#ChronicChristmas Day 16: Prepare for Stressful People

We all have them. This family member or acquaintance who tests our ability to stay calm and enjoy the holidays.

Likely said person only have our best interests in mind. Of course, it’s also possible that they are profoundly self-absorbed. Motivation doesn’t really count, what matters is that we end up pinned in a corner, listening to someone yet again suggesting the miracle cure they've heard about at the hairdresser, tried for a chronic case of hangnails, or read about on the Internet.

Mentally (or actually) rolling your eyes may feel better temporarily, but it doesn’t get you out of that corner. Spend some time before the event to think about how you’ll deal with the situation. For instance, you could work on a pithy reply:

“I really appreciate you thinking of me, but my doctor and I are confident in our treatment choice.”

 “I don’t think your hairdresser knows what [insert name of chronic illness here] is, so I prepared a factsheet for them.” (Hand over factsheet)

“I tried that and got a terrible case of the farts and boy, did they stink! Did I tell you about the time when I was in the grocery store and couldn’t hold them in? No? Boy, are you in for a treat!” (Engage in long-winded, detailed, and possibly gross story that you’ve made up especially for the occasion)

Another way to deal with the pin-in-the-corner auntie is to ahead of time plan an exit strategy with a sympathetic member of the family. Establish a signal, and ask them to keep an eye out for you, and then gracefully extricate you from that corner.

What would you do if you were pinned by a well-meaning acquaintance or family member?

#ChronicChristmas is an Advent calendar of tips for a sane holiday season with a chronic illness. Check back tomorrow for the next tip. To see all the posts in the series, click the #ChronicChristmas label below this post.


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