We Need To Talk with Kris Godinez

11-20-2022 Surviving the Holidaze
In this episode of We Need To Talk With Kris Godinez, Kris discusses strategies for dealing with toxic family during the holidays.

Hello and welcome to We Need To Talk with Kris Godinez podcast. I’m your host Kris Godinez, licensed professional counselor. I help people get out of, and stay out of, toxic relationships. This podcast is for informational and educational purposes only the views and opinions stated herein are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the ACA, the APA or any other therapist for that matter.

I want to thank my sponsor betterhelp.com. They are an online therapy company. Whether you are in the US or international. They will set you up with a qualified licensed therapist. PhD level or Master’s level. If you are interested in more information, go to betterhelp.com/krisgodinez.

Okay, so much to talk about. So, I got to get together with Susanna Quintana because I got something up my sleeve. And I think it’s going to be fun. So, um, I want to thank all of the people that came out to Atlanta to do the meet and greet. I had so much fun with you guys, and I love talking to you. It was awesome. And while we were sitting around, the participants were like, we want you to do another cruise. And I’m like, Whoa. And then I thought, well, why don’t we do a like a retreat? And then we started talking about Key West. And then I looked at the prices, and I went, you know what, it’s actually cheaper to do a cruise than it is to do a three-day retreat. So, I know, isn’t that weird? It’s just weird. Um, so we’re going to be looking into doing a three-day cruise next December, I’m going to see if I can talk Susana into coming with me again. That would be so much fun. So, um, so next December, not this December, but December 2023. So, I’ll get a hold of the cruise line and figure out all the details. And we will start posting that as soon as, as soon as I get details, I will give you details. That would be great.

So now we’re diving into current events. And this current event is a very upsetting current event. There have been two incidences in Phoenix over this last week. And both of them are heinous. And okay, so the first one happened this later, earlier this last week. So, Jasen Hudgens decided to kill his wife and his three children because his wife wanted to divorce him. So, people knew that there had been problems in the marriage, the family and friends were like, oh, you know, we can’t we didn’t see any signs. We didn’t think that he would be dangerous, etc., etc., etc. So let me be clear, there were signs people just don’t know what to look for. And because Marla Hodgens was not exhibiting, you know, distress or fearful or anything like that. The people weren’t catching a clue. Does that make sense? So, you know, and they were like, oh, but she was so calm, and she said, everything was fine. Well, that’s what targets of abuse do. We tell everybody? It’s fine. Oh, no, it’s fine. And we minimize. Oh, no, it’s not that bad. Oh, no, it’s not it uh, and then it really is that bad. So, this person, and I use the term loosely, Jason Hudgens decided to when he found out she wanted to leave him, and they had three children. There were two twins, six months old, two little girls, and a boy. Okay, she had to do fertility stuff to get the kids she all she ever wanted to be was a mom, and all she ever wanted to be among these children were her life. She was so happy to be a mom and to have these kids. So, when he killed them, he killed the children. And everybody’s like, why would he kill the children? Well, if he’s an abuser, you know if he is as bad as I think he is, he’s going to do something to terrify his wife before he killed her. So, he killed the children. He killed her. He turned on the gas in the house. He disconnected a gas appliance let the gas just fill up the house. He also turned on propane tanks fully intending after killing himself to have the house blow up. That takes malice aforethought guys that takes premeditation that is not an impulsive act. That is not something that just oops, I decided to blow the house up. No. This is something this person thought about for months guaran-freakin-tee  it! Take that to the bank, pattern of behavior. When these dark triads when these murderers killed their victim. This is not an act of passion, okay?

And here’s something that really pissed me off is that I was as I was researching this, this event isn’t one of his friends’ coworkers, decided to go on one of the new stations and smear the victim and do victim blaming. And here’s the interesting thing. And boy, howdy you guys better pay attention to this; This guy refused to have his name published and hid his voice and you couldn’t see him. So, what does that tell you? Because the only people that smear the victim, and do it anonymously are flying monkeys and cowards, and usually disordered themselves, oh, well, he was a great guy to me, he never did. But you know, she must have done something to really get him to do something that bad. Committing filicide, is… no sane parent would do that no-good parent would ever kill her own child to get back at a spouse. No good parent would ever do that. And I’m sorry, I don’t care if she threatened to drag him through court. I don’t care if she threatened to leave him bankrupt. I don’t care if she threatened to ruin his good name or whatever was going on. There is never an excuse for killing your own children. Let me just be 110% clear about that. I have absolutely zero sympathy for him. 100% Sympathy for Marla and the kids. And whoever this friend was is a coward because they wouldn’t have their name out there. They wouldn’t be seen, and they hid their voice that tells me everything I need to know about that source. Okay, that was incident number one.

