Staying out of the family drama

I’d avoided my family for a long time because it was just too painful to be around them. I never felt good enough. I felt like for any experience I had to share- positive or challenging- one of them had to trump it. I’d leave feeling disheartened and humiliated, even angry.

Why couldn’t they just love me for me? Of course, at that time, I couldn’t say I loved myself. I wasn’t kind to myself. I was judgmental, critical, and I often reminded myself of my family’s message of not being good enough.

Here I was, returning for a funeral. I’d been working on myself for a pretty long time. I felt I was in a place where I could finally say I love myself. But as I was packing, I was starting to feel anxious. The anger I thought I had worked so hard to release during all the forgiveness work was coming up. So was the fear of being enough.

When Past Passes Present And springboards Into Future

I’d been triggered and I hadn’t even seen them yet! If I were going to stay on the path of self-love, I had to bring some love into the equation. Though they may be my family, history had proven that they weren’t accepting. Even in this tense space, I knew there was room for love. I knew my love was bigger than their judgement.

What I started to notice as I brought in that love, was a remembering of how I’d treated myself. I could see that their criticism was a deflection for how they felt- if they could make me smaller, they’d themselves feel bigger. In that moment, I felt sad.

I wasn’t willing to accept or love their behavior, but I got it. Hurt people hurt. Was there room for love here? Absolutely, both for myself and for the hurting person inside of them. If I could hold a space of love for that part of them, I wondered what would change.

Turns out, everything did.

Like a Magic Bullet of Love

When they would go into the one-upmanship or criticism, I would breathe a little deeper and imagine holding their hurting part of them like I wanted someone to be holding the part of me that was hurting. And since a part of me was hurting, I went ahead and imagined our hurting parts were just hugging and holding on for dear life to the love between them.

The criticisms stopped, replaced by unsolicited compliments. The one-upping also ceased. In its place was a genuine request for advice.

I won’t lie, I had to look around. Was I being punked or was this really working? When out-of-the- blue came the confirmation, “I love you. I am so glad you’re hear and we’re family. That one sentence made me feel soon good!

Yeah, but will it work for you?

All I’d done was hold them and myself in a space of love. I didn’t engage them when they threw their old familiar jabs. Nor did I try to change them. I just held us both in a space of love.

Sometimes the hurt people have hurt so badly, that just getting to this place takes some work. That’s what I do with my clients regularly. So even if you’re not quite ready to love the person being an asshole to you, are you willing to find some love for yourself?

Often enough, you doing that for yourself creates a force field around you. You disengage from the negativity and trump it with your love. They can’t stay in the same energetic field, so they will either shift or go away to get their needs met elsewhere. Either way, you’ve created a shift. That’s powerful!

I’d love to hear your experience if you try this. If you find you need some help, let’s chat. I’ll give you some 1:1 time to start the processing because you deserve a loving holiday season. You deserve love.


PS- I’m doing a free webinar on Tuesday, November 22 at 8 pm on surviving the holidays with family. You can register here:

1 thought on “Staying out of the family drama”

  1. Simple and beautiful medicine: I love how you phrase this: “I just held us both in a space of love.” It is powerful indeed when we can stay energetically within ourselves and hold another — and ourself — in love, and resist all those “opportunities” to be drawn into emotions and interchanges that hurt and diminish us. Your post inspires me to bring that sense of welcoming another (and myself) just as we are, with love, to many kinds of situations, and discover what shifts as a result.

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