Families divided and at constant loggerheads.
Words that wound and can't ever be taken back.
When you are faced with toxicity within a family it can be soul destroying.
Especially when you still love the person - it's their behaviours and way of thinking you don't like.
No one is perfect. We all have darker shades.
I am flawed just like everyone else. I don't pretend otherwise.
But I was raised to say sorry when I was at fault.
To build bridges and not walls.
To make peace not war and to treat people how I would like to be treated.
Really, it's quite simple to be a decent human being.
Healthy relationships are built on boundaries, tolerance and communication. Something we are all taught from a very young age.
So how do you cope with someone who doesn't practice all of the above?
If you read those inspirational quotes plastered all over Social Media the answer is unanimous - you just cut toxic people from your life.
Much easier said than done.
What if to some extent they will always be involved in your life?
Distancing yourself is the next best option, yet it still doesn't remove the angry, resentful feelings you have when you do cross paths.
After endless googling in the hope of finding some self-help tips, I also came up with a diagnosis for people who have these traits. Personality Disorder.
A very broad label I know. But it depicts the behaviours.
I also learnt those with this disorder don't ever change, it is how they are wired. It is a sickness, no different to mental health.
This just complicated my feelings even more. I am now laden with a blanket of guilt.
Families are meant to always have each other's backs - an unconditional love. Yet I have realised it's not that black and white.
And you may be thinking who I am to label someone with such an unpleasant title?
Well, I am not the only one of this opinion. If you add up the numbers of others who feel the same and look for the common denominator in all the family upset, there is your answer.
Family disconnections, especially around Christmas can put a cloud over the entire festive season, and if you are anything like me - I love Christmas, it can dim your Christmas spirit.
Except for this year, I won't let it.
I have realised there is absolutely nothing you can do to help a person who doesn't see their own faults. Absolute zilch.
The more you try, the more difficult they become and you end up consumed with frustration and resentment.
It's exasperating. Draining. Infuriating.
It can kill a part of your soul.
So how do you deal with a Personality Disorder? You distance yourself and when you do cross paths you don't react to anything they do or say.
After 3 very deep ocean breaths (it's a Pilates term), you smile, nod, be polite and leave.
Unless you want to master the skills to interact - which involves being civil, friendly and extremely patient – you won't win.
Leave it to someone who has the art and ability to do so.
Doing this will not only lighten your load of anxiety, but it will also reignite your Christmas spirit.