Everybody was like, Well, why, why, why? Why would he kill the children because he wanted to hurt her as much as he possibly could. Before he killed her. Healthy normal people do not commit filicide. They do not kill their own children. They do. God, you do everything you can to protect your child. That is that’s the whole point of being a parent. It’s like, you know, kid comes first. Divorce happens. kid comes first. Well-being of the child comes first. But when you’re dealing with somebody who is not normal. Their ego comes first. And they’re Me, me, me, I, more and they will kill harm, hurt maim whoever they need to keep that ego safe.

So, the house was filled up with gas. And you want to know who found the bodies? A teenage babysitter. A teenager walked into this house, saw the bodies freaked out, smelled gas ran outside called the cops. First Responders then had to come in. They were traumatized. The teenager is going to need therapy for sure. Do you think this jackass cared one whit about the damage that he’s done not just to his kids, not just to his wife, but to the people that had to find them? That is selfishness to the nth degree that is arrogance to the nth degree. How dare he? How dare he!

And now we’ve had a second incident. Same situation, domestic violence. There’d been previous domestic violence calls. Now I don’t know if there was previous domestic violence calls on this one. But there were previous domestic violence calls. There was one inch in Queen Creek, Chandler Queen Creek. And he showed up unannounced at the house. And he shot the two kids. The kids are in stable condition. Thank God! I do not know what their injuries are. And I do not know if it’s life-altering injuries if he shot them in, you know, vital areas. These kids are going to need help for the rest of their lives. The mom got away. She wasn’t harmed. He then killed himself. They’re dangerous guys. I can’t stress enough if you are divorcing a narcissist, if you are divorcing, especially a dark triad, do not minimize what they say, and do take their threats seriously! I kid you not.

Because they are crazy in that now, let me just be very clear. They are crazy in that their ego comes first, and they will do whatever it needs to feed the ego to make the ego okay. They are not crazy legally. Let’s just be clear that because in a legal definition, you need to know the difference. You need to not know the difference between right and wrong to be declared legally insane. You cannot tell the difference between right and wrong. So, Jared Loughner, who shot Gabby Giffords, he couldn’t tell the difference between right and wrong. He was so delusional he couldn’t tell. This guy, this other guy. They planned this out. They absolutely knew it was right or wrong. They knew right and wrong.

Kris Godinez  09:46

They knew what they were doing to go through the house, unplug an appliance and fill the house with gas and then open up all of the valves. Come on. They knew what they were doing, and they knew what would happen, and they didn’t give a flying rat’s ass. What would happen to the neighbors or to that teenage babysitter walking into the house. In fact, he probably felt the more people I can kill, the better because that’s what they do. If they’re going to go out, they don’t want to go out alone. They want to take as many people with them as they possibly can.

So basically, when you watch the news, when you see news reports, when you hear Flying Monkeys coming to the defense of the indefensible, there’s no excuse. I don’t care what she was doing. There was no excuse to shoot two six-month-olds, and a three-year-old. No excuse, none, zip, zero, zilch, nada. That person was clearly a flying monkey. Clearly, if they’re unwilling to give their name. If they’re a coward enough, they’re going to smear this woman and say, it was something she did to deserve this. If I could flip off the camera right now, I would; let me just be clear. So boy, there are times when I wish I could swear because I would be swearing up a blue streak right now.

So anyway, that is the current event. And what concerns me, again, is the lack of education. So, all of the family and friends, not just his friends, but her friends as well. They were like she gave no indication; she didn’t tell us how bad it was. She didn’t say anything. There were no warning signs. Well, again, you’ve got to understand when somebody is being abused, we minimize. Oh, it’s not that bad. Oh, other people have it worse. Oh, I’ll be okay. Oh, we’ll be all right. I don’t want to worry you; I don’t want to be a burden. Dear God. If somebody Okay, so basically, here’s the thing. If somebody is divorcing somebody, they’re not doing it with three small little children. They’re not doing it for no reasons. That should have been an alert right there that should have been like, okay, something’s up, something’s going on really bad for this woman to want to leave a marriage when she’s got two six months old, and a three-year-old that, the family and friends should have been rallying. And asking a bunch of questions regardless, you know, and getting her support and getting her help. But again, if they’re minimizing, if they’re, you know, and that’s what we do, that is what we do. But what I’m saying is, is that, in order for a woman to leave a marriage with small children like that, there is something serious going on. Absolutely. 110%. People don’t just leave a marriage with small children for no apparent reason. And that’s basically what the friends were saying there was like, well, there, we didn’t see anything we didn’t. Education, guys, education, education, education, I swear to God, people need to know the red flags; people need to know how targets of abuse act; this is what happened with Gabby Petito.

