Do Your Relatives Drive You Crazy At Christmas?

Why we get the holiday family blues-and how to get rid of them.
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Do Your Relatives Drive You Crazy At Christmas?

Why we get the holiday family blues—and how to get rid of them.

-Jane Farrell

A bored woman in a Santa hat

You know the song “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays?” That’s probably true, but not in the way the author meant it.

Where else can we reunite with our critical mother and our silent father, not to mention the drunken cousin, the strange uncle and the brother who’s become a permanent bully?

Bummed out yet? You don’t have to be. Most people go through this kind of ordeal without understanding what’s going on inside them (besides the constant urge to scream). But if you’re equipped with smarts and strategies, you can get through it with as little stress as possible. And you’ve still got a few weeks before Christmas to practice them!

Read 25 Ways to Meet a Guy This Holiday Season

According to Los Angeles psychiatrist Ronald Podell, “ambivalent reunions often relive the same dysfunctional family relationships that have been operating for decades.” But while that might seem obvious, Podell told the website Medical News Today that emotions stemming from those bad experiences have literally become lodged in our brain. Those emotions, Podell told the site, are “coded by the brain into neuro-chemical messages and stored in memory nodes.”


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