Relationships

How to Mend Your Emotional Safety Net

Family conflict often surges during holiday get-togethers. If you have ADHD, that stress can trigger emotional dysregulation and RSD. Securing emotional support from your partner is essential, but sometimes complicated. These tips will help.

A group of adults holds a safety net

Q: “I need more emotional support from my husband during the holiday season. He’s so busy with his extended family that he forgets about my needs. What can I do?”

Emotional support is a prerequisite to stressful social gatherings, especially ones where family conflict is expected. Securing it is a multi-step process that looks like this:

Emotional Support 101: How to Handle Family Conflict at the Holidays

Take time to have an honest conversation with your partner in advance. Ask each other: “What can I do to help you feel safe and at ease during the holiday season?”

Then, get practical with planning . . .

Decide on a hand signal or code word you can use when feeling stressed around extended family. This way, your ally can cover for you when you need to take a break.

[Read: ADHD Communication Problems Hurting Your Marriage]

When you’re in the thick of it . . .

Try not to take your frustrations out on your support person. Say: “I’m not mad at you. I’m frustrated with the situation.”

And remember . . .

Your support person does not need to be a spouse; it can be a sibling or favorite cousin. Identifying a reliable ally before family events can help to make the holiday season a happy one.

Emotional Support for Family Conflict: Next Steps

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