As we are heading into holiday season I feel like this quote is an important reminder. Especially for those who come from families that are less than supportive, possibly toxic or dysfunctional in some way. Part of your responsibility in healing is to decide if it is appropriate to see family for the holidays.
Holidays can be quite difficult for those in the LGBTQ+ community and for those who come from dysfunctional families. It is important you to know that it is okay and perfectly healthy to love your family from afar if they are toxic.
Folx in the LGBTQ+ community often have mixed feelings about going home and worries about how they will be treated. It is perfectly natural to have both positive and negative feelings about going home or seeing family for the holidays.
From my perspective, being genetically related to someone doesn’t make them family; it is a title people have to earn. That title is earned by demonstrating (not just paying lip service to) love, respect, support, honesty, acceptance, loyalty and compassion. It is okay and healthy to choose not to spend time with people you are genetically related to. Sometimes you must learn to love your family from afar. It can be incredibly healing to create a chosen family of people who have earned that title and spend the holidays with them.
If the holidays are simply too emotionally painful to engage in due to past traumatic experiences, then that is okay too.
When deciding to go home for the holidays to a family that is less than supportive there are some important things to consider and plan for. Where do you want to stay? Plan for self-care. Is there a friend you want to bring with you who can help buffer things? Will bringing your pet help? Make plans with friends in the area so that you can take a break from ‘family.’ Plan for taking a walk if emotions get intense. Know the local crisis lines in case of crisis.
It is okay to set boundaries with family about what kind of behavior you will and will not tolerate. In the current political climate, perhaps this means asking that politics not be discussed. Then have a plan for what you can do if your boundaries are violated. Prep your support network on what type of support you might need at this time, and then make sure to reach out and ask for it!