How To Deal With Toxic Relatives You Can't Avoid

Avoid letting them bring out the worst in you.
by Stephanie Shi, Ysabel Y. Yuzon   |  Dec 31, 2019
Image: unsplash.com
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Going to multiple family and barkada get-togethers can be draining for anyone, especially when you yourself are going through some internal musings and don't have full answers to seemingly harmless questions like what your plans are for 2020, what happened to that hobby of yours, or if you've made any new friends in college yet. But while social anxiety is one thing, toxic relatives is another. Unfortunately, some families have a few members with no boundaries, and who truly have negative impacts on our self-esteem and emotional well-being.

You may not have the power to cut them off just yet, but you do have the power over your words and actions. Try using humor to lighten the mood or deliver a clever remark. The safer route would be to stay silent or change the subject.

While an open and honest conversation is always good (and might be worth a shot given the situation), don’t expect your relatives to suddenly change—that’s up to them. The most you can do is to emotionally detach yourself, be as civil as possible (they’re still people), and avoid letting them bring out the worst in you (no one is worth it).

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And just in case you need a reminder:

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Still dreading that new year get together? Here are some stories to check out:

Did you get a bit delayed, and are now dreading having *that* conversation with relatives? Here's how to answer the question firmly and sincerely (should you decide to):

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Dear Tita, Hindi Pa Po Ako Ga-graduate This Year

"But, tita, please know that I'm trying my best and continually striving to achieve my goals."

From “Oh, TYG its the holidays,” to “Oh no, it’s the holidays,” real quick! Along with the cheerful greetings, relaxing ambiance, and jolly crowds comes a pinch of tension between you and your relatives when the topic of school—particularly graduation—has been dug up from the peaceful corner of everyone's minds. And all that holiday spirit of yours will be replaced, once again, by pressure. Now every year, instead of thinking about how much aguinaldo you can get from your titas and titos, the only thing on your mind is the fear of having to answer when they ask you about graduation or future plans. Talk about a relaxing bakasyon, eh?

Or how about reading something inspiring if you feel like you're at a crossroads this new year?

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I Took A Job That’s Different From My College Course, Here’s What I Learned

The normal progression of a college student’s life starts with choosing a course to take and ideally ends in taking on a profession that, at the very least, mildly resembles the background of their college major. It isn’t far off, though, to see fresh college grads enter an industry that isn’t related to their course at all. Case in point: I took up a pre-medical course and initially believed I would be headed to med school right after college.

After graduating, however, I find myself with a psychology degree in hand, working in the digital publishing industry and writing about fashion and beauty trends. Here's what I learned from shifting to a career path that isn't related to my college major (or initial career plan).

Not too comfy chatting with relatives? that's perfectly normal (and more common than you think)You can also change the subject by opting to play games instead!

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About the author
Stephanie Shi
Contributing Writer
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About the author
Ysabel Y. Yuzon
Candy Editor In Chief
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