So again, she was upset and crying and, you know, sobbing and it’s me, it’s me, it’s me when it was Brian Landrie that was the abuser. So again, people need to look for how targets of abuse respond to abuse; they don’t respond the way you think they’re going to respond. They don’t, and we need to teach people this; we need to teach people how they act when they’re in a situation like that. And if you know somebody who is getting divorced, and they’ve got small little ones, you better be asking the questions. Are you okay? What is going on? You know, how can I help? What support do you need, you know, that kind of thing. Now, granted, this woman was a lawyer, and she’s probably seen it had seen it all, you know, and lawyers have a tendency to play their cards close to their chest, which is great in court, but it’s not great if you’re dealing with an intimate partner violence situation.

So, again, I share these videos with as many people as you can, get the podcast out to people, send them to Kim Saeed, send them to Shahida Arabi send them to Susanna Quintana. We need to educate as many people as possible because people are just not getting it. They’re not seeing the warning signs; they’re not seeing the red flags, they’re not seeing the danger. And when you’re dealing with a dark triad, if somebody is narcissistic, a psychopath, and a control freak, so they’re narcissistic, it’s all about them. They’re a psychopath rules don’t apply to them. They can do whatever they want. They really truly believe that. And they’re a control freak. You can’t leave me. You can all make sure you can’t leave me I’m going to control you. I’m going to keep you from leaving me all. I’ll do this to you. I’ll do that to you. That’s what both of these guys did. Because they couldn’t stand the fact that their target of abuse got away from them and what are they going to go after the people that the target of abuse love the most, which is their children, and in other cases, their pets. So, educate, educate, educate, educate, educate, educate, there is that is the current event I wanted to talk about it. This was intentional. This was premeditated. This was absolutely planned out and thought out well, and this was absolutely with the intention of the house blowing up probably when the babysitter walked in. So yeah, educate, educate, educate, educate, educate. Okay, sorry, there’s my rant.

Alright, so today we need to talk about the holidays and how to survive the holidays, any holiday but specifically Thanksgiving and Christmas because apparently Christmas falls on a Sunday. So, I won’t be doing a show on that Sunday. But, um, so basically, when we have to go deal with toxic family, the best suggestion, honest to God, is if you can don’t go, seriously, you owe them nothing, and oh my god, Kim yesterday told me the greatest saying she’s like, instead of just fog, it’s BS fog. And I looked at her, I was like, BS fog. And she’s like blame, shame, fear, obligation, guilt, and I went, I am so stealing that. So yeah, it’s BS Fog blame, shame, fear, obligation, and guilt. And that’s what they use to trick us into going to a family function, going to Thanksgiving, going to Christmas, you know, whatever. And don’t fall for it. You owe these people nothing, you do not owe them anything, seriously. So, the other thing that we were talking about, is, along with, you know, the guilt trip of making you go to a family function, they also do this whole thing about, oh, well, everybody’s going to do a gift. Okay, not everybody can afford even $25 gift or 25 per person, if you’ve got a huge extended family. Uh,uh, what I seriously suggest is if they’re insisting on some sort of gift, you say, okay, great, I’m going to donate in the family’s name to this particular charity; tell me what charity you want me to donate to? You know, and I’m that covers the whole family, and I’m not doing anymore, and you’ve got to stick to your, to your guns, you’ve got to really stick to your boundaries, because they’ll try to push it, they’ll try to be like, Oh, we’re going to do a white elephant or oh, we’re going to do no, ah, we know, you don’t have to, you seriously don’t have to, you can opt-out, you can say no. Or you can say I’ll donate to this charity or tell me what charity you want me to donate to, or whatever. So, I mean, I would much rather have somebody donate to a charity in my name than to buy me something that they can’t afford; I don’t want, you know what I’m saying it’s like, do something that’s going to help the world, you know what I mean? Or if you don’t want to do it, if you can’t afford it, you just hey I cannot afford this. I’m sorry. It’s that’s not happening. Sorry. And you hold your guns. So okay, I want to go through the holiday survival tips.

