THE BLOG
12/23/2014 04:53 pm ET Updated Feb 22, 2015

13 Steps to Combating a Challenging Family Member

According to a recent survey performed by Greenberg Research:

People in the United States are more likely to feel their stress increases rather than decreases during the holidays. The holidays can be a hectic time for many, and a lack of money, a lack of time, and the hype and commercialism of the season causes increased stress for people in this country.

With this, most of us can probably say that we've had to tolerate family members, or people, who are just downright unpleasant at times, and certainly these types of behaviors tend to heighten around the holidays. Perhaps learning to equip ourselves in the best way we can to combat such unpleasant types of behavior may be useful for all of us this time of the year!

In recent blog posts, I have written about reading with my child and the benefits that have resulted in this enriching experience. While I am continuing with this effort, I have come across a fantastic book I find myself referring to more often than not sometime. "I-Ville to You-ville" by Mersine Vigopoulou has helped me to relate to some of the unpleasant folks I have come in contact with in the past.

In this book, the author brilliantly describes the differences between the people who live in two different Kingdoms, referred to as I-Ville and You-ville. I-ville is the Kingdom known as a place where people's pride and selfishness dwell, and where these people live by the motto "Me first!" The more popular kingdom of You-ville describes a land of where humility and kindness have their home, and where people put the good of others before their own.

While not everyone in this world lives in the Kingdom of You-ville, another general rule I've found useful in resolving or avoiding conflict is the simple golden rule of "One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself," rather than the adverse silver rule of "One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated."

In my book, S.W.A.K., a novel of ultimate betrayal, the character of Lauren is confronted with the ultimate challenging family member -- her very own mother, and, she is faced with making the ultimate choice, to tolerate this extremely unpleasant behavior, or to break free completely! It's a best-selling read if you are interested in receiving a dose of inspiration over the holidays! It just may make your holiday family drama feel much less intolerable!

13 steps to combating the challenging family member:

1. Call a good friend and tell them how much you appreciate them.

2. Tune out the unpleasant, literally! Blast the music and dance to your favorite song, even if it's the front seat of your car!

3. Watch something that makes you smile and laugh.

4. Give to someone who needs help, make a charitable donation or deliver a gift to a homeless shelter -- the good always comes back around.

5. Make a new friend and reach out to an old one.

6. Get in a good workout -- run an extra mile!

7. Try a yoga class, it may help you to become more mindful and tolerable towards inconsiderate people

8. Bake something new and delicious.

9. Lessen communication with the unpleasant and do not make yourself available when they call.

10. Update your phone's address book to read, i.e., "Jane (from I-ville)," as a reminder when they call so their negativity doesn't catch you off-guard.

11. Set a goal to complete a project and make it productive and successful.

12. Pick up a new book or a magazine and channel your energy into good news.

13. Remind yourself that it's about them and not about you! Be the best you can be and don't let them get the best of you, after all they probably live in that kingdom known as I-ville.