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Maybe it is your aunt, your grandma, your uncle, or your Cousin Joe. Most people have at least one relative who is difficult, toxic, challenging, and frequently triggering. As the holiday comes and the interaction with your dreaded relative becomes inevitable, here are a few tools for coping. Remember, if any part of your holiday experience becomes too much, reach out to a trusted family member, call a friend, and leave the environment.

Understand, Everyone has Something

We can never know the full history behind someone’s tears or someone’s smile. If we find ourselves comparing our insides to someone else’s outsides we have to remember that everyone is on a journey. Behind the closed doors of someone’s mind is an entire lifetime of memories, events, and circumstances which have shaped who they are. Who they, on the outside, is marked by the way they behave. Most of our behaviors are conditioned and often are coping responses to parts of life that are too difficult to fully process. Difficult and toxic relatives are rarely just “bad eggs”. Typically, they have been through something in their life which has changed the way they view themselves, others, and the world. Though you don’t have to condone or even tolerate their toxic behavior, you can view them through more compassionate eyes.

Investigate What You Need from Them

When we need something from someone it is difficult to keep ourselves from seeking it. Time after time we catch ourselves right in the act or immediately after it, bewildered by the fact that we did it again. Like moths to a flame, we search for in others what we are trying to fulfill in ourselves. A relative might be toxic, difficult, abusive, distant and any number of challenging traits. Yet, if we feel we need their approval, acknowledgement, apology, amends, attention, validation, participation, or anything else, we will find ourselves enduring pain and discomfort to get it. Once you can identify what you need from that relative and investigate where that need comes from, you can move toward letting it go. More importantly, you can learn how to fulfill some of those needs on your own.

When we come together to share the darkness, we often find the light. Offering a safe and sacred private facility, The Guest House Ocala offers residential treatment programs for traumas, addictions, and related mental health issues. Call us today for information: 1-855-483-7800