Kris Godinez  17:45

So, one of the main things that comes up when people end up having to go home for the holidays is that they revert, we revert, we go back to how we were in childhood. And literally, it doesn’t take very long. So literally, it can be like you’re there for two days. And then all of a sudden, you’re a seven-year-old, again, where you’re there for three days, and all of a sudden, you’re a seven-year-old again. So, you want to set a time limit. And this includes if you’re just going over for dinner. So here are some of the suggestions that I wanted to go over.

Set realistic expectations. We tend to expect more of ourselves and others and especially if we are dealing with inner child stuff, if we are dealing with that, you know, inner child desire to have the perfect Christmas, the perfect Thanksgiving, the perfect, you know, family thing. And I know that a lot of us have gone through that and continue to go through that. And it is because of the inner child stuff, wanting that perfect holiday wanting that perfect, you know, Christmas wanting the… wanting the parents to be parents wanting the cousins to be loving, wanting the siblings to be kind and civil, like, you know, like a real sister, a real brother. But the truth of the matter is, if they haven’t gotten help, if they haven’t worked on themselves, if they’re still doing the same crazy dance, they’re going to still be doing the crazy dance at Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, you got to set realistic expectations. And then the next thing you have to ask yourself is how long do you want to spend with them? Really, truly, it’s like if okay, you’ve set the realistic expectation, you know, you can’t handle them for more than a dinner, or you can’t handle them for more than a day or two. Set that boundary. You know, I’m coming in Wednesday night, I’m leaving Friday morning, you know, or whatever, whatever your boundary is set it. So, you know, John and I have kind of a built-in when we had Scotty, we had a built-in excuse we would always say oh, we got to let the dog out. We didn’t need to let the dog out; the dog was fine. But know that, so it was like, oh, no, we got to go take care of the dog. Got to go take the dog for a walk. Got to you know, we got to leave you know, or what we would do is we would be Low in have pie, spend it, you know the major dinner with somebody else, have pie with the family that was toxic, and then leave quickly. So really, you come up with things to do so, and sometimes what people will tell me or what they’ll be afraid of is they’ll be like, oh, but again, how old are you? But it’s a lie. It’s, you know, da, da, da… Look guys self-preservation, if you have to make a white lie to get out of dealing with toxic Aunt Bertha, then do it, you’re, you owe them nothing. Nothing, you owe them nothing. And they’ll try to make you feel like you owe them, but you do, not you do not.

Okay, hold on, I want to get back to the tips. Hang on. Okay, and this is from Andre associates. How to enjoy the holidays, even with toxic relatives, know your limits. So, know how long you can handle it know how long you can stay, and discuss the possibilities and responsibilities with your partner. It’s like, okay, well, what are we willing to put up with? What are we not willing to put up with? How long can we stay? You know, how? How much of a conversation that’s not healthy? Can we deal with, you know, that kind of thing.

Deflect and diffuse. So uncomfortable subjects will be brought up by toxic family members, you can guarantee it one of the top ones that couples have to deal with is when are you having the baby? When are you going to be pregnant? When are you going to give? When are you going to give us grandchildren? That’s what’s something that John and I had to deal with in our early marriage all the time. And so, I would just be a smartass and be like, well, you have grandchildren, they’re furry, and they bark and meow you know, and that usually people would laugh, and the conversation would go on. Or the other thing you can say is if you don’t want to be a smart aleck, is that you can say, you know what, when that happens, you’ll be the first to know, what can they say to that? Nothing. And of course, if you’ve chosen not to have children, that will never happen. So, if they bring up, say, for example, politics, you know, or religion, and we even talked a little bit about this last week, if they bring up a topic, you don’t want to be a part of excuse yourself and go to the bathroom. You know, excuse yourself and go get a cup of coffee, excuse yourself and go to the kitchen, excuse yourself and leave. You don’t have to stick around. You don’t you know? You just don’t. You don’t owe them your opinion. You know, you don’t have to say anything. You’re under no obligation because, trust me in toxic families, anything you say, can and will be used against you. Trust me on that one. So, you want to keep it surface-level. Hey, how about them Dodgers? You know, seriously, you just want to keep it surface level. That type of thing. Okay, so back to how to enjoy the holidays, and remain an adult. It is not uncommon common to regress to old childhood patterns. When you spend time with your family of origin. Negative emotions will surface try to be aware of this tendency if you catch yourself slipping back into those childhood roles. That’s a really great time to just go outside and get some fresh air. And really kind of go okay, how old am I right now? Okay, there you go. It’s, like I said, it’s very common for us to slip into the rolls, you know, and you don’t want to do that you don’t. So gentle with you gentle with you.

