Holidays, Family and Conflict

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Family Angst

The holidays can be a provocative time for some as families come together. Old tensions can break out the old issues. The family environment can produce conditioned responses between family members sometimes erupting into arguments. So, what is it about family get-togethers over the holidays which can send us backwards into an emotional state which we have worked so hard to change?

I wonder if the problem is caused by a loss of objectivity. Once we are home at the holidays do we revert back to the behaviors and emotions of the past?  Do the holiday events with family conjure up old, negative memories and reproduce patterns of behavior that we thought were long gone? Or, do we misinterpret our interactions with family members and fall back on the conditioned response? Why is it so difficult to be recognized for the efforts we put into changing ourselves? Are we type-cast into a specific role within our family? If we changed, why can’t they?

An Opinion page piece in today’s New York Times created a great interactional point between readers on this subject. As we know that people living with mental health and substance abuse problems can struggle with family times like the holidays, I thought the dialogue between readers on this issue covered all aspects amazingly well.

Click here to read this interesting opinion piece in the New York Times regarding this subject.

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