I was asked recently “HELP. My mother is planning a family get together for her birthday. We all get on individually but when we are together, by the end of the night there are generally fallouts and I am anticipating another disaster. Mum will be offended if I don’t go. Can you help me manage this situation so that she is not offended and I can perhaps feel less tense about going?”
Sound familiar? Yes. We’ve all been to them and unfortunately many of us will tend to recall the bad memories as opposed to the positive ones.
I have put down some thoughts about how you could make this less tedious for yourself.
1. You could try making the get together brief. Perhaps reminding others in the family that when you are all together over a prolonged period of time, things regularly deteriorate. They may share your views but be afraid to stand up and say so. You may be able to agree to set a time limit conducive to more good memories and less bad. If they don’t agree on this occasion, they are still more likely to remember what you have said and based on the next experience be willing to modify things.
2. Remember, that you can still opt to do what you choose without the support of the rest of your family.
3. If the children tend to be hyper, there are a number of things you can do.
4. Suggest you have the meal soon after arrival so that the children don’t eat too many sugary snacks or get involved in running around LOUDLY.
5. Could you have the party outside? Less mess
6. Organise things to do such as games.
7. Reduce the availability of alcohol.
8. If things look like getting fraught, consider injecting some humour into the situation.
9. Could you go to a venue outside so that you need not be concerned about cooking clearing up etc? Also less likely to have rows in a social setting.
10. Perhaps if each of you brought a different course, some pressure would be taken from mum.
11. Would it be possible to book in to a hotel for the meal? Maybe smaller tables would mean less chaos and there would be more choice about who to sit with. Everyone would also be more aware of a time constraint. If you don’t have to spend too lengthy a time together, everyone is more likely to make an effort to get on with each other.
12. Think ahead and be prepared to use some coping strategies.
Would it be possible to take a friend with you? Someone seen as not family may mean that others are less likely to misbehave. If you find particular people put you down then having an ally can be comforting.
13. Visualise yourself coping in the situation.
14. Use breathing exercises to stay calm.
15. Wear comfortable clothes that you feel confident in.
16. Endeavour to ignore the trivialities.
17. Sometimes it can pay to just shut out what is being said.
18. Do not go to these events expecting everything to go well. Accept that there will be some difficulties
19. Mentally prepare yourself beforehand by making sure you give yourself some “. Me time.”
20. Do something which makes you feel good .Go for a massage, a walk or listen to some music
21. If you go to the get together reward yourself afterwards for going.
22. HOLD ON TO GOOD MEMORIES
This article was submitted by Mary Lennox an experienced counsellor and intuitive life coach. The combination of her education, career background and life experiences enable her to have an empathic understanding across abroad spectrum of circumstances. Visit her website www.lifecoachinggym.com for more free articles or to subscribe to her free bi monthly newsletter “WORKOUT.”