I’m one of four siblings, we all have children, and my mother celebrates her birthday within days of Christmas. So stress, guilt, obligation, uncomfortable familial patterns, and financial pressure were as much a part of our winter holidays as the joy of being together. At a time when I just wanted to relax and go within, I found myself feeling overwhelmed, obligated, and worthy of blame. And this grew with each passing year, until recently.
The holidays are a crucible for relationship meltdowns. Loved ones with differing expectations, familial patterns, and needs get together to create a “Hallmark moment.” Even in the best of circumstances, this can be a set up for dysfunction and stress. At midlife, it can be even tougher.