Protecting Yourself During Family Events

Unfortunately not everyone has supportive families.  There can be family members that we just don’t get along with and so family events can be triggering. 

So how do you protect yourself during family gatherings?

1. Know Yourself and The People Around You.

Everybody is different and programmed to think differently.  So when you’re at opposite ends of the spectrum, it’s really easy to butt heads.

Let me explain.  I’ve really been devouring Dr. Christiane Northrup’s new book “Dodging Energy Vampires,” where she explains how empaths are often taken advantage of, especially by those who are of the Cluster B personality.  So first things first, let’s define what it means to be an empath and what is Cluster B personality?

Empaths: Are people who can absorb other people’s emotions and/or physical symptoms because of their high sensitivities.

Example: I can be at a party, having a really great time and for no reason at all, feel like going home. Empaths are also very intuitive people. They have this trait of making sure everybody else is taken care of first, and this is where some personalities can start to take advantage of you.

Cluster B Personality Includes: 

  • Borderline personality
  • Antisocial personality
  • Histrionic personality
  • Narcissistic personality

They manipulate to get what they want.  They’re often charming, attractive, and outgoing. They have a disregard for right and wrong. They commit their biggest crimes when no one is looking. They’re biggest kick is looking good.   There is a little more to it, so if you’re still curious if you or someone you love embody any of these traits, there are some simple quizzes you can take online:

Empath Quiz

Cluster B Quiz

The first step to protecting yourself is seeing the problem.   Once you see the problem, you can start setting boundaries to start to distance yourself from them.

2. Set Boundaries

  • If at all possible, simply let them go. They’ll get the energy they need from someone else.
  • You don’t have to totally cut them off if it’s a family member.  Maybe you stop taking the initiative to call. Maybe you start to unfollow people on social media rather than unfriending. Maybe you delete a snide comment on your page.  Feel free to ban a person.  Maybe you stop answering their calls. Each situation is different. 
  • Gray rock
  • If someone is being critical of you, try saying “

3. Get Support

Make sure to talk to someone after the family gathering, whether that’s through a therapist or a friend who understands.

4. Say No

If it’s hard to say no, say something like “I’ll get back to you.”  Or try “I’m so honored you asked, but I simply must decline, I know you’ll understand.”

The more you practice, the easier it’ll be.  Start practicing on something small.

5. Are You Introvert?

If so, devise a plan of how you can get alone time during an event. s feeling and absorbing other people’s emotions and/or physical symptoms because of their high sensitivities. Maybe you have to “take a phone call.”  Team up with your partner so you’re on the same page and they can help you take a breather. 

Your family might be understanding, if so, just go ahead and be real with them and tell them you just need 30 minutes to yourself.

6. Journal

A lot of our issues stem from childhood, so it can be very common that hanging out with family members can be triggering.  It’s really empowering to figure out the issues behind it.  If something someone said really ticked me off during the visit, I’ll take note about it in my journal and start writing about it. 

I Wanna Hear From You?

How do you handle family gatherings? Share in the comments below.

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