This Christmas stay in the adult mode
The festive season can often ignite old family grievances. It can be hard to be full of seasonal goodwill when we find ourselves in a confined space, watching what we say and what we do.
We may find ourselves forcing others to make choices about how we expect them to spend Christmas - and with whom - that rarely brings joy and happiness.
Christmas may also prove tricky when this year's arrangements are different because things have changed over the last 12 months.
Perhaps this is the first Christmas following a bereavement. We may worry about how we are going to get through it - whether we are the bereaved or a relative/friend of the bereaved.
At the other end of the scale it may be the first time we have cooked Christmas dinner for the in-laws. We may feel anxious and want to create a good impression.
Therapy can help us to learn to stay in the adult mode emotionally. This helps to defuse potential difficult situations. It can help us rehearse how we see ourselves interacting. Together with our therapist we can identify which words we might use in order to avoid feeling awkward. Getting feedback from our therapist as to how we are doing can be invaluable.
Respect the decisions people make about how they wish to spend this time. And explain, if it helps, how you wish to spend yours.
If we approach this time of year with an outlook of mutual understanding rather than resentment (often leading to miscommunication) it is quite possible we can have a happy Christmas.
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