One of the best parts of the holiday season is its ability to bring family and friends together. But sometimes, their questions hit a little too close to home.
If you’re dreading the personal questions you’re almost bound to be asked at Thanksgiving or the arguments and drama that the holidays will bring, then it’s time to set some boundaries.
Say No. Hard Stop.
“No” is a powerful boundary and a complete sentence. Practice saying it and see how it feels: “No.” Although it may seem abrupt, there may be times when saying “No” is essential to protecting your mental and emotional health.
Make It Clear
Nothing confuses things more than a fuzzy boundary. Statements like “I might not have time to come to your party but I’ll try my best,” leave room for expectations and negotiation. “Sorry, but I won’t be able to come” leaves no room for misinterpretation.
Say What You Feel
One reason your friends or family members are crossing your boundaries is that they don’t know that they’re there in the first place. When someone says or does something that makes you uncomfortable, point the action out and state your reaction to it in clear, first-person terms. This could sound like, “You know, Grandma, when you talk about my relationship, it makes me feel upset because…” Stick to the facts, and don’t project your criticism of their being rude or disrespectful, even if you feel that’s the case.
Say What You Need
Once you’ve said what you feel, say, “please don’t do that anymore.” You can’t predict their response, but you know you’ve set your limits and told them not to cross them. If they ignore you, you can check them again, and if they keep at it, know that you can always leave, or ask them to leave.
No matter what you’re navigating this holiday season, our team of licensed therapists at Jamison Consultants Integrated Healthcare Services is here to help. Our licensed therapists and counselors are equipped to care for patients with a variety of mental health diagnoses during individual, group, or family therapy, school-based counseling, or crisis management sessions. Learn more about our behavioral health services here.