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Dreading Family Holiday
Thanks for your post.
I'm sorry that the idea of confrontation with your sister is getting in the way of the excitement for Easter! It sounds like it's very frustrating and exhausting.
I feel like you haven't given us a lot of info about what it's like between you and your sister so I'm just going to offer a couple of broad suggestions; feel free to pick and choose what you like or if nothing works for you that's okay too.
- When you arrive, approach your sister and talk to her in private. You could say something like "I'm really looking forward to Easter; I'm hoping that this can be a good time for us; I felt like last time things ended badly and I want to make sure it doesn't happen again. I want to put the past aside this time." Whatever feels natural with the intention of trying to be present, without blame and focusing on Easter for the kids and rest of the family. Often with confrontation the key is to try and use I statements and focus on how you're feeling and what you're thinking.
- Switch and ignore. When things come up, distract with something else or walk away. If this is something that happens all the time I'm assuming that you'll know quickly when things start to turn negative. It's surprising how many reasons people find when they need to remove themselves from conversations; having a drink/food, toilet, checking on the kids, phone calls!
Alternatively you could say "I can see that you're frustrated, but I don't want to focus on that right now" so then you're acknowledging her feelings but without delving in.
- Take breaks. Out of 15 of you you've mentioned you have a problem with 1 of them; your sister. That means they're 14 other people who can potentially provide a great experience and not fight with you. Hang out with them. Crowds can work in your favour here.
- Remind yourself that you are more than these fights. I know that this sounds a bit cliche, but you yourself know what is your fault and what isn't. Feeling blamed isn't helping you and it isn't helping anyone. Practicing relaxation techniques like breathing and mindfulness exercises can be very helpful. Affirmations might also be a great tactic, although it can take some practice to find the one that works for you.
Hello Sleepless1987, it sounds like your sister's behaviour is a considerable source of frustration for you, and your attempts to resolve issues often wind up with the blame being placed back on you. Once a confrontation is started, it doesn't end happily.
Changing your sister's behaviour doesn't seem realistic. How you react in the situation is something within your control. What are some of the options you have for handling this behaviour if it comes up on the holiday so you can enjoy the time both for yourself and with the rest of your family?
Thanks for your post.
I just want to try and understand a little bit more; in previous years does the conversation only end when you say the words "I am wrong"?
What about your Dad and other family who you've said is also feeling attacked this way; how do they handle it? I can imagine how frustrating it would be for you.
JessF - I love this reply, thank you.
This does sound incredibly frustrating for you.
You said in your first post that you are close to a major break already and falling of the edge. I think the most important thing to remember is that you can only control what you can control.
Jess F asked what your options might be and it sounds like the only feasible one is trying to avoid her as much as possible. I can see that this ruffles a lot of tension for you so allowing it to slide away and reminding yourself that it's out of your control can help. Your sister is only one part of the rest of the family and there's lot of other people you can surround yourself with to help you have a good time.