Historically, I always had an issue with the holiday Blues, even as a kid. It’s taken years of education, therapy, and practice with real self-care and boundary setting.  Now, I am to better manage my energy flow for the holiday season.  One of the things that comes up for many of the my clients during the holiday season is both dealing with family and the holiday blues.

How to Manage the Holiday Blues

Here’s a great video and infographic about the holiday Blues presented by the National Alliance on mental illness, NAMI. https://www.nami.org/blogs/nami-blog/november-2015/tips-for-managing-the-holiday-blues

Setting Boundaries Helps Your Energy and Mood

One of the things that I work on with a lot of my clients is realigning their relationships across the board.  Realignment includes relationships with their intimate partners, who their friends are, and renegotiating boundaries with their birth families.

Why Setting Boundaries with Family is So Hard

One of the key components that makes changing your relationship with your family so difficult change is hard.  You might be on a great journey of self-discovery and self-improvement all year.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that anybody else in your family is doing the personal work.

According to family system theory every family has unspoken rules on how the family expects everyone to speak and behave.  Roles in families develop at a very early age and are often unconscious habits of behavior.  Because these rules are unspoken and unconscious, many times family members don’t evaluate how these expectations, rituals, and patterns affect the other members.

I would venture to say that this applies doubly so with adult children no longer living with their parents.  many families do a good job of allowing grown children to become independent, individual adults living their own lives.  However, there are many families where interactions or not supportive or mature, to say the least.

Why Do I Fall Back Into Old Patterns When I Go Home?

Furthermore, according to archetypal field theory, you fall back into patterns related to your role in the family unconsciously when the family gets together.  Have you ever found yourself regressing to an early, less mature version of yourself during family dinners?  You did all this work during the year.  You walk through the door, then to your surprise, find yourself sticking your foot in your mouth and having knee-jerk reactions to jerk of a family member.  It’s embarrassing, but not all your fault either.

Another aspect of this issue is that how you grew up affects you unconsciously.  When you were a small child, parents appear to have omnipotence and omniscience.  Because you depend on them entirely, part of survival includes adapting to the family environment and culture.  Your earliest lessons included satisfying your parents demands and expectations.

How Family Affects Our Adult Partnerships

Later, traits like you parents may also show up in intimate partnerships due to an unconscious familiarity with the archetypal pattern.  Freud called the repetition of situations in a person’s life repetition compulsion.  Freud stated that person inadvertently sets up a replay of a previous situation to approach a psychically unmetabolized situation in a way that it could be integrated.

Such an attraction can due to an unconscious attraction to the familiar archetypal pattern.  You are caught up in the energetic archetypal pattern already.  Without applying consciousness, you wind up replaying the same scenario repeatedly.  In therapy one of the main tasks we work on is to realign your energy to that archetypal story so that you can find a more generative solution to that story.

Get Some Help Setting Those Boundaries

If you’re ready to make some big changes that empowers you to make the choices that support you and set boundaries you need to take care of yourself, let me know.  We might be a good fit to work together. After you’ve made some of those changes, you’ll be glad you did.



About the Author
Maggi Art Therapist in Columbus OH

Maggi Colwell

Maggi is a registered art therapist at Columbus Art Therapy who assists their clients to discover more of themselves through dream interpretation, art therapy, and depth psychotherapy. They specialize in working with grief and loss as well as gender exploration. Click the button below to get connected.