Are you reverting to an old version of yourself around family?

Have you ever noticed yourself reverting to what feels like an old version of yourself around family members? Our family dynamics as we grow up play a large role in the formation of our personalities. Maybe you had to take care of your younger siblings from a young age, so you became “the responsible one,” who is maybe a bit bossy as well. Maybe your sister was constantly picking on you, so you became shut down. Maybe you were always told you had to be a specific way, so you became secretive, hiding the real you from your family. Once we leave the house and surround ourselves with new people as adults, we are often able to shift and change a little bit, to outgrow some of these childhood coping mechanisms. But then, once we are back around family, perhaps for the holidays, we may see some of these tendencies start to arise once more against our will. Maybe there is that brother who is constantly bragging, or that aunt who always makes a comment about your appearance, and it sends you right back to how you felt growing up. We are here to tell you not to worry, because this is very normal. Family dynamics have a very strong pull over us, and can cause us to regress to our old ways of operating very quickly. If this sounds like you, we have a few tips to help you maintain your composure over the holidays. First, we suggest reminding yourself that you are an adult now, and things are different. You have more freedom to act how you want and to spend time with the people you want. This family time isn’t permanent in the same way it was growing up. You also know more about yourself and the world and don’t have to buy into your family’s opinions as much. These people have less power over your life than they used to. Also remember that the way people treat you is often a reflection of themselves and really has little to do with you. We suggest doing a little preparation before a family event to get your mind in a good, strong place. This could involve doing a meditation or taking a couple minutes to choose a mantra. You can repeat that mantra to yourself throughout the occasion. We also suggest having a little debrief after stressful family time. Maybe that means going on a walk to shake things off, journaling your thoughts, or calling a trusted friend. Try to prioritize your own peace of mind and focus on the positives of being together with family. Making a little gratitude list each night about the family moments you were grateful for from that day can help shift you into a more pleasant headspace!