Holidays With Family When You’re Not Out
The holidays are a stressful time, especially when you are not out to your family. There are many reasons why someone may not be out to their family, and it’s a personal choice for when and how that time comes. However, some prep work may be needed to get through the holidays when you don’t feel that you can be your full and true self with your family.
Below are a few key strategies to help navigate this time of year.
Rely on Your Support System
Whether it's your chosen family or a close relative, it will be essential to have someone who understands your situation. Make sure they know when and where you will be with family who don't know (or may be disparaging of) your orientation.
Have someone that can be available by phone or text the day of. It’s good to have someone on-call the day, weekend, or week that you’re around family. When you are with family members that do not know your identity, it can feel isolating. Having that support can keep you grounded, reassured, and feeling safe.
Say Your Positive Affirmations
While having a support system is ideal, you will also need to give yourself a pep talk. No one has ever stood by you the way you have all this time, so practice making positive statements to yourself. Whether it is during your morning meditation, or as you're driving to your family's house, take time to be present and kind with yourself.
When giving yourself this pep talk, be honest about your boundaries as well. Get clear on what you are and are not comfortable with. This leads us into the next section...
Know Your Boundaries
Everyone has limits, and it is important to know and respect what yours are. Discuss only what you are comfortable talking about, and do not disclose anything you are not. Know what your limits are so that you know not to breach them if you enter an uncomfortable topic or discussion.
An exercise to do is think about what the worst-case scenario would be, and think about how you would handle it. Make a plan for your worst fears. You can either step out to take a break, or change the subject, or simply say, "I'm not going to talk about that." Having a plan can help reduce some of the fears, and help you feel confident in taking on a difficult situation.
Setting boundaries may sound scary, but boundaries are healthy and they protect us.
Being with family can be difficult, especially when you do not feel like you can be who you truly are around them. It doesn’t feel fair or right, and those feelings are valid. It’s out of our control what others think or say about us, and it's important to remember we are not responsible for it.
At the end of the day, remember that this is your holiday season too. No matter the situation with your family, do what feels right to you, reach out to your community for support, and be kind to yourself.
Let us know in the comments how you navigate the holiday season with family.
We hope you have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season!
Written by Julia Pincus, The Beauty Mark Writer