So, leading up to Thanksgiving. So here we are on Sunday. So, Thanksgiving will be Thursday; it would probably be a really good idea to kind of have a chat with your inner child; I kid you not. It’s like if you have to go be with toxic family members. Have a chat with your inner child. Okay, little one, we’re going to go home. But here’s the deal. You don’t have to say anything; you don’t owe them an explanation. You don’t have to defend yourself because it’s usually how we find ourselves being with toxic family members, as they say something just outrageously stupid or outrageously ridiculous or rude or whatever. And then we find ourselves engaging, do not engage, don’t do it. It won’t do any good. It won’t do any good. They literally know is not the time to point out to them that they are toxic, disordered, egotistical, arrogant; whatever the issue is, now is not the time now is not the time never is going to be the time they’re not going to hear you, there is no there, there for them to enact a change. If they’re not getting therapy, if they’re not working on themselves. If they’re personality disordered. They’re not going to change. Let’s be clear and bringing it up when your home is not going to do any good. All it’s going to do is give them fuel for the fire to use against you at the dinner table with other family members, etc., etc., etc. Don’t do it. And again, I think the reason why we do things like that is because our inner child flares up, and it’s just like but, but you got to work with that kid, you got to work with that little one, you got to love that little one and reassure that little one and just make sure the little one understands. Okay, little me, adult me has to be in charge here, not you; let adult me take care of you. And so, you work with that. So seriously, do some work on the inner child workbook, whether it’s the Katherine Taylor one, or whether it’s the Lucia Cappacchione. So, seriously, you’re going to have to have a little chat with your little inner self before you go to dinner and a pep talk, mirror work. Hi, good to see you have a great day; guess what? You don’t owe anybody an explanation. You don’t need to engage with anyone you don’t want to. Have a good day! Love you! Bye. And then you walk out, you know, remind yourself of that. Have a signal that you and your partner, if you’re going with your spouse or boyfriend, can tell each other, letting the other one know it’s time to go. So, for me and John, it was oh, we got to go hunt. It’s really, you know, we got to let the dog out of the out of the kennel. That was his clue that I’d had enough. And it was time to leave, you know, and so he would do the same thing for me. If he’d had enough and it was time to leave. So yeah, absolutely. And then that way, you know, they don’t know. So, there’s that. Okay, hold on back to how to enjoy that.

Okay, increase your care. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by difficult family members. Oh, dear God, when you’re depleted. So, make sure that you’re getting enough sleep, you’re getting enough water, you’re eating as healthfully as you can, go for a walk, clear your head, you know, that whole thing, avoid, avoid alcohol and sweets, it’s only going to make you feel worse, which is very much true.

Kris Godinez  26:52

And you got to remember, abusive families, toxic families, love to keep people up, love to wear them down. You know, honestly, if you, if you don’t have to stay in the house with them, go stay at a hotel, seriously, or an Airbnb or something, you don’t you don’t have to stay with them. So, and then that would give you a break, too, because it’s like you’re away from them. And you know, oh, yeah, well, you know, got to take a shower, we’ll be over in 45 minutes, you know, or whatever, even though you’re ready to go, you know. So, give yourself a break. Again, you don’t have to tell them everything. And I honestly find a lot of people new to recovery is that they overshare. And they over-tell their plans with their toxic family. And it’s like, you don’t need to tell them anything. You just tell them, you know, you’re staying at a hotel, you don’t get a hotel, stay at a hotel. And yes, they’ll piss and whine and moan and everything else. Oh, well, you know, you have the right to handle your own accommodations. So anyway, there’s that, okay, here’s another one on.

Okay. All right, keep your routine as regular as possible. Because changes in routine, and especially if we come from families that are toxic, or alcoholic, or both. Changes in routine can be very upsetting. It throws us off. It does. And honestly, that’s kind of how the toxic families want it so that you’re thrown off. So, try to stick to your routine as much as possible. So, if you normally get up and go take a walk, get up and go take a walk. If you normally do meditation in the morning, do meditation in the morning, it’s like try to stick as close to your routine as possible so that you’re not off kilter, so that you’re grounded so that when toxic family members do come at you, you can be like, No, thank you, I’m not going to engage in that conversation or think I’m going to go get another cup of coffee, and then you get out of the situation. You have the right to walk away; you have the right to walk away. Absolutely. Okay, hold on. Um, okay.

