How to Deal With In-Laws Who Are Angry That You Are Missing Christmas

Missing a family Christmas gathering might not sit well with certain people. Find out how to deal with in-laws who are angry that you're missing a Christmas event with help from a licensed marriage and family therapist in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Psychology Help

Video Transcript

Hi I'm Dr. Roberta Marowitz, a Florida Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and CEO of The Digital Academy, Home of Sane Games, mental health computer programs for children and their families. Today I'm talking about how to deal with in-laws who are angry that you are missing Christmas. I can hear you sighing already. I know you're wishing that that was not happening in your life and here's what I would tell you, that all holidays are not great and a lot of people get depressed during the holidays and a lot of people aren't sure that they want to be with family during the holidays. So it's not an unusual thing, what you may potentially be dealing with. It doesn't necessarily make you feel any better about it but I will say that this is one of those things that you will almost grin and bear it. If you find that family members are really angry with you because you are going to miss Christmas, you cannot make them feel differently. Now they may want to accept it differently and they may want to feel differently, but you can't make that happen for them. What you can do though is you can identify the triggers in you that get pushed by them being angry with you or saying things that are not very nice to you or trying to make you feel guilty about not coming to be with them for Christmas. One of the things that I would tell you is if you recognize ahead of time that people are going to be upset, the more you can give them advance notice, the better. Now you might be thinking if I give them advance notice they're just going to be angrier for a longer period of time, but ultimately, you really are doing the right thing by giving them notice. Now, they're in-laws, this means that you really have to rally your spouse because it really is up to your spouse to be the sounding board for you with his or her parents, just the way it is. They have to step up and they have to be the one to take the heat because their parents are always going to hear it differently when it comes from them then when they hear it from you. So it's their responsibility, you probably feel that you may have a spouse who has said I don't want to get involved, but in reality, they need to be involved with this. So if the problems during the holidays seem to hinge on one particular family member, then it may be useful to deal with that one particular family member. If you can talk to another family member who can speak to them, sometimes that works as well, as nonchalant and as easygoing as you can be about this without getting hooked into the high emotion, the better off you're going to be and the likelihood is the better everyone else is going to be.

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