If you are from a Latino family like mine, you are well aware of the following:
- Boundaries don’t exist
- The holidays are full of family drama
- It is the best place for your aunts to ask about all the things they know you haven’t achieved yet!
So if you are feeling anxious the holidays because you know what will come, then it’s officially time for setting boundaries with family that we have always been so afraid to set!
Your whole life has been spent interacting with your family in certain way, so introducing a different way can be difficult. Mainly because it sometimes feels like you’re being disrespectful in some sort of way that I don’t even understand myself very well.
The easiest thing to do might be to keep up with the way your family normally operates in order to avoid any potential conflict. In reality, however, it is possible to create anxiety, stress, and resentment by not setting boundaries. So instead of feeling guilty about setting boundaries you need to view them as a way to protect you family’s well being.
Great! So now that we know why setting boundaries with family is so hard and so important at the same time. Here’s a 4 step guide that’ll help you set those boundaries without the scary part of feeling like you are a disrespectful little brat!
Step 1: Make a list of the things that really affect you
Remember the journal I’m always talking about…well get it out and write! It is important to know which are the things that are actually affecting you in order to set those boundaries properly.
Step 2: Write down clear boundaries
Now that you know what’s actually affecting you, it’s easier to sit and write the boundaries. We already wrote about what we don’t like, now it’s time to write about how we’d like to be treated. Which topics of conversation are just off limits…that sort of things. But always keep in mind that it’s for the benefit of your relationship with them. So keep in mind their possible reactions.
For example; in my case if I hear my aunt asking me about when I’ll have a boyfriend again I think I’ll go insane! So I just talked to her about how her constant questioning actually affected me.
Sep 3: Share your boundaries with your family
Don’t wait till Christmas day to talk to them. Tell them how you feel and what conclusions you have reached in advance. This way they will know how to manage themselves a bit better.
Step 4: Be clear about the consequences and enforce those boundaries
In my case, Latin families like to gather all together no matter what. So my consequences were that if they did not accept my boundaries then I would prefer to celebrate the holidays somewhere else.
I hope this was useful for all of you! And that your family gatherings were a bit better this time! Have a great holiday season!!!
Until next time,