Okay, think moderation. Don’t drink too much. I think we’ve talked about that. Because sometimes, and this is another, this is another mistake that the newly initiated into recovery do from toxic families, is they go home, and this soon as the toxic family members start, they reach for the alcohol. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. And especially if you are also trying to tackle addiction issues. Don’t do it. It’s not going to help. I mean, it’s going to numb you. Yes. But it’s going to create more problems. So, the better thing to do is if it’s getting to the point where you’re wanting to use because you just can’t frickin stand them, leave, have an upset stomach and leave seriously. It’s like, you know, oh, I’ll come over tomorrow morning or whatever. So, leave, leave, leave. You don’t have to numb yourself just because they’re being obnoxious. You know, and then the question is, what are they doing that’s triggering you so badly that you had to reach for that alcohol or drug of choice or whatever it’s like, no. And you know, and that’s the big thing. If you are in recovery from drugs and alcohol, don’t even go, don’t even go. If you’re… if you’re new to recovery and from drugs and alcohol, don’t even go. Don’t do it. Save yourself.

Because this time of year is when people relapse with good reason. I mean, it’s like you’re dealing with incredibly toxic people. So yeah, so just if you’re new to recovery from drugs, and alcohol, don’t even go. Create your own family tradition, create your own tradition, and go do something for you! Go hang out with friends, go volunteer, go work at a food bank, go get out of your head and do something else. That would be the best suggestion. So, if they’re toxic, and you think you’re going to use because of them, don’t even go. Don’t even go Okay, hang on. Um, all right, hey, I will get to the questions, hold on.

Be Real, Be realistic. Don’t expect them to change. Don’t expect them to be different. Stay connected to healthy family or friends. Do a reality check. Get some grounding, get support. Don’t forget to ask for help. So, remember, not asking for help is a trauma response. So, if you’re with the family, and they’re being cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, and you’re like, oh, my God, you know, feel free to step outside and call a friend and just go, you will not believe what Aunt Bertha just pulled and then your friends going to go? Oh, my God, oh, no, you’re totally right. Girls, ground yourself. You’ll be fine. You know what I’m saying? That’s what friends are for. Friends are there to support you, or the friend will be like, Okay, here’s the plan. I’m going to call you in 15 minutes, and it’s going to be an emergency. There’s your excuse. Do you see where I’m going with that? So yeah, you want to you want to take care of yourself. You want to make sure you have friends, healthy friends, and family that you can call and talk to? You don’t have to be alone if you don’t want to volunteer, spending holidays, soup, kitchen, food, pantry, children’s home, elderly homes, etc. I mean, you can volunteer, you can go do something else.

Focus on today. Not yesterday. You have the right to say no. So, if they’re trying to make you do all the cooking, or they’re trying to make you do the hosting, or it’s too much, you can say no, they’re not going to like it. But oh, well, you know, you have the right to say no, if you don’t want to do all the cooking, don’t do all the cooking, if they’re trying to make you, you know, pay for a bunch of stuff. You don’t have to. You can say no. Ask for help. Asking for help, you know, emotional support exactly, you know, etc. That’s what you need to do. Be good to yourself, be so gentle with you. That is the most important thing is because we tend to beat ourselves up, we tend to internalize when the holidays are not going well, because we think somehow this is a little kid inside of us that it was something we said, or we did. And it’s not I just want to be very clear.

Now. This next article is from taps. And I can’t make that bigger. Can I make that bigger because I don’t know who that is a tragedy assistance program for survivors. Okay, now this is for people grieving. So, the holidays are incredibly difficult when we are grieving. And that could be the loss of a person, a pet, a job, you know, losing a relationship that we thought was real, any of that. So, make plans, you know, make sure that you are surrounded by support. Choose your company wisely. So, if you are newly out of an abusive relationship, going into a toxic family situation may not be a good thing. So especially if they’re going to want to ask a lot of questions. Well, why aren’t you together?  They’re being nosy parkers? You don’t need to answer that. If somebody asked me something that is too intensely personal, I’ll just look at them. And I’ll be like, wow, thank you for asking. And then I just let that really uncomfortable silence just sit there. So, it’s kind of like I’m not answering that. Or the other thing you can do again if you don’t want to be a smart aleck because I tend to be a smart aleck. The other thing you can do is you can say it’s too fresh. It’s too raw. I’m not going to talk about that. You have the right to say that again. They’re going to push, but you don’t have to answer it. So just remember that, okay, hold on.

