Christmas - Joyful or hell on earth???
For some people, Christmas is truly the most wonderful time of the year, for others, it can be the most stressful time o the year. Critical family members, kids fighting, others getting drunk and being inappropriate, fighting, abuse....the list goes on.
I just wanted to post a little reminder on handling conflict to try to make it a little easier - feel free to print it off and stick it on the fridge! The unstated first action is to breathe. Take a big breath in, and release slowly. The rule of thumb is to count on the intake of breath, and release the breath over twice the length of time it took to breathe in eg: Breathe in 1 2 3 4 5, breathe out 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10.
You know when you are quite happily doing your thing, laying the table or cooking the dinner but you have that 'guest' who just seems to want to make your life a misery and cant shut up! it always seems that you have 2 choices, keep quiet and just carry on but internalise the hurt, or get embroiled in an argument because they are looking for a fight and you are going to give them one…..
Either of these choices can be destructive for your own wellbeing. Internalising hurt means that you will let it keep building up until one day you crack, and you either have a mini breakdown or do something that you really regret. If you fight back straight away, often it looks like you are the troublemaker because you have a fiery temper and the person that caused it all plays the innocent victim. Do these scenarios ring a bell with you? I went through this, alternating between the two when I had the husband from hell, and I wish someone had given me these tools to cope at the time! I could have easily used this on my husband at the time, it would have saved tons of heartache!
This is a 5-step process, escalating as required, but you have to remember that you use these steps in a calm and controlled voice so that you are not portrayed as the problem. These can be used in work, in personal life, with your partner or siblings, or even parents etc.
1. So, when someone says something to you that is unkind, unneeded and it has the power to upset you, just respond by saying ‘Thank you for sharing that’. This acknowledges that you heard what they said but signals that you are not getting into an argument about it. You can just say ‘thank you for sharing that’ and walk away with your head held high.
2. If someone steps it up a gear and makes a rude comment or criticises you needlessly you can say ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that, could you repeat what you just said?’ This tells them that you heard it but are onto their game. Quite often, they will recant or say oh, don’t worry about it’
3. If at this point they are still being mean and haven’t given up and are still trying to bait you, you can say ‘Oh, are you trying to hurt my feelings?’ which shows that you know what they are trying to do, but are not going to bite and react in the way that you want.
4. If they continue with something like ‘yeah and what are you going to do about it’, you can follow this with ‘it’s not going to work because I am not taking any notice’ you see at this point you are stating that their words will have no impact on you because you will not let it.
5. By this point most people would have given up but you may have a particularly persistent family member or colleague that just wont let go, you can simply state ‘Since we are sharing, did you know that critical people have the most criticism reserved for themselves!’
This 5-step process should triumph in the most persistent of cases, if required, rinse and repeat as often as necessary. Print out the 5 sentences and put them on your desk, in your purse, or even on your mirror at home until you can drop them onto a conversation without pause or hesitation.
The first few times you use this will feel awkward and uncomfortable, but that is because you are moving your boundaries, persist and it will soon become familiar and a lot easier. Rehearse the phrases in your head, and even role play them until you are comfortable.
And then relax, because you’ve got this, and you don’t have to put up with this criticism or bullying behaviour anymore!
God forbid, but if at anytime this escalates into physical violence, pushing, shoving, hitting etc then call the police…...violence is never acceptable in any circumstances and from anyone, especially those close to you!
Share this with your family, your kids, your friends, anyone that you feel may need some extra back up, I wish someone had taught me these steps, it would have saved an awful lot of trauma and stress!