How to Be at Peace with Difficult Family Members this Holiday

We all have family members who are difficult to be around. For some of us, it’s the strange uncle you don’t leave alone with the kids, or the well-meaning but totally overbearing mother-in-law who makes you feel as though you should take up yoga (or drinking… kidding).

Whoever it is, the holidays are a time of being around those people more often than usual, and this can suck the life out of you.

It doesn’t have to though, promise.


No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

- Eleanor Roosevelt


We, fortunately, have total control over our responses, thoughts, and how we handle our emotions.

You don’t have to let your rude sister ruin your Christmas Eve dinner.

You don’t have to sit next to your incredibly negative great aunt on the drive to look at Christmas lights.

You can have a peaceful holiday that’s truly full of joyful moments spent enjoying your kids’ reaction to those sweet, magical moments, no matter which family members are joining you.

Here’s how:

1. Get into a peaceful mindset before the festivities start.

Before your family members grace you with their presence, take a few minutes to be by yourself.

Talk to yourself out loud if possible with affirmations of the kind of person you are, how much you love your family and this time of year, how deserving you are of a wonderful time, and how it really doesn’t affect your life at all if someone is rude or intrusive tonight.

Pray, speak life over yourself, pace back and forth and talk to yourself if you need to. This isn't a silly or unnecessary thing - your family members get to you and that bothers you - you have to get inside your head for a bit and change your mindset sometimes.

Decide to be at peace and to respond in peace. Decide to focus on what is good about this event - your kids being there, your husband being off work and with you, your parents being present and in good health, the delicious cookies and hot cider… find the good, focus on it, breathe.

This will only put you in a bad mood if you let it.


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2. Let go of your emotional ties to other people’s words.

People can be truly rude, believe me, I get it. But you don’t have to allow yourself to emotionally attach to their comments.

If someone says something rude, sharp, condescending, or something similar, get out of the present moment and into your head.

Think to yourself that this doesn’t have to affect you, you won’t let them ruin your evening, and you’re just gonna let this slide right off your back and move on.

3. Boundaries when needed.

Sometimes, a simple “well it’s good to see you, Aunt Cathy. Merry Christmas.” and a quick exit is what you need to do for yourself. It’s a boundary.

You’re essentially saying “I don’t need to sit here and hear your negative words, and I’ve tried to change the subject and be polite but you insist, so I’m going to walk over there now.” in a very acceptable way. It’s okay!

The important thing to remember is to not let difficult, rude, or hurtful people have the power over you that it would take to bring you down.

Don’t give them that.

Stand tall, be confident. You’re beautiful and loved and it’s the best time of the year! Soak in the good and let all the negative parts wash right over you.

Here’s to a truly joyful holiday and family members who put aside their issues for the sake of cookies, egg nog, fireplaces, and twinkly lights. *cheers!*

“You cannot change someone’s point of view using logic if they did not arrive at that point of view using logic.”- Unknown




Allie Casazza

Allie Casazza , Murrieta, CA