Many of us associate the holidays with happy family gatherings over home-cooked meals or cuddling up in front of a bonfire. But for others, family life is a constant source of strife and strain. What some see as a delightful, memory-making experience, others see as a torment to endure.

Whether the relationship is experiencing high levels of violence, infidelity, and abandonment or your spouse is detached and disconnected, the holidays often amplify the misery, anguish, and loneliness experienced. Here are some tips on how to maintain some calm throughout the holidays amid the stress of a strained relationship.

1. Understand Your Expectations.

Before you pack your bags, you should have a solid understanding of what you want to achieve from your holidays. Make a list of your reasons for wanting to spend the holidays with your spouse. If you feel like you’re spending the holidays together primarily to meet someone else’s demands rather than your own, it may be time to reconsider your objectives or expectations.

2. Refrain From Being Vengeful or Overly Reactive

It’s unlikely that taking revenge on your spouse will work during the holidays. Even if things between you have completely soured, try to be as courteous as you can going forward to make things easier. Keep in mind that you are in control of your own words, emotions, and conduct. You do not have to take part in a heated debate. You have the option to be more composed, maybe detached with love.

You can choose to let your spouse know that you want to avoid conflict at all costs. If necessary, inform them “you’ll take a bye” over the holidays. Tell them that you’ll love spending time with each other when things are going well; now is not the time to complain or fight. Please assure them that it may eventually occur with a brand-new outlook for the next year.

3. Focus on the Children

Making an effort to make the children happy can pay off greatly. Your children’s experience will be better. The fact that they are so joyful will make you happier as well. Additionally, concentrating on the kids’ enjoyment can divert your attention from the misery of your circumstances.

4. Self-care is Essential.

Give yourself some gentle, loving care. You may need to be especially nice to yourself if your partner isn’t showing you affection and tenderness. Give yourself the gift of deep baths, thought-provoking songs, warm coffee, and quality time with friends.

5. Be objective and Learn from Your Past.

While this phase of your relationship could be especially challenging, it is not unique from others you have gone through. Think back on how you or a loved one handled similar circumstances in the past. Check to see if any of those tactics could work for you right now.

6. Focus solely on the present.

Make every effort to avoid becoming overly pessimistic and going too far. Take each day as it comes. There will always be another day. This year, there won’t be any other holidays. Try your best to enjoy the presence of others, even if it’s just a little bit.

Find a subtle way to tell your partner that you know that there are numerous topics worth discussing. Your partner may be unhappy with how little interest you have shown in having sex in the wake of the infidelity you discovered or how preoccupied you have been with the kids, work, and friends.

However, remind your spouse that, while you have your issues, you will not address them until the holiday season is over. Inform them that you aim to concentrate on finding peace in the present moment.

The Bottom-line

Dealing with damaged family relationships or family breakdowns is challenging at any time. But what about the added holiday stress of feeling obligated to be cheery and connected to others in your family? It may be overwhelming. Even while society places a high value on holiday traditions, remember that they only last for a handful of weeks out of the year. Keeping this in mind and putting the tips above into action may help you gain perspective. feel free to contact me to arrange an appointment.