How to Set Boundaries With Family Over the Holidays

Three Ways to Set Your Boundaries Over the Holidays I’ve had several male patients in my office who let the people in their life walk all over them. And they all do it in the name of keeping their reputation as a “Nice Guy.” My first questions are always the same. I say, Where is it written that Nice Guys can’t say no? Is there a law that to be a Nice Guy, you have to put up with abusive comments and invasive questions? Does the dictionary define Nice Guy as, “A man who allows others to take advantage of him”? The answers? No. No. And No.  The critical factor here is they need to learn how to set boundaries with family. I’ve had so many Nice Guys in my office and heard so many stories about the pain they’re feeling. My message for Nice Guys everywhere: It is possible to set and maintain your boundaries with friends and family without turning into a jerk. Three tactics on How to Set Boundaries with Family and Friends this Holiday Seasons While it’s impossible to control what people say to or expect of us during the holidays, there is a lot we can do to manage our behavior while we’re with them. I tell my patients to practice three boundary setting tactics: Stop inappropriate behavior in its tracks Preemptively set boundaries Change the subject when faced with inappropriate comments One: Stop inappropriate behavior in its tracks Finally, one of the most anxiety-producing holiday situations my patients experience is the feeling of being “stuck” with people whose behavior makes them uncomfortable. This can be physical, such as relatives who don’t share the same boundaries around hugging or kissing, etc., or it can also be environmental, such as the relative who loves to bring up touchy subjects like politics. No matter what form the inappropriate behavior takes, you don’t have to spend the holidays “stuck” in its net. For example, one of my patients doesn’t enjoy copious amounts of physical contact with anyone except his wife. His wife’s family, however, is very physical, and he used to dread spending time with them because they had no inhibitions about snuggling up to him on the couch or touching his arms or legs while in conversation. Now, instead of feeling uncomfortable and “stuck,” he promptly moves his hand or foot, etc. out of physical contact and …

Avoid the Holiday Meltdown

  Want to know how to Avoid the holiday meltdown this year? We’re talking about the holiday meltdown to hopefully set in new habits for the next holiday. People struggle with the holidays because they’re so focused on pleasing others. There’s this fantasy that you’re going to hurt somebody, or someone is going to be angry or upset because you didn’t give them what they wanted. Children need to learn that they’re not going to get everything they want for the rest of their lives, and adults should certainly be able to handle this. Let go of that fantasy, and see what really happens. How to Handle the Holiday Meltdown Start talking about the problem or the holiday meltdown in advance. Ask yourself, how the holiday went last year and what you can do now, to avoid the holiday going bad. People get stuck in thinking they have to do a tradition or they’re going to feel bad later. You can not fix a future problem later. The thought process, ” If I don’t see them now, then I am going to feel bad or guilty later.” You are going to feel guilty and sad later because that is a part of life. What Causes the Holiday Meltdown? There are feelings that people have labeled as bad, and feelings that people have labeled as good. There is no such thing. Anger, sadness, neediness are all normal. If you already have issues with these feelings, during the holidays they will get worse. If you think you can’t feel sad any other day of the week, you’re definitely going to think you shouldn’t feel sad during the holidays. That is nonsense, feelings don’t take a hiatus during the holidays. You have to allow yourself the time to process that emotion, whatever the enemy emotion is. There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying, I am going to go take a walk, or a nap, to get that feeling processed. If you can do this in advance, even better! Be Prepared Maybe you get sad about the loss of a parent every holiday, or a child who can’t come home. Go ahead and say this in advance to your family members. Such as, “It turns out I get sad during the holidays, I am going to go ahead and take a break on Christmas Eve to have some time for myself.” Get this all …

More Quick Tips to Avoid the Holiday Meltdown this Year

Quick Tips to Avoid the Holiday Meltdown this Year. Every year you go through it, and we want to help you avoid the meltdown. In general, we’ve been talking about how to straighten out that imbalance, which leads to that blow-up or meltdown, and we want to emphasize for the summation is that intimacy involves giving and taking. Think about it; you’re giving something to somebody else, and taking something in return is the ultimate intimacy. If you’ve got it in your head that you have to give, give, give, and that’s what is going to make people happy, and they’re automatically going to give back to you, you’re going to be disappointed, that meltdown is going to come. Go ahead, take and give and you’ll find that you’ll have a much more intimate holiday season this year. Hope these Tips to Avoid the Holiday Meltdown from Dr. Laura Dabney help! Check out more at www.drldabney.com and www.lauradabney.com.  