Let me get to the other ones. Find support, seek spiritual comfort, whatever your spiritual belief is, you know, find comfort in your community. Honor, Your grief. I think that is the big thing because remember when we were talking about complicated grief; people have a tendency to be like, you know, I’m going to shove it under the rug and make it go away, and no, no, honor your grief. If you are newly broken up from an abuser, you’re going to be grieving, let’s be clear, and the holidays are hard. Because this is the time of year when they have traditionally done the love bombing done the, you know, oh, you know, romantic Christmas or whatever, you know, and or this is when they’ve dumped you is around the holidays. So yeah, it’s going to be a little tender. So, honor that grief. Remember, if you’re out away from an abuser, this thing you fell in love with was an illusion, it wasn’t even real. So, treat it like a death. Treat it like a death, they are dead, they are dead. This was not real, they are dead. So that’s what you’re going to want to be doing. Okay, let’s see what other tips they had. Honor your grief, be patient with yourself seriously, you’re going to feel the feelings, that’s it’s just going to happen. You’re going to feel the feels. And again, if being with toxic family is not going to be supportive, don’t go! Be with people that are going to support you mentally, physically, emotionally and otherwise. Does that make sense? It’s like you want to be around friends like friends, not frenemies, not toxic family. You want to be around people that are going to support you and love you and be gentle with you and encourage you. That’s what you’re going to need at that point. Okay, let’s see, um, focus on your health. Don’t forget to ask for help engage in acts of service. That’s in every single one of these. That’s one of the main things they’ve said. Okay. All right. So let me get to.

Kris Godinez  36:44

All right. So basically, to recap, if you can avoid going with toxic family members for any holiday, avoid, do your own thing. And you don’t owe them an explanation. And I love the BS fog, the plain shame, fear, obligation, guilt, you know, that’s what they do. So, if you recognize that they’re pulling any of that, there’s your there’s, there’s your sign, there’s your clue, don’t go, don’t go, you know, because this is just a taste of what they’re going to pull when you get there. If you feel like you have to go limit your time, seriously, stay at a hotel, don’t stay with the family. If you have to stay with the family, then limit your time there, like overnight, or maybe two days. And before you go, have a really strong chat with your inner child. Love that little one, reassure that little one and let the inner child know that you’re the adult. Little One is the little one, you’re going to protect them, but they have to let you be the adult and deal with all of this. Don’t overshare! Don’t overshare because they’re going to try to get you to overshare don’t overshare You don’t owe them anything. Keep it surface-level. Don’t get too deep. If things get nasty, and you want to get out of there. We’ve you have the right to leave. Come up with an excuse, you know. So yeah, you don’t have to stay. Okay. I think that covers everything.

Let’s Oh, one other thing I wanted to talk about is somebody got kind of snarky with me last week because I answered two questions in the weekly question thing. I want to remind everybody, I run a full-time private practice. So, when I have time to do more questions, I do more questions. If I only have time to do two, I’m going to do two. So, one of the keys is meowing. So, I just want to let you know, it’s not that I’m being lazy. It’s that I literally don’t have time. So, I’ll answer as many questions as I can. If I only have time for two questions. I’m going to answer two questions. If I have time for more, I will do more.

So okay, let’s speaking of questions; let’s dive into other questions. Okay. Do narcs use the holiday as an opportunity to pick fights? Oh, my God. Yes. Yes. My late narc. Mom would always pick fights with me, and I stopped going back eventually. Oh my god. So, you’ve got to understand narcissists and borderlines if they are malignant; they view courts and Thanksgiving dinner, and Christmas as a captive audience. So, they will pick that time to ruin it. They’ll pick that time to ruin it. They love to ruin anything that’s not directly about them. Their ego gets very angry that this holiday is not about them. So yeah, they intentionally ruin birthdays, Christmas, New Year’s, Thanksgiving, anniversaries, whatever, because it’s not about them. And I will be writing a book about that after I finally finished the fourth book dear God. But I want to talk in the new book that I’m forming relating about how they do that kind of thing. So, it is also a little bit of that captive audience. Um, so if they’ve got a captive audience, that’s the time that they’ll pull something my dad would do that we would be sitting around the table, and he’ll decide he didn’t like my sass or he didn’t like that I wasn’t sassing him or geez, Louise. I was breathing wrong. And the next thing I know, I get backhanded for no reason. No reason, and then, of course, it would cause upset, and the whole family would be upset and, you know, having a fed and everything else, and he ruined the dinner. Um, so they will do the upset or the trauma because they’re drama kings, crisis queens. They love the upset. They love the drama they love. You know, they it’s like they stir the pot and then they sit back and go, ha, look what I did. Seriously. And so, they ruin holidays. They ruin birthdays. They ruin anniversaries. If it’s not directly about them, they will find a way to ruin it. Because they don’t feel joy. They don’t feel happy. They don’t. And so, what does Christmas and Thanksgiving do for most people? I frickin love the holidays. I love it. I love to cook. I love hanging out with friends. I love the food. I love the presents. I love hanging out in the, you know, Hallmark holiday stuff. I love it. Because I’m, you know, a hopeless romantic. So, you know, I mean, so it’s fun, but they don’t feel those feelings. And so, when somebody does that pisses them off so badly they can’t stand it that other people are having fun, and other people are enjoying, and other people are happy because they don’t feel they don’t feel the way we feel it. It pisses them off. And so, they’ve got to ruin it. So that’s why they pick fights; you betcha. Or, again, it’s that captive audience. Let’s let me just stir the pot and see what happens. Ha ha ha, look how powerful I am. I’ve ruined the dinner. I’m powerful. You know, that’s what they do. So yeah, they do that the bastages, anyway.

