Holiday Humble Pie

This time of year is really stressful for my husband and myself – our relationship with his parents is so difficult because we feel that his mother criticizes everything. Any advice on how to stay chill and not let her ruin the wonderful season? Thank you!


Hi S,

Thank you for your question.
You are making memories with your husband that will last the rest of your lives. Let’s make them as fun, pleasant and enjoyable as we can.

When families get together for the holidays most of them regress to the most childish levels possible. Parent’s behavior tends to regress to the level of when you were a five year old child and they try to correct and discipline everything you say and do.

In order to deal with this situation effectively there are three critical things you need to realize, understand and accept: 1) You are not going to change them or their behavior so don’t try. 2) You can’t take any of this personally. 3) You can’t take any of it seriously.

Those three things are the Golden Keys on how to handle the situation in a positive, healthy, constructive, stress free way.

Here’s how you do that: In order to make most people happy all you have to do is agree with them. No one can argue or fight with someone that agrees with them.

So no matter what she says, no matter how negative it is, all you have to do is agree with her.

When you realize, understand and accept that her negativity doesn’t mean anything it puts you back in control.

Look at it like you’re pacifying a child. You and your husband can make a game out of it called: Who can be the most negative? Whatever she says you say, “Oh, it’s much worse than that….” and be as negative as you possibly can be.

Remember, it’s only a game.

When you realize, understand and accept that it’s only a game and it doesn’t matter who is right and who is wrong then it takes all the pressure off of both your husband and you. Just don’t get sarcastic. Sound sincere. Realize her negativity is not from something you’ve said or done and don’t take it personally. This is the way she was before you and your husband were born and she’ll take it with her to the grave.

Pretend you’re dealing with a spoiled, pampered child. How would you treat her? Also remember what she says is no reflection of you. It really doesn’t matter what she says or what she thinks. You’re just trying to keep the peace in a non confrontational way.

And remember: You don’t have to live with her all day. Her husband does. [And he’s lived with it since the day they met… That poor guy…]

Happy Holidays,


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