Enjoy The Holidays Without The Holiday Meltdown

Why Can’t We Enjoy the Holidays Without the Meltdown?? It’s nice to see you all. I have been wanting to talk about the holiday meltdown. Since it’s before Thanksgiving because so many people come to me with this history of going, going, going during the Holiday season and then crashing. I typically don’t hear about the crash until after the crash. Everybody goes off to their holidays everybody is okay, and then they come back with all the complaints and frustrations. We don’t want you to do that this year, as I always tell my patients- how about, we think about the things that are coming up not just the things that have passed. If you have this history of melting down, I just wanted to talk to you about that. It’s not going to take something away from the holidays, to think about this in advance. We’re going to add something to the holiday by doing a preemptive strike. We’re going to solve this before it happens. And then make the holiday a whole lot better, not only for you but everybody else too. What I’ve found over the 20 years of doing this, is that that meltdown tends to always come because of an imbalance. “I’m doing everything, and nobody else is doing anything,” imbalance. Sounds familiar right? “I’m doing this, this, and this. He’s not doing that, she’s not doing this, she’s getting her nails done, and I’m doing everything.” So you start doing that in your head, and that’s a problem. Reasons the Imbalance Comes Up The reasons why that balance comes up. For starters, you are probably doing this all in your head. You get caught up in the traditions, in the pressure from society, maybe some pressure from the family and you go right into the mode. Whatever holiday it is, you go into the mode and not think to stop, and think. Let’s put our thinking caps on together and try to think of what is it that you want? What do you want? Prepare a list of what everybody else wants; you can hold on to that but add to it, what do you want? And the sooner you get this out on the table, the better. You don’t have to sit there and wait until someone doesn’t figure it out. We’re talking here a lot about expressing what you want, expressing …

Do You Feel Like You are Always Giving Too Much?

Do you feel like you are always giving too much and not getting anything in return? Why does everybody else always get their way? Or why do people in my life seem to have a good life and I don’t? We got to the bottom of that being anger. Anger is usually an emotion that people want to discard or pretend they don’t have it or have labeled it as bad or the enemy emotion. If you don’t have the capacity- if you’re fighting off anger then you’re not using anger as your alarm bell and that’s the first step to setting boundaries. Good boundaries make good relationships but before you can get to, “I need to set a boundary.” You have to be aware of the alarm bell. Know when somebody is mistreating you and that’s anger a lot of the time. You have to be able to sit with that and explore the emotion. Ask yourself, “Why am I angry?” Then you can find your boundary from there. Think back through your day or through the conversation and then you start to realize what is annoying to you and set a boundary. The next step is, which boundary and how? It’s almost like you’re saying anger is bad and you shouldn’t be angry. You going to shove it away. It’s like saying, “I’m not listening to that, I’m not going to listen to the smoke alarm.”  Instead of going to look and make sure there’s no real fire. Ignoring your anger is just like ignoring any other kind of alarm. Anger is your body’s way of telling us there’s something wrong. There’s no such thing as a bad or wrong emotion. Neediness and Anger Neediness is another enemy emotion. This is our other alarm. Between anger and neediness, these are the two emotions that people fight. People think it’s wrong to be needy.  People think being needy is weak, or pride themselves on taking care of everyone else. People try to get rid of neediness by squashing it, or shoving it away but again you’re missing an alarm bell. That alarm is telling you, you need attention. The anger is telling you somebody needs to be removed, or something needs to be removed, such as what someone else is doing. Neediness is your alarm that says “I have to stop giving and give somewhere else or take.” A …