Kansas City therapists offer ways to survive family tension during the holidays

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As people gather with family under one roof this holiday, things can quickly shift from the best of times to the worst of times. You’ve seen the comedies. The family gathering goes from great to horrible. But just a few small changes on your part can make all the difference.”Thanksgiving Day, football game with the neighbors in Illinois. We visited some family, like our family versus them, and my dad is 6-foot-4, 280 pounds, and my dad tackled a guy who was probably 70 years old,” Therapist Michael Shahan said.Shahan shared one of those unreal moments from the family reunion. Spills happen, crazy things are said, feelings can get hurt.”Accepting things as they are and knowing what you can and can’t control. You can’t make your parents different. You can’t make your siblings different,” Shahan said.He said to control you. Your thoughts produce real feelings, so breathe.”When you spend twice as long breathing out, it’s actually spitting out more calming hormones, which is a cool easy trick,” he said.Two seconds in, then four seconds out.”Maybe you excuse yourself, maybe you go into another room and take some deep breaths, maybe you go on a walk,” therapist Valerie Hamaker said.Hamaker of the Latter Day Struggles podcast said each person’s emotional intelligence is different. Rather than be critical, be curious.”Don’t have to go in and sort of change people, fix people, convince people, that they can let people be who they are,” Hamaker said.If you need, set boundaries of how much time you’ll spend and with who, then ask questions to discover their world.”It’s really I think so relationally mature to be curious,” Hamaker said.She said relationships bring you the most joy and growth.Holiday coaching is common for therapists. They say everyone struggles with family and that’s normal. If you need assistance, they say to reach out to someone.

As people gather with family under one roof this holiday, things can quickly shift from the best of times to the worst of times.

You’ve seen the comedies. The family gathering goes from great to horrible. But just a few small changes on your part can make all the difference.

“Thanksgiving Day, football game with the neighbors in Illinois. We visited some family, like our family versus them, and my dad is 6-foot-4, 280 pounds, and my dad tackled a guy who was probably 70 years old,” Therapist Michael Shahan said.

Shahan shared one of those unreal moments from the family reunion. Spills happen, crazy things are said, feelings can get hurt.

“Accepting things as they are and knowing what you can and can’t control. You can’t make your parents different. You can’t make your siblings different,” Shahan said.

He said to control you. Your thoughts produce real feelings, so breathe.

“When you spend twice as long breathing out, it’s actually spitting out more calming hormones, which is a cool easy trick,” he said.

Two seconds in, then four seconds out.

“Maybe you excuse yourself, maybe you go into another room and take some deep breaths, maybe you go on a walk,” therapist Valerie Hamaker said.

Hamaker of the Latter Day Struggles podcast said each person’s emotional intelligence is different. Rather than be critical, be curious.

“Don’t have to go in and sort of change people, fix people, convince people, that they can let people be who they are,” Hamaker said.

If you need, set boundaries of how much time you’ll spend and with who, then ask questions to discover their world.

“It’s really I think so relationally mature to be curious,” Hamaker said.

She said relationships bring you the most joy and growth.

Holiday coaching is common for therapists. They say everyone struggles with family and that’s normal. If you need assistance, they say to reach out to someone.



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