Aaaaaaaand in this corner, we have Uncle Joey who’s had a little bit to drink and some strong opinions about the recent elections. Annnnnnnd in this corner we have our challenger Aunt Marge who feels the need to correct people about practically everything and is just itching for an opportunity to disagree. In this epic clash of opinions who, Amy, will win in this holiday battle royale?
Amy: Um, I don’t really think anyone wins?
Michael: *sarcastic* But there’s always a winner!
Amy: No, I don’t think so. Really in these family battles no one wins and everyone just feels kinda awkward.
Michael: So what you’re saying is engaging in family drama doesn't actually fix anything and just creates more tension? Huh, who knew?
Amy: So today we are going see how engaging in family drama isn't really helpful and how we, as Christ followers, should be seeking to de-escalate conflict instead of provoke it.
Michael: And we’re going to teach you a method that can de-escalate this conflict in just three minutes.
Distraction of the Day:
I’ve got a special video for Amy today. It’s only a one minute commercial for Spotify, the music streaming service. There’s no way their commercial could cause Amy to be afraid...is there? Stay tuned till the end of this podcast to find out whether or not I can succeed in terrifying Amy with a Spotify commercial.
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“The holiday season is packed with family gatherings and, inevitably, drama. Uncle Tim can't resist voicing his political opinions. Aunt Tanya despises cousin Sam and refuses to sit anywhere near him. Sally has a bone to pick with her stepmom, Mona, and seizes every opportunity to hit below the belt with searing sentiments. It's enough to make a person want to hide in the closet with a bottle of whiskey and cute kitten videos.” Erin Leonard Ph.D.
Focus on feelings and stop taking sides. “When tempers flare and daggers fly, the primary players often attempt to drag innocent bystanders into the argument.”
Reflecting feelings helps both parties calm down. Your heart is to help them feel heard. Using their words is one of the best ways to make this happen.
“You are really angry. I get it. I understand,”
“I know you are hurt. I can tell. I understand,”
When you focus on feelings and not facts with your family, it helps not add any more fuel to the fire. People feel understood and then they tend to calm down and become rationale again.
Use “good-natured” humor
It’s ok to disagree
If someone is determined to be miserable, then that’s their problem and not yours. You have a choice when it comes to letting someone ruin your holiday. Two things can happen at the same time, someone can act like a jerk and you can enjoy the time.
My dear listeners, dealing with family drama during holiday dinners can be especially difficult but it is important to remember that it is your job, as a follower of Christ, to honor them no matter what. Even if you don't agree with a word they’re saying, you still need to love them just as Christ did. Christ never said love the easy, He said love the difficult. Remember in these kinds of conflicts do not make it about the facts. Focus on the feelings because it is usually our feelings that drive conflict. If you take the time to acknowledge the other person’s feelings you will be surprised at how quickly they disengage from the argument.
And remember that in these kinds of conflict, no one wins and it can ruin the holiday experience for the whole family. Even if that one family member just said something really obnoxious, it is not your job to correct them. Most of the time its best to just ignore their comment and move on. Trust me, 9 out of 10 times what you want to correct them over it is NOT worth it. Obviously there are cases where someone is being verbally attacked by another family member and you do have a duty to step in and speak up on their behalf. However, I’m talking about the little things, the subtle pokes and jabs that don't deserve to be engaged. I know my own family sometimes say the dumbest things but I have learned I need to just let these things go because my correcting them will only create more conflict.
Distraction of the Day link to the terrifying Spotify commercial:
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