Holiday Family Anxiety and Boundaries: Part 2
Most of my clients would like family holidays to be different and more on their terms. In the previous blog, I explain how my clients' families have high expectations of their time and attention. However, when given, there's no reward of family fun and connection—instead, my clients end the holidays with exhaustion and hurt.
One way to stop this burnout cycle is to start practicing boundaries with your family. The following sections will explain the benefits of setting personal limits with your family.
Boundaries help you see reality and create an opening for change.
Holidays provide an additional opportunity to relate, but if you grew up feeling disconnected from your family, this detachment and hurt will most likely continue even during the holidays.
Change is difficult if this reality is not accepted. Practicing boundaries is learning to take things for what they are, even if you want them to be different. For example, my clients learn to accept that, despite their best efforts, there is still a disconnect between them and their parents. And the effort they put into the relationship has increasing adverse effects on their life, like added symptoms of anxiety and depression.
While this kind of effort helped them through childhood, things can be different in adulthood. As an adult, you can prioritize your mental and emotional health and say no to the things and people that hurt you.
Boundaries allow you to protect yourself from further harm and create an opening for healing from the past.
You are free to create safety for yourself and no longer have to be in a position with your parents where there is disrespect and a lack of attunement. Getting together and holiday traditions lose their meaning if your family puts high demands on you. Emotional safety is essential to have deep relationships. Boundaries protect you from further harm by communicating what is allowed or helpful. When your family respects these limits, you will feel relief, safety, and warmth.
It's difficult to heal from the past and work towards a better future if there is constant harm in the present. Both take a lot of emotional energy, and most of my clients find doing both simultaneously difficult. Therefore, boundaries help give you space and time to heal from the past by lessening the stress in your everyday life and by giving you the energy to grieve.
Grieving is essential to healing from childhood emotional neglect and can't be avoided. Grieving allows you to pause and validate pain from the past while lessening your symptoms of anxiety and depression. In addition, grieving helps you tolerate the pain as it passes so you can feel peace.
Boundaries allow you to be yourself and create an opening for your family to create a stronger relationship with you.
By establishing family boundaries that respect your feelings and needs, you are learning to build emotional strength and trust yourself. Both skills are necessary to be an emotionally healthy adult. As an emotionally mature adult, you take on the responsibility of healing yourself and not passing on your pain to others. With boundaries, you will be able to protect yourself and resist continuing to take on your parent's emotional responsibilities. Allowing yourself to grieve and be responsible only for your feelings creates an opportunity for your family to change and relate more deeply to you.
In the next blog, we'll look at specific boundaries my clients found helpful in establishing personal limits with their families. And if you're looking for more support in recovering from childhood emotional neglect, schedule a free therapy consultation today.
Begin Anxiety Treatment in Mahomet, IL
You don't have to struggle during the holiday season. As an anxiety therapist, I would be happy to offer support in creating healthier boundaries from our Mahomet, IL-based practice. I offer both anxiety treatment and therapy for perfectionism in Champaign, Springfield, Peoria, or anywhere else within the state via online therapy. Start your therapy journey by following these simple steps:
- Schedule your free consultation by texting or calling 217-402-7817
- Make your first therapy appointment at Live Lekko
- Start making the most of the holidays!
Other Counseling Services At Live Lekko in Champaign, Illinois
At my therapy practice, I am happy to help with more than just anxiety. I offer a variety of mental health services both in-person and online. I'm happy to also offer help with therapy for childhood emotional abuse, depression, and burnout. Additionally, I also offer counseling for women, grief, and people-pleasing. Since I offer online therapy in Illinois no matter where you are located I am here for you. Get in contact with me today!