5 Ways to Survive the Holidays

The Festive Season is once again upon us. Often a tense, trying, time full of conflict and upset, the holidays are the number one time when everything and everyone can get on your last nerve.

Perhaps you have a large family who get together for the holidays and continually bicker and argue about nothing; or perhaps you’re a couple trapped in an argumentative loop where you have the one argument over and over and which never gets resolved.
Keep your sense of humour and you can get through anything this Christmas.

On the other hand, if you have a well-behaved family, who rarely argue, and always treat each other with respect, I take my hat off to you.

Congratulations, your family are one of a rare kind. Keep up the great work, champ.

Chances are your family are much like everyone else’s around holiday time, and fall into a routine of bickering, rehashing painful memories from your childhood, or competitive talk about how your children and doing better at school than your cousins’ children. Whatever your situation, here are 5 tips for making it to New Year’s with your sanity intact.

1 Take a mini-vacay instead of spending the holidays with your family and avoid the whole mess. Somewhere that you can switch off your mind and bask in the glorious sunshine. With or without your partner, naturally.

Coming home with a tan will change the topic of conversation around the dinner table come New Year’s.

Part of the cause of so many upsets over the Holidays is due to stress and unresolved past issues. It seems the perfect time to air your grievances around a plate of turkey collared greens and candied yams, but its the worst time to do so.

Families in particular can find that the culmination erupts to breaking point around the time the meal is being served. Even if you’re a close-knit family, one ill-timed comment can disrupt the usually calm status quo. Be quick to apologise if you are the one who causes any upsets. Further, be quick to forgive if you receive an apology, and then move on.

2 Unplug the phone and stay home to binge-watch television instead of venturing out. Line up your viewing choices now to get a head start. As soon as you finish work the day before Christmas Eve, get into your P.J.’s and don’t come out of hiding until at least December 28. The conflict coast will be clear by then, and all thoughts of turkey, tantrums and mistletoe will be a long distant memory.

3 Grin and bear it. Show up at the house on time, with the obligatory gifts. Eat whatever’s put on the plate in front of you without complaining that its cold or greasy or there’s not enough of it.
Be polite, and remember to be extra courteous. When the entourage moves to the couch make an excuse and leave, pronto, to avoid any conflict.

4 Telephone your family very early on Christmas morning with a fake bout of flu, and explain that you’re going to take some Night Nurse and try to sleep it off. This will ensure you don’t end up with everyone dropping in on you will plates of cold leftovers ‘just to see how you’re feeling.’

Plus, stay off Social Media so you won’t be tempted to post updates that show you’re really at the Mall looking fierce in your half-off-must-buy-now-hundred-dollar- shoes.

5 Book a hotel for a last-minute weekend spa treatment. The mani-pedi you’ve been dreaming about, or the warm oil massage is now your new drama-free reality.

Above all, have a wonderful time whether you choose to spend it alone, or with your family.

Can Being Needy Cause Someone To Put Up With Bad Behaviour?

If someone hasn’t eaten for a little while, they can end up eating things that are not good for them. Due to how hungry they are, it can stop them from being able to resist this type of food.

They can find that their will power has deserted them and that they don’t even take the time to think about if they are doing the right thing. They are going to have a strong desire to fulfil a need, and that will be the only thing that matters.

Off Balance

What this shows it that there can be times when it is not going to be possible for one to behave as they would like to. Even so, it could be said that this is just part of life, as they are not always going to be able to exercise self-control.

In general, one could find that this is something that rarely takes place, and so there will be no reason for them to beat themselves up about it. They could take the time to think about how most of their life is spent doing things that are good for them.

A Way of life

However, if this was something that took place on a regular basis, it wouldn’t be something that they can simply overlook. In this case, they could find that they are carrying more weight than they need to.

But if this is not something they can relate to, they are likely to find that they are not very healthy. There will then be the state of their health and there will be the effect this is having on their mental and emotional health.

A New Approach

Therefore, the sooner one does something about this; the sooner they will begin to improve their health. On one hand, one will need to look into what kind of food they need to eat in order to be healthy.

This can take place through looking on the internet, or through speaking to someone who has a deeper understanding of this area of life. And on the other hand, it will be necessary for them to develop will power.

A Process

What is clear is that their life is not going to change overnight, but this doesn’t mean that it will take forever. Through taking the first step and doing something each day, they will be sure to achieve their desired outcome.

Another Area

And while one might be able to identify with the above example, they might find that there is something else that is causing then problems. There is the chance that they have moments when they are needy, and this then causes them to behave in ways that are entirely out of character.

As a result of behaving this way, they could often end up pushing people away. When they meet someone, they could behave as they usually do, but once the relationship progresses this could all change.

A Missed Opportunity

If one was to look back on their life, they could start to wonder why they behave in this way. During this time, they might see that this hasn’t always taken place, and that there have been times when they were able to be themselves.

