The Basics of Transactional Analysis: Understanding the Three Ego States II
Everybody is looking forward to the holiday season because it means spending time with our loved ones. But the same thing - time with our loved ones - often becomes a challenging discipline during the holidays. In sociology, we enjoy researching relationships. What we find even more interesting and important is the process of turning the knowledge into practice, which is my true ambition in psychotherapy. So this time no summary of love research, but straightforward practice. Below you will find three simple techniques for happier interpersonal relationships, which we think can be used not only during Christmas but all year long.
Look for the good.
No one is perfect, and especially with loved ones, we tend to notice mainly their mistakes and bad habits. Try to turn your perspective on the holidays and be nice to others in your own head.
Mom's exaggerated care is actually an expression of love.
Dad's embarrassing jokes are an attempt to captivate and please.
Another lifestyle is not necessarily bad.
And most importantly, everyone has great qualities and skills that you can notice again at Christmas like this - and you need to say them out loud. Thinking and talking positively will probably make it easier for you to live. In my psychotherapeutic direction, we see relationships as a system. When a change happens on one side, the other side must respond to it. So the more positivity you give, the more you get in return.
A complaint is not a request for a solution.
Every family has at least one member who sees everything in negative colors and likes to share their afflictions. Our natural response to complaints is to help the complainant with advice or to draw his attention to the positive aspects of his life. This usually does not lead to thanks, but to further complaints and (mutual) frustration. What would be a more effective response is to simply agree with the complainant (at least in something - and without irony). Here's a small example:
A: "The year 2020 was worthless, for me personally one problem after another."
B: "You're right, you really were quite unlucky this year."
A: "And not just this year. It's already drawn some time. "
B:" When you say it like that, I can actually realize it's been longer than that. "
For special effects, you can try to insert more praise:
B: "When you say it like that, I also realize that it's taking longer. But the fact of respect that, despite all the obstacles, you managed to finish school in the autumn. "
Choose your fights.
Some people sometimes see the holidays as an ideal opportunity to provoke conflict. When something like this approaches you, remember that getting involved in a conflict is a decision. And you can refuse this offer. For example, simply by saying, “This is an important topic, but I don't want to discuss it now. Let's go back to this after the holidays.” Repeat it a few times if necessary.
Author: Markéta Šetinová
As a psychotherapist and sociologist, Marketa helps people to find and enjoy relationships. She specializes mainly in working with singles and millennials. More about her work here.