How To Handle “Those” Relatives This Thanksgiving

You know the ones I’m referring to, yes?

The ones we put in the HH Family category…

You know, Hell or High water?

Because outside of major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, it would take both of those H’s for us to purposely put ourselves in their presence.

That aunt who absolutely MUST tell you that you’ve gained “so much weight” since the last time she saw you… #HHFamily

That cousin who stink-faces anyone who mentions one of your recent accomplishments… #HHFamily

That sibling you still can’t believe shares any parental lineage with you because they are 8 thousands miles away from anything you’d ever be/do/say… #HHFamily

That uncle’s wife who used up her final freakin’ pass the last time you saw her, and will most definitely get slapped if she speaks to you like that again… #HHFamily

Yep, those woosah-inspiring mofos will be in the building while you and the rest of your family get together to give thanks, laugh, and talk about life.

How will you keep your vibration high and your stress levels low with them around, huh?

Trust me when I tell you I know it’s tempting to let yourself get right down to their level, if only to remind them that you CAN and WILL take it there, but is it actually worth it?

I mean it, mama. I know how much you want to be the type of woman who is just so immersed in her Goddess Zone that mere mortals (especially the pestilence that push your buttons), can’t do anything but celebrate your shine. Thing is, the more you let them into your mind, the more they expand their territory.

Here are two Life Design strategies for you to use this Thanksgiving. From one Execumama to another, it’s worth it to keep your vibration high, and let those relatives tire themselves out trying to jump up to your level, nameen?

1.  Escape through the babies!

If you love children, this tip is for you. Chances are, there will be little cousins you haven’t seen in years, or ones you’ve never met. They youngest ones will tend to play together, so take the opportunity to immerse yourself in their world. Play hide-and-seek with them. Play Simon Says too, and volunteer to take them into the yard for a free run funfest the way children tend to do.

Being immersed in a child’s world can be a brilliant source of therapy because children know how to make the world whatever they need it to be. If they need a world with unicorns, then they’ll simply create it–a skill many of us adults could do well with re-learning. Let the children give you access to their innate knowledge of how to create a safe, stress-free mental space. If your family is anything like mine, the relatives you actually enjoy being around will join in, and then you can quickly slip back inside and turn kiddie-duty over to them. Because let’s face it, it’s all well and good for the first hour or so, but after I while, someone’s gonna start crying, and you’ll remember why you chose not to have any additional children. *Side-eye me all you want to, you know I’m right!*

2.  Release the “Rock the Boat” Guilt

Personally, the main reason I try my best not to deliver any palm-heel strike/middle punch/roundhouse kick packages on those relatives is because I don’t want my mom or Kris’ mom to be sad. They like things nice and happy, and I dig that, howeverrrrrrrrr…

When I decided that my happiness was just as important as theirs, I began to release the guilt around the potential of making them unhappy. Mind you, I don’t try any less in terms of ignoring those
relatives, I simply don’t allow myself to feel like I’m showing up as less than myself by allowing people to say things they knew were out of bounds.

Essentially, there’s a freedom that comes with knowing how to prioritize ourselves, and though I don’t like seeing my mom or mom-in-law look disappointed if a family gathering isn’t all Mayberry, NC and whatnot, I still get to express myself. So do you! As a matter of fact, you’re doing everyone a disservice by allowing the jabs to go unanswered, you know why?

Because after a while, you’ll either withdraw, leaving perfectly great relatives devoid of the benefits of your stellar company,
OR
You lash out, and then the boat not only gets rocked, it’s hanging out in Capsized City, homie! #IRestMyCase

Giggles aside, allowing ourselves to be stifled because folks don’t have basic social etiquette knowledge, is not the business! You will encounter all types in this world, and your family dining room this Thanksgiving will act as a microcosm of that world. The very same principles that guide you to be compassion, but not a pushover are fair tools to use at that dinner table.

Speak up for yourself if you tend not to…
Respond with compassion whenever you can…
Ignore their words if at all possible…
AND
Prioritize your feelings if it comes down to it.

Gobble, Gobble, y’all!!

  • Great ideas.  Finding ways to express yourself without lashing out or withdrawing is so challenging, but also so important to building better relationships.  Rock on Akilah!  and Happy Thanksgiving!