It is then as if this is something that comes and goes, and there is nothing they can do about it. Naturally, this is going to be something that will cause them to experience pain and frustration.

The Other Extreme

What is going to cause one to experience even more pain is if this is what always takes place. They could then find that this stops them from getting too close to anyone, and so they are going to be used to be single.

And through experiencing life in this way, there is a strong chance that they will feel even needier. As a result, this can cause them to come on even stronger and this will make it even easier for people to reject them.

Walked Over

Yet regardless of whether this happens on the odd occasion or as a way of life, it could also set them up to be taken advantage of. If one was to attract someone, they could find that they end up putting up with bad behaviour.

And although there is the chance that the other person will end up walking away before too much time has passed, there is also the chance that they will stay around for quite some time. As to how long one will be treated badly can then depend on how long the other person stays around for.

One Focus

One could find that they overlook what is taking place, as they don’t want the other person to leave them. Either consciously or unconsciously, this could be something that the other person is only too aware of.

This is likely to mean that one won’t be respected by them, but it can still cause one to be used by them. If they were to leave them, it could be because they have found someone else to use.

Another Way

But even if they don’t leave them, it is going to be a good idea for one to take a step back from what is taking place. When one behaves in this way, it can show that they don’t value themselves.

What can also play a part here is if one is carrying unmet needs from their early years, as these needs will cause them to feel like a needy child and to expect too much from others. This shows that there can be a number of different factors involved here, and that it is not black and white


When it comes to moving forward, one might be able to do this by themselves, or they might need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided by a therapist.

Why Do Some Relationships Come To An End When One Person Has Therapy?

In the beginning of a relationship, everything can be going fine, and then as it progress certain issues can appear. This can then cause one of them to wonder how the other person could have changed so much.

In fact, it could be as if the other person has ended up becoming someone else, and this can be hard for them to handle. During this time, they might start to think about whether they were putting on an act.

The Next Step

This could then be a time when they will wait and see what happens; with the hope that the other person will go back to how they were. They might continue to behave in the same way, or they could adjust their behaviour.

If they were to alter their behaviour, it could result in them doing more to please their partner. The alternative might be for them to no longer put in an as much effort and to come across as indifferent.

A Short-Term Solution

Through doing this, they may find that the other person begins to change their behaviour. But although this might work for a little while, they could soon see that it is not going to be the answer to their problems.

On the other hand, one could just ignore what is taking palace and continue to behave in the same way. Even so, it is likely to be only a matter of time before they have to face up what is going on.

Speaking Up

Yet, if they don’t end up altering their behaviour, they could try to talk to the other person about what is taking place. This could mean that they will share their perspective on what is taking place, or they could end up having a go at them.

If they were to do the former, it might make it easier for the other person to share their thoughts. This is unlikely to take place if the latter was to occur, and the other person could shut down.

A Standstill

It could be said that the ideal will be for one to talk about what is going on without putting their partner down. This is going to be the best way for them to change what is taking place in their relationship.

If they don’t do this and the other person ends up going silent, they are not going to get anywhere. This is can then be no different to what would happen if an argument broke out.

One Outcome

When it is possible for one to open up without putting their partner down, it can allow the relationship to move forward. And there could be a legitimate reason as to why the other person has changed.

Once one finds out about this, they may find that the relationship begins to change, and it might no longer consume their attention. This can then be seen as something that is relatively straight forward, and not something that they need to think about any more.

No Different

However, something like this could take palace and then before long, the relationship could go back to how it was. One could then end up going through the whole process again, and the same outcome could soon arise once more.

At this point, they might no longer be willing to stay with the other person, and they might end up walking away. But even if they were to do this, it might only be matter of time before they end up getting back with them.

The Reason

The person they were with could say that they are no longer the same or that it will be different this time. One could then come to believe what they are saying and be only too happy to return to how things were.

Having said that, regardless of whether they were to break up, one could suggest that their partner goes to see a therapist. This can be seen as something that will allow them to finally change their behaviour.

The Problem

What this shows it what their partner is going to be seen as the one with the issues, and so there will be no reason for one to do anything. Now, there is always the chance that their partner won’t be open to this idea.

If this is the case, one could say that they will only stay with them if they go and see one. Therefore, their partner could end up working with someone, and this will then give them the chance to see why they are behaving in a way that is undermining their relationship.

A New Start

Through taking a deeper look within themselves and acknowledging what is taking place, they could find that their behaviour starts to change. At the same time, it might be necessary for them to do more than this.

One could then find that their relationship ends up improving, and this is naturally going to have a big effect on their life. Yet, what one could also find is that they are longer attracted to them.

