(NEWS CENTER) -- With the holiday season fast approaching, some of you may be starting to worry about seeing and dealing with certain family members. Today, licensed family and marriage therapist Jack Burke stopped by to give us the first in a series of tips on how to survive the holidays. Here's what he has to say:
Human beings are predictable. We learn roles to play in our families. As adults those roles are a default setting that we go to under stress or tension.
The higher the tension the more we'll act out our role.
There's 4 basic roles…
Being good, heroic: the martyr
Angry, fault finding: the blamer
Invisible, indifferent: the withdrawer
Distracter, comedian: the mascot
so to begin learning…
1. Have some fun with your partner. See if you agree on how you see each other behave under stress. Can you predict your partner.
2. When you are experiencing stress, name the tension. What is it? Is it being late or fear of the other being upset if we are late? Or do we fear some other consequence?
3. Lose the word "Why," as in, "Why do you feel this way?" It doesn't help. It can lead to long winded useless answers. Stay with the word "What," as in, "What is this about or what is making you feel this way?" We learn much more with this question.
Two books Jack Burke recommends you take a look at if you're interested in learning more are:
The New Peoplemaking by Virginia Satir and Adult Children of Alcoholics by Janet Woititz.