Ah the holidays – the warmth of family and friends, the spectacle of football on the big TV, wine glasses and silverware clinking as everyone digs into a bountiful meal…all with a deep sense of gratitude for all our blessings.
Ya. Aaaaaand…the quibbling leading to emotional outbursts, out-of-control kids screaming and playing catch with the cat, red wine and gravy spilled liberally, crumbs and nut shells embedded in the carpet. Freakin’ chaos. Gratitude? Thanks for nuthin’!
There’s a reason “liquor store” is the #3 search term in Google Maps just before the holidays.
However lovely or looney your holiday gatherings tend to be, ‘tis the season for dysfunction and disarray, especially for our tribe. And in my experience, there are at least three egregious ADHD Holiday Blunders that befall the ADDer who is not vigilant…
The Relative that Baits You into Confrontation
Maybe it’s a cousin or an uncle or a sibling. Seems every time you’re together there’s a conflagration (or Armageddon if booze is deployed) before the end of the night. Politics, religion, your kid’s behavior – whatever. And our volatile emotional wiring makes it all so predictable that you begin to anticipate the encounter on your way to the gathering.
But here’s the deal…
As you anticipate, you sub-consciously start formulating your retorts and assaults in advance, which starts generating the negative sentiments that attach to the offender’s most offending behaviors. The trick is to STOP WRITING THAT SCRIPT, and alter your anticipation of that encounter by identifying something positive about your nemesis. Yes, you can if you try. And then when you arrive let that be what guides the discourse. When you walk in the door in that mental space, you can undercut the otherwise inevitable. Epic Win.
[Bonus Tip from a Seasoned Hostage Negotiator! According to Gary Noesner, author of Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator, “Tone is king here: subtle vocal inflections can impart either ‘I disagree, let’s move on,’ or ‘I disagree, let’s turn this into The Jerry Springer Show.’” (From a NYTimes article – seriously.)]
The Impulsive Over-Spend
You want to do the right thing. You want to be considerate. You want to have some fun. You want to reward yourself and your family for a year of hard work – whether with gifts or gourmet gluttony. And so, you invariably blow a small fortune and piss off the spouse and, come April, can’t understand why there’s only enough funds for another Staycation.
But here’s the deal…
We ADDers are 1) always aiming to please and 2) boneheaded wielders of credit cards. Deadly combo. (Um, ya, I had $100,000 in credit card debt at one time. Bonehead.) Yet we do NOT have to shower anybody with anything to show our love (including love for ourselves). In fact, a great way to love yourself is to respect your money. And the best way to show your love to your family and friends is to do some gifting that doesn’t involve the latest gadget or designer purse or soul-less gift card.
If you’ve signed up to do the whole shebang – hosting everyone at your place, preparing and cooking everything, etc. – you’re a good person. Bless you! Yes, we ADDers want to be the good hosts, or at least the heroic bringers of unseemly joy. And the more we sign up for, the more we’ve signed up for mistakes, misery and missed opportunities to actually BE with our people. Which we perennially remember just as the hordes begin to arrive – “Ruh-roh. I am swamped!”
But here’s the deal…
Reality is, you don’t have to sign up for nothin’, least of all being the Iron Chef for 17 people. Everybody already LOVES YOU (even Cousin Jackass, in his own jackassy way). So just sign up to bring yourself, some genuine silent gratitude prayers and some authentic eye-to-eye Hey-man-great-to-see-you!’s. And/or at least commit to not over-committing.
Wishing you lots of holiday dysfunction-crushing!
P.S. If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab