The Christmas Visit


If you are spending Christmas with a horrid parent make sure you take on board before you go that it will be difficult and there is likely to be a flare-up.  Sometimes the flare-ups will be caused by tiny details that most people would gloss over.

Here are some suggestions on how to cope. 

Based on your previous experience of the likely trigger points for your horrid parent, work through your strategy on the best way to deal with them in advance.  See our Coping page on the website

Talk about the visit with your partner and tell him or her you will need their  support and that if things get too bad you would appreciate them intervening on your behalf.  Tell them too that you might need them to be patient on the way home as you offload your grievances and disappointment on how it all went wrong.   

Don’t drink too much.  It can loosen your tongue  and  your inhibitions and make you much more prone to get into an argument.  If you don’t think you can drink in moderation, keep to soft drinks.  It makes sense to stay in control.

Avoid playing competitive games. Either don't join in or choose to take with you something  that is gentle and  difficult to fight over. 

If you are making a contribution to any of the meals, accept that your horrid parent might criticise it.  Try not to take it personally and instead tell yourself that it is the best you can and actually rather delicious.   You could even offer to take leftovers home.  The reaction might be interesting.   

Plan that your visit is as brief as possible using work, visits to other relatives, kids activities, other holiday treats or anything you can think of so you don’t have too stay too long.  If you can, just stay for the Christmas meal and leave soon afterwards.

If you have far to travel think of staying nearby rather than at the parental home.

If you do have to stay overnight  try to get out at some point You could go for a walk , visit the local pub (see above re drink)  or go sales shopping.  

If the atmosphere really deteriorates have a reason ready why you must leave.