party. All went well and the kids were loving trying to break open the snowman to get to the goodies. But I realized my daughter was at her desk with her face down. When I asked what was wrong she held up a tear stained face with, "They're killing the little snowman....and I love him!!! What a lasting memory, eh?
On fun Friday I want to move you from chuckles to the profound business of peace within the family.
What do you see as the difference in these two words:
This post is reader/comment driven. I truly look forward to your comments. Following a major family gathering holiday I just know you will be ripe with thoughts on this one.