Another Angle

What this can show is that although the other persons behaviour was having a negative effect on them at a conscious level, it might have been what felt comfortable at a deeper level. The other person is no longer going to behave in the same way and this is going to stop them from feeling the same way about them.

Another way of looking at this would be to say that one doesn’t just randomly end up with people who have problems. The reason they end up with people like this is because there is something that they need to deal with within themselves.


If one can relate to this and they want to change their circumstances, it might be a good idea for them to work with a therapist. This will give them the chance to attract people who are right for them.

Prolific writer, author, and coach, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, and inner awareness. With over one thousand two hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice. His current projects include ‘A Dialogue With The Heart’ and ‘Communication Made Easy’.

Loving Yourself When You Feel Lonely

One of the saddest and most dysfunctional aspects of our current culture is that it fosters loneliness. It’s not hard to imagine that when most people lived in tribes or small villages, loneliness was not the epidemic that it currently is.

Loneliness is the feeling we have when we want to connect with someone and there is no one around to connect with, or the person or people who are there are closed and unavailable for connection. We can feel lonely when alone, and we can also feel lonely with others who are shut down and closed to connection.

We are social beings and we are hard-wired to long for connection and the sharing of love. Hopefully, understanding that loneliness is a natural core painful feeling coming from a primal need, will help you to remove any judgment from feeling lonely. Judging yourself for feeling lonely is the opposite of loving yourself. Judging yourself only serves to make you feel alone inside, and the combination of loneliness and aloneness leads to depression and despair. Loneliness is hard enough to manage without making it harder by judging yourself for it.

As an only child with disconnected parents, I was often very lonely. The loneliness was so big that I learned seemingly positive ways of avoiding feeling this feeling – reading, doing arts and crafts, being immersed in school and spending as much time as I could at friends’ houses. In fact, I did such a good job of avoiding this feeling that I was completely unaware that I was often very lonely.

It came as a shock to me when, one day, I felt a searing pain throughout my body. I asked my spiritual Guidance what this feeling was and she said, “This is loneliness.” “Wow!” I answered. “No wonder I’ve avoided it all this time!”

My Guidance suggested that I hang out with the feeling, welcome it, embrace it and stay open to learning about what it had to teach me. I hung out with it for two months and it taught me volumes. One of the things it taught me was how to love myself through the loneliness.

The first thing I learned to do was to become aware of the feeling, then name it and embrace it with compassion. My inner child feels seen, heard and loved when I name the feeling and compassionately embrace it. It’s easy to use various addictions and other forms of self-abandonment to avoid feeling lonely, but this isn’t loving to ourselves.

The next thing I learned to do is to open to learning from the feeling. If I feel lonely when I’m alone, it’s telling me that I need to reach out for connection. Sometimes being alone doesn’t feel lonely and other times it does. If it does, then loving myself means taking loving action for myself – such as calling a friend or family member. Loving yourself might mean that you need to make friends. Loving action might be looking into meetup.com, or taking a class with like-minded people, or joining a spiritual or religious organization or a 12-Step group, or some other activity where you might meet like-minded people. What is not loving is to judge yourself or avoid the feeling with some other form of self-abandonment.

If I feel lonely when I’m with another person, first I need to check in to make sure I’m open. If I’m not, then I need to do my Inner Bonding work to explore what I’m protecting again – what I’m trying to control or avoid. If I am open, then my loneliness is likely telling me that the person I’m with is closed to connection with me. Then I have the choice to love myself by opening to learning with them, or to lovingly disengage. If you are often lonely with your partner, loving yourself might mean seeking help with your relationship, even if your partner isn’t open to counseling or facilitation.

If I’m with a group, the feeling might be telling me that this group isn’t my tribe, or it might be telling me that I need to move around within the group to find the one or two people with whom I can connect.

There may be a lot of information you can gain from compassionately attending to your loneliness. Loving yourself through loneliness means embracing it, learning from it, and taking loving action on your own behalf.

How To Forgive

It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody. ~Maya Angelou

Forgiveness IS one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves, but how do we genuinely get there?

Many people believe that if they just decide to forgive someone, they have actually forgiven them, only to discover anger or resentment emerging over and over. So how to forgive?

Alyce wrote me the following question:

“Dr. Paul, How do I sincerely forgive my soon-to-be ex-husband of 32 years for infidelity committed prior to him even asking me for a divorce? I feel angry, hurt and jealous that he would give another woman the affection that he denied me. I know I must forgive him in order for me to heal and move on, but how to forgive?”

The first thing that Alyce needs to accept is that forgiveness is a natural process that occurs as we do our own deep inner work. Alyce needs to let go of reaching forgiveness for now, and instead focus on learning about her end of the relationship system. She needs to have the courage to look within at what she did in the relationship that contributed to the problems that resulted in divorce.

