What can you do, to diminish the crazy making on an important day like this while also taking care of family dysfunction?
For the past 30 years, number one best-selling author, counselor and master Life Coach David Essel has been helping families learn how to heal, deal with family dysfunction, especially around Valentine’s Day.
Below, David gives his thoughts on how to celebrate the holidays with a dysfunctional family.
Celebrating Valentine’s Day with dysfunctional family
“A few years ago, a 25-year-old woman signed up to do counseling sessions with me via Skype, just before Valentine’s Day because she did not want to see a repeat of what happened for the past several years.
As she began her story of family dysfunction, her eyes welled up as she said “David, ever since I was a little girl all I wanted was my parents to get along on Valentine’s Day, and all I ever see is arguments, arguments, between them and the rest of our family.“
The more we worked together the more she started to see that she had a role in the family dysfunction.
Because she wanted Valentine’s Day to be so special, she continued to aggravate her parents, by reminding them how in the past Valentine’s Day’s have always been filled with chaos and drama.
Are you in a situation like this? It doesn’t matter if you’re 15 years of age or 90, if you come from a dysfunctional family it can be very hard during certain holidays to feel connected and at peace.
Also, watch this video on common characteristics of a dysfunctional family.
Here’s a couple things to think about, during the Valentine’s Day season if you do come from a family of crazy making.
How to handle Valentine’s Day and family dysfunction
Nobody purposely makes the V -Day a lousy day
Understand that the chaos and drama coming from your family has probably been handed down for generations. Family dysfunction does not happen overnight and out of a conscious choice.
It’s very rare that family members purposely wake up on Valentine’s Day and say, let’s make this a lousy day.
But rather, if we are raised in an environment where certain holidays are neglected, or if they come with the baggage from the past of chaos and drama, there is a pattern set in the subconscious mind which is almost like a knee-jerk reaction, not a conscious decision to wake up and make Valentine’s Day a terrible day, but rather just something that is sitting in the subconscious that we have repeated ever since we were kids growing up.
Disengage to alter the reactions of people around you
Disengagement is simply deciding that you’re going to surrender to the moment, not give your opinion, not give your advice, but rather take a big breath and allow the day to unfold as it will.
As I shared this last tip with my client, she instantly woke up!
“David, I can see that every year when I start complaining before Valentine’s Day, asking my family to make this a day different from Valentine’s Day in the past, I might be adding to the chaos and drama!
I’m going to just let it all go, and see what happens if I can do it differently this year maybe I’ll have a different end result.“
And what happened shocked her.
Instead of constantly talking for seven days before Valentine’s Day about how this was going to be a better, different year, she just kept her thoughts to herself, but started putting around the house pictures of hearts, and even her own personal definition of what Valentine’s Day means to her.
And it worked.
By her disengaging, and not bringing up the negative patterns that have happened in the past, Valentine’s Day was a much calmer experience for her and everyone in her family.
An older brother even remarked to her that it was the first Valentine’s Day in years where she did not create chaos and drama by complaining about the past every day leading up to the sentimental holiday.
And this year?
She recently told me she’s going to continue to do the same thing she did last year.
Disengage, disengage, disengage from bringing up the family dysfunction and dreading the worst.
If you’re at odds with your lover, or family, or friends over the holiday this year, consider disengaging.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
David Essel, M.S. is the best selling author of 9 books, a counselor and master life coach and inspirational speaker whose work is endorsed by celebrities like Jenny McCarthy, Wayne Dyer, Kenny Loggins and Mark Victor Hansen. David accepts new clients monthly via Skype and phone sessions from anywhere.