December 8, 2021
10 Minute Read
We’re officially in full swing of the holidays and for some people, things aren’t so jolly. Although the holidays are usually filled with joy, togetherness, and cheer the holidays can be one of the toughest seasons for those who wrestle with trauma and family dysfunction. And if you’re like me, you might find yourself endlessly scrolling and laughing on Instagram and TikTok to viral videos about snappy clap backs to the problematic aunty’s and uncles who always feel the need to comment on our relationship status, career path, weight, and so on. Although we often turn this hurt into humor when it’s all said and done there’s a lot of pain and damage that can be caused by unnecessary comments and statements made by the family at the table during the holidays.
Let’s get real and talk about what that means and how to set boundaries with your family during this holiday season. First, let’s define what it means to protect your peace. This honestly looks different for everyone, but for me personally protecting your peace means recognizing what you need to feel safe, standing firm on how you feel, communicating and enforcing your boundaries, and not allowing people to treat or speak to you any type of way regardless of their title or relationship with you.
Below I shared some of my own personal experiences and boundaries that have helped me. Here are 6 statements you can say to communicate and enforce your boundaries if one of your aunties gets out of hand at the dinner table this holiday season:
Everybody knows that one family member who feels the need to comment on somebody’s weight when the family gets together. My childhood best friend went home recently for the first time in months. She’s a wife and mom of two, in her twentysomethings figuring out life and killing it at the same damn time just like the rest of us. After flying over 2,000 miles to the East coast in excitement to see her family, she said one of the first things her family commented on when they saw her was her weight and it didn’t make her feel good or welcomed. She shared with me that usually, she would allow her emotions to enrage and shut down, but instead, she told me she responded something like “it’s been a tough year, so yes I’ve gained weight. I’m comfortable in my body and my weight regardless of what you think. I’m proud of who and where I am right now and that’s all that matters.” Y’all I was so proud of her. Hearing her response felt so liberating and I honestly wanted to cry tears of joy. I was so proud of her! Go best friend, that’s my best friend, that’s my best friend!!!! *starts twerking lol*
Whew, child. I don’t mean to generalize but sometimes our people feel the need to always comment on Black women when it comes to our careers (especially us Creatives), babies, dating life, marriage, the whole nine. This is frustrating, humiliating, and just completely out of pocket. We’re not obligated to live life on somebody else’s terms, make that clear and stand on it.
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Some people would rather not be alone for the holidays, so they will still go around toxic family members, or they simply don’t have the choice and resources to not be around toxic family members. This quote is for that family member who feels the need to bring up past issues to belittle and gaslight you. You’re allowed to feel. No one has the right to determine your emotions or experiences but you.
This boundary is for the family member who keeps badgering you to run to the grocery store for the 100th time or trying to convince you to drop off your cousin who lives in the opposite direction from home.
According to the YMCA, “93% of children who are victims of sexual abuse know their abuser” This percentage includes family members. As someone who has been sexually assaulted by family members, I came up with this boundary quote that I wish someone would have taught me as a child. This boundary quote is also for parents and adults, but may need to change out the “call to action” at the end. I would suggest that parents teach their young children how to communicate this boundary while young. Empower them and maintain a healthy open relationship so they feel safe to come to you as a parent or guardian. Please pay attention and trust when a child reacts to not wanting to be alone with a family member, and do not force children to kiss or hug family members when they refuse.
And finally, who knew leaving a family function could cause so much drama?!? Have you ever just been ready to go home but someone takes it super personal and it turns into something it shouldn’t have?! I no longer have it in me to people please so I make it clear when I’m ready to go. Protect your peace by all means!
Overall, this holiday season we’re enjoying ourselves and not getting caught up in the family drama. Setting boundaries isn’t always easy, it’s frustrating, and it can be triggering. Yet, setting boundaries with your family are liberating and helps you gain control of tough situations. Always, do what’s best for you and prioritize yourself while spending quality time with your family this holiday season. I also included bonus boundary statements below for you to use and share!
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6 Statements to Communicate Your Boundaries to Your Family During the Holidays – Black Love