Alyce can ask herself questions such as:

Was I true to myself in this relationship, or did I give myself up to try to please him?
How did I try to control in this relationship? Was I angry, compliant, withdrawn, resistant or blaming?
In what ways did I abandon myself? Did I judge myself, ignore my feelings, turn to addictions to avoid responsibility for my feelings, or did I make my husband responsible for my self-worth, safety and happiness?

Answering these questions honestly won’t be easy, and Alyce might need the help of a therapist or facilitator to have the courage to get very honest with herself.

Once she has a clear understanding of her end of their dysfunctional relationship system, then Alyce needs to practice doing inner work to learn to love herself. She needs to learn to give herself whatever it was that she was trying to get from her husband. Part of loving herself is forgiving herself for her own unloving behavior toward herself and her husband while in the relationship.

Alyce needs to accept that she and her husband came together at their common level of woundedness – their common level of self-abandonment. Each of them brought their unhealed wounds into the relationship, and they each played out their wounds with each other.

As Alyce learns to love and forgive herself, rather than judge herself and abandon herself in other ways, she will gradually and naturally feel forgiveness toward her husband. She cannot force or push reaching forgiveness. She needs to accept that this is a gradual process of self-healing.

The more Alyce does her own inner work, the more happy and peaceful she will feel within. Her anger, hurt and jealousy will gradually heal as she learns to give herself the love she was seeking externally. As she learns to see their relationship system clearly, she will accept that they both did the best they could, given their backgrounds and resulting woundedness.

The Gifts Of Laughter And Tears

When you do not allow yourself to express yourself with laughter and tears, physical pain, due to stress and a lack of passion for life, may be the result.

Ron grew up in a household where laughter and tears were never expressed. Anger was the main feeling expressed by his mother, while his father was mostly withdrawn. By the time Ron was eight years old, he had managed to shut off both his laughter and his tears to avoid feeling rejected by his parents and controlled by his mother. Shutting down was his way of protecting against being invaded by his very controlling mother. He became a serious child – a controlled and controlling child.

Ron grew up, went to college, became a successful lawyer, married and had three children. Yet nothing, not even his deep love for his children, managed to break through his rigid, controlling way of being.

Ron reached out for my help because he was not only very unhappy, but was often in physical pain. All he could say about the physical pain was that he hurt. “My body hurts. My chest hurts, my stomach hurts and my back hurts.” He had been thoroughly checked out by a physician and learned that nothing was physically wrong. The doctor told him it was stress.

Ron told me that he spent much of his non-working time daydreaming because when he was present with himself in the moment, all he felt was pain. He had learned to daydream to avoid the pain.

However, Ron was now 48 years old, and the daydreaming was no longer working well. The pain was breaking through, especially in the form of debilitating back pain, so Ron decided he needed some help.

The issue behind Ron’s pain was that his primary intention in his life was to control. He wanted to control how others felt about him, how well his employees worked, how his wife treated him and how well his children did in school. He also wanted control over not feeling the pain of rejection and the fear of engulfment that he had felt so much in his family. He especially wanted control over not feeling the pain of his own self-abandonment.

Ron’s control had worked for him to a certain extent. He was financially successful. He had all the material things a person could want – a beautiful home, a vacation home, a boat and all the electronics a person could ever use. He had a wonderful family and he had good health – other than his pain. Yet he was often miserable and felt no sense of passion about life.

The problem Ron was facing was that having control was far more important to him than being a loving person with himself and with others. As a result, Ron felt empty inside and was constantly looking to others to fill him up. He had no interest in taking responsibility for his own feelings – his own pain and joy. He wanted others or things to fill him and make him happy.

Imagine how a child would feel if you put him into a box and told him he could never laugh or cry. This is what was happening with Ron. His inner child – his feeling self – was in a box, not allowed to laugh or cry. Laughter and tears are our natural ways of expressing and releasing feelings. Without the God-given gifts of laughter and tears, our feelings get blocked up inside, eventually causing our muscles to go into painful spasms. This is what was causing Ron’s pain. He could no longer keep a lid on his feelings without feeling physical pain.

It was a tough battle for Ron. At those moments when he let go of control and opened his heart to love, the pain went away. But his terror of being rejected or controlled was generally more powerful than his desire to be loving with himself and others, and he would close up in the face of his fears. He feared that if he opened to his feelings, he would be weak and would be seen as weak, which he feared would lead to rejection, engulfment, and being taken advantage of.

Ron wanted something he could not have – the illusion of safety that being so controlling gave to him, while not suffering from the physical pain of being so controlling.

After practicing inner work, Ron finally saw that being loving to himself by letting himself experience his laughter and tears did not cause weakness, nor did it bring about the rejection and engulfment he feared. In fact, by being more aware of his feelings and allowing himself to express them, Ron learned that he actually felt safer, more powerful, and far more alive and passionate about his life than when trying to control everything.