A group of people wearing Santa hats and smiling.
What To Do When Your Family Can't Stop Arguing Over The Holidays
If heading home for the holidays often leads to tough conversations and disagreements for you, Dr. Courtney Tracy, a licensed psychotherapist, has some helpful tips you can use.
According to Dr. Tracy, learning how to control the way that we react to disagreements and tough family situations is the best thing we can do.
Control Your Reactions
“Take deep breaths, have an exit strategy, and know that you can step away anytime and ease yourself [...] control what you can,” she suggests.
To keep disagreements from escalating, Dr. Tracy recommends acknowledging the other person’s perspective of the situation and then setting your boundaries.
Set Boundaries
If you find you’re getting a little resentful or pent-up with anger, try to get support from someone else around you who may be able to diffuse the situation.
You can also end an argument and start speaking to someone else, or step away to calm down. This should be the last step after you've tried controlling your reaction.
Step Away
To prevent yourself from stonewalling your loved ones, communicate why you need to step away, as communication is still key in these situations.
“Plan how you’re going to care for yourself if drama arises. We can usually expect it from specific people, so don’t be caught off-guard this year!” says Dr. Tracy.
Have A Plan
Make your boundaries clear. Equally, not having too high expectations for your family members may also be the way to avoid things escalating.
All too often, family disagreements can form because of the same pattern. “It’s called the ‘drama triangle,’” Kimberly Key, Ph.D. told First For Women.
Recognize Patterns
When old drama patterns arise, make a conscious effort not to engage in it and consider turning the conversation into something less likely to cause a disagreement.