Thanksgiving: A Time for Family?!?!

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Yes, Thanksgiving is a time to be especially grateful.  In most traditional setting, Turkey Day in the US will include cooking, eating, and visiting with family.  There are many, many articles that will talk to you about having fun with family, and making that time together memorable.  But let’s be real about what those family gatherings really bring together.

Families love each other, and that’s a good thing.  But in the midst of the love, some families have endure dramas and traumas–many that are not discussed.  As such is the case, a family gathering, can be a place where emotions run high, and hurts are trying their best not to show their ugly faces as they “pass the dressing.”

Why am I writing about this?  Why not just write a happy article about celebrating Thanksgiving and being grateful?  Because we need to get real about families and family relations.

At The Relationship Firm, all relationships matter, and as such is the case, it wouldn’t be helpful to act as if people are not hurting and struggling through family dinner–especially during a holiday season.  So, here are a few issues, and what we can do with them.

Family Issue One: Criticism

This is the worst! It probably started when you were a child, and it hasn’t stopped yet.  What do you do with a family or family members who cannot stop with unsolicited feedback about your looks, your love (or lack of), and your life?  TELL THEM!  You are an adult now, so why not nicely, yet firmly (no pun intended) tell them that you don’t appreciate being spoken to in that manner, or being the subject of their conversations.  You do not just have to take that interaction, or that negative energy in.  Take authority.  Be nice, be calm, and shut them down.

Another resource on surviving family criticism…


Family Issue Two: Caught in the Middle

Are you in the middle of two or more family members?  Has the dispute gone on so long that you have no clue what they are upset about.  Maybe you are the peacemaker–if so, try to make peace.  But, if you’re ultimately just tired of being in the middle…BOW OUT!  Tell that faction and that faction that you are no longer available to them.  Again, just because you share DNA does not give people the right to use you as a safe haven.


Family Issue Three: The Lies

Okay, every family has a liar (or lie).  Period.  If you’re tired of the lie(s), then perhaps it’s time to share the truth.  Listen, this is not an encouragement for you to wreck Thanksgiving, but it is an invitation for your to show up as your authentic self this Thanksgiving, and to calmly and nicely deal with the situations that have plagued you for years.  Now, if the lies are painful, dinner may not be the time to bring them up…but it may be the time to start dealing with the issue.  Does that mean that you start seeing a professional therapist to help you navigate this situation?  Is it time to examine the truth…or confess or confront the lie with another family member that you can trust?  Lies are dangerous little energy suckers because you spend more energy hiding the lie, than dealing with it.  It’s time to deal with it…don’t you agree?

Another article about lies…


Family Issue Four: Betrayal and other “bad” stuff

Let me tell you something.  Once upon a time, one of closest cousins stole from me.  She took my credit card right out of my purse…and went and bought many, many, things.  I trusted this person, and they betrayed me.  I am telling you this because I want you to know that we have all been there.  And, if it is still weighing on you, then it’s time to address the matter.  Perhaps this is the year that you call that relative aside, AFTER THE MEAL, and bring the issue to their attention.   And here’s the twist: Tell them that you forgive them.  You’re not bringing them into a quiet corner of Granny’s house to make them feel badly.  This is not about revenge.  This is about a much needed release.  So, speak your truth, and forgive them…now we can all move forward!

While this is not the normal Thanksgiving article, I hope that it helped you all the same.  All relationships do matter, and before you pass another plate of peas, roll or other Thanksgiving entree, please decide that this is the year that you will be free of the influence and impact of these (and other) family issues on your life.  And by all means, be thankful for the opportunities to bring light to dark areas of your life.  That’s always something to be grateful for.

That, and yeast rolls!

Relationships to be grateful for? Be thankful

4 Relationships We Should be Thankful For

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Yes, this is the quintessential “Thanksgiving” post.  Nothing too deep, just something to ponder while we are recovering from tryptophan psychosis and cranberry overload.

First up…those we can count on.  Note, that I didn’t say those who love us, because sometimes they are not one in the same.  However, I recently sat in a session with a young man who felt he cannot depend on his fiancee, and that statement has impacted me–hence, this article.  Being someone who people can depend on being able to depend on others is a key to having relationships that are meaningful.  Trustworthiness is often a need of those in our lives, and to fulfill that need, creates a deeper connection between two people.  Sure, these same people may take the last buttered roll, and eat your favorite part of the turkey, but ultimately, you can count on them to be there when the chip are down…so let them eat that turkey leg in peace.

The Business of Dating Expanded Edition– Now includes a section regarding online dating.

Next…those who give without expectations.  I have people in my life who do this, and I am so thankful for their presence.  Usually, these are the older people in your life who provide wisdom, solace, and even a little “spare change,” if they feel so led.  For me, there is nothing that I can do for these people, but they find my presence to be enough.  This is rare, even in relationships with my peers, and I think this rarity is what makes it so very special.

Third…those who are no longer in our lives.  You knew I couldn’t keep up the meaningful, mushy facade for much longer, right?  While, yes, we do miss those who have passed on, that’s not who I’m referring to.  I’m referring to the people who have vacated the premises of your life through break-up or other forms of termination.  We should be thankful for each of these individuals because they cleared the way for others to come into our lives and be phenomenal with us.  Not everyone who left our lives was bad, but in most cases, we just were not good together, and that is why we’re grateful to them–and for the lessons, we thank you!

Lastly…those who know our story, and love us anyway.  Everyone has a story.  I sit in coaching sessions with couples who have collective and individual stories, and we talk about how the stories shift and intertwine.  Sometimes people know our story–where we’ve come from, if you will–and make every attempt to keep us there.  Others know our story, and love us despite what we’ve said, done, or experienced in our past.  This is another place of solace, and we all need that.

So, there you have it…four relationships we should be thankful for.  Oh yea! There’s one more…the relationship I have with you! (Yes, meaningful and mushy sentiments ride again!)

Happy Thanksgiving!