Ways to Deal with Family Drama Effectively

Family drama is the worst. 

Whether you enjoy it or not, the holidays are a time for families to get together and celebrate with each other. 

However, for some people, this can be a stressful time that leaves them feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. 

If you’re one of those who dread family gatherings because of your family members’ drama, this article will help!

Meditate

Meditation is a great way to calm yourself down and focus on the present moment. 

If you’re feeling stressed or angry, meditating can help you get back in touch with your body—and that’s when the real healing begins. 

Meditation has been shown to reduce anxiety and even improve sleep quality.

If you don’t know where to begin meditation, try using an app like Calm or Headspace that offers guided meditation sessions for beginners and more advanced practitioners.

Breathe Before You Speak.

The next time you feel like you might say something you’ll regret, take a deep breath. 

You may be surprised by how much better you feel after taking a moment to breathe deeply.

By breathing, your body relaxes and prepares itself to deal with the situation in front of it. 

When we don’t take enough time to think before speaking, we often find ourselves reacting out of anger or frustration rather than responding calmly and logically. 

By taking deep breaths before speaking, though—and focusing on the present moment instead of being distracted by thoughts about what happened yesterday or what will happen tomorrow—you can stay calm even when confronted by difficult situations.

When you’re calm, you’re better able to think clearly about what you want to say—and how best to say it. 

By taking deep breaths before speaking, you can also improve your focus and concentration so that when the moment comes for you to speak up, your words will be more well-chosen and eloquent than if you hadn’t taken a few extra seconds beforehand.

Be Firm and Confident About Your Decisions

Be firm and confident about your decisions. 

Your parents may try to get you to do things they want, but don’t feel bad about standing up for yourself. 

You should never be afraid to say no, especially if it goes against your values or beliefs. 

If someone tries to manipulate you into changing your mind, don’t let them! 

For example:

“No thanks, Mom, I don’t want ice cream right now.”

“I know Dad wants me to go camping with him this weekend, but I have plans already.”

If you’re feeling pressured by your parents, remember that it’s okay to say no. 

You don’t have to give in just because they want you to do something.

If you’re feeling pressured by your parents, remember that it’s okay to say no. 

You don’t have to give in just because they want you to do something. 

If someone tries to manipulate you into changing your mind, don’t let them. 

For example: “No thanks, Mom, I don’t want ice cream right now.” “I know Dad wants me to go camping with him this weekend, but I have plans already.”

Respectfully Describe Your Feelings

As you work through your feelings, it helps to describe them respectfully. 

If a family member makes you angry, don’t say things like, “You make me mad!” 

Instead, try using “I feel” statements, which are more likely to get you heard and understood. 

For example: “I feel upset when you say that.”

If your family member is the one who needs help calming down, they may not even realize that they’re upsetting you until they hear it out loud. 

It’s okay to tell them how their behavior affects you.

If you and your family are arguing, try not to use words like “always” or “never.” 

These words will only make them feel attacked. 

Instead, stick to the facts of the situation and how it affects you.

Discuss Your Needs
Be specific. Don’t say, “I need more time with you.” 
Say, for example, “I need to know two days in advance when we can get together and that we will have at least two hours together each day.”

Asking for help from the other person if necessary. 

This can be a good way of opening up a dialogue about your needs and feelings without making assumptions or judgments about those of others or imposing your ideas on them (which might put them off). 

For example: “I want us to spend time together but I don’t know how we’re going to make it happen right now—can we talk about how we might do that?”

Be open to compromise if possible—it’s usually better than having someone walk away feeling like they’ve been lectured or preached at. 

You’re not always going to get everything you ask for or want (and neither will anyone else), so try not to get too attached to specific outcomes. 

Just keep working towards what’s best overall

Speak Slowly and Calmly.

Don’t yell.

Don’t raise your voice.

Don’t speak in a condescending tone, which could be interpreted as critical or mocking, even if that wasn’t your intention.

Don’t use sarcasm or put-downs (don’t say things like “Oh, I guess you know everything.”). 

The other person may interpret this as an attack on their character and become defensive or angry.

Don’t interrupt. 

Let the other person finish their thought before you respond. 

This shows respect for them and gives them space to express themselves fully.

Avoid Alcohol During or Before Family Gatherings or Get-Togethers

Alcohol is a depressant, making it harder for you to think clearly. 

When you mix alcohol with the stress of family drama, your emotions are likely to run wild and you can say things you don’t mean. 

If your family gets physical when they drink too much, the results could be dangerous—or even deadly!

The best thing to do is to avoid alcohol altogether. 

If you can’t, try to limit the amount of alcohol you consume. 

It’s also important not to drink too much in a short period. 

When you drink, make sure that someone sober drives home with you.

Ask Questions

Ask questions and wait for the answers to understand each other better.

The first thing to do is to ask questions and wait for the answers so that you can better understand each other. 

Ask about their feelings, needs and wants. 

Ask about their perspective on things. 

Ask about their history with your family members or others in your life. 

Ask about what they hope for their plans and goals – for themselves and any children they may have (if applicable).

If you are not good at asking questions, try to listen more than you speak. 

Ask questions allowing the other person to share their experience and perspective. 

Try not to judge what they tell you or jump in and give advice before they finish talking.

Change your perspective from negative to positive instead of responding with anger.

Take Time to Calm Down

Focus on the positive aspects of the situation.

Think about how you can help others and how they can help you.

Think of ways to improve your family’s lives, whether with a career change or some new hobbies that will bring all members together.

Remember that everyone is going through their struggles, and it’s important to be a helping hand rather than a burden.

Stop thinking about what’s wrong and focus on the good things. 

Don’t let yourself get caught up in negativity because it will only drag you down. 

It’s very important to stay positive when life gets tough so that you can stay motivated and hopeful.

If you follow these tips to deal with family drama, headaches will be a thing of the past.

  • Do your own thing. If your cousins are all going out to a club and you’d rather watch Law & Order: SVU reruns on Netflix, do it! It’s not like anyone else is stopping you from doing what you want.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek help if things get too overwhelming for you or if someone has done something hurtful or harmful to others in the family (and even then, make sure it’s worth risking relationships before going through with it).

Conclusion

The best way to deal with family drama is to be prepared. 

You can’t always anticipate when a fight will break out or a hurtful comment will be made, but if you have a plan for handling these things when they happen, it will make your life so much easier.

Take time before an event to think through what kinds of things might come up during the festivities and how you can defuse them with humor or kindness rather than escalate them into big arguments. 

If certain people always get on your nerves at family gatherings (or any other event), avoid interacting with them at all costs. 

If something bad happens that you can’t avoid, like an embarrassing slip-up by one of your kids during their recital performance, don’t let yourself get upset over it—this is what makes our lives interesting, after all.