All right. Um, my birthday is the 21st Oh, happy birthday. My narc mom, who I had gone no contact with wants to send me gifts. Oh, boy. I’m worried she’s trying to weasel back in. How do I handle this situation? Okay, well, a true gift. I’ve said this before; I’m going to say it again. A true gift has no strings attached. So, if she’s sending you a gift, and it’s through the mail, okay, again, just a simple thank you. And that’s it. You know, she’s going to do what she’s going to do if she’s sending it through the mail. She’s going to send it through the mail. You know, I hope she doesn’t show up to your house. Again, you’re under no obligation to answer the door. You’re not. It’s like everybody seems to think that. You know, oh, they come to the door. I have to answer the door. Hail. No, that’s why I got the ring. Thank you very much. Because then I can look and see what it is. And I’m like, you know, it’s like, I don’t want to answer the door, especially if it’s a salesman. But anyway, the point being is that you don’t have to answer the door. If she sends you gifts in the mail. A simple thank you because that’s the civil thing to do. But then nothing else. And then if she starts with the whole, I bought you these gifts, blah, blah, blah. Well, they weren’t gifts, there were strings attached. So yeah, I mean, yes, they will. That’s a classic Hoover. That is a classic Hoover. Absolutely. And if you’ve been no contact, stay no contact as much as you can. And yeah, that she’s going to do what she’s going to do. She’s going to mail them through the mail. They’re going to show up, you know, so if they do, you send a very generic thank you, and that’s it, and you don’t do anything more, don’t call, don’t text. Don’t you know, just send a thank you card through the mail. If you can remove yourself as much as possible, the better so, but yes, they absolutely do that, and yes, she is trying to weasel her way back in. All right, how do you handle the situation? If she sends gifts, she sends gifts if she shows up, you don’t have to answer the door, you can pretend, you’re gone yeah, and just don’t feel guilty, no guilt, no guilt, no guilt! If the guilt pops up, thank you, guilt, that was a fascinating thought. I am not playing go pound sand go bye, bye now and push it out.  Because you don’t have to, you don’t have to feel guilty. You got nothing to get feel guilty about.

All right, um, how to deal with the smear campaign of you being the mean one because you are saying no. And choosing not to engage in the festivities. Isn’t that interesting how they flip the script? Yes. So okay, so here’s the deal. Saying no is not mean. Let’s be very clear, the only people who don’t like boundaries are those who are dedicated to crossing them. So, you just rise above and keep going. They’re going to say whatever they’re going to say. They’re going to do whatever they’re going to do. You cannot control that. Okay? What you can control is whether or not you take it personally.

Oh, don’t take things personally. That’s one of the ones I forgot to say. When you’re at the family dinner, don’t take things personally, they are literally going to throw whatever they have at the wall to see what sticks. Don’t take it personally. Don’t rise to the bait. You know, you don’t. It’s not about you. They’re… They’re just function is about them. It is not about you. Don’t take it personally. And now I’ve completely forgotten what that question was. Hold on. Oh, you’re mean because you’re saying no, no, you’re drawing boundaries. Uh, well, they don’t have to like it. They have to respect it. You know, seriously, you’re not going to like it. But you do get to respect it. And you just keep your boundary, and they’re not going to like it. Abusers don’t like boundaries. Abusers do not like boundaries with a healthy normal person or a healthy normal family. If a child says, hey, we’re going to go do our own things. Oh, shoot, I’m going to miss you. But have a great time.

Kris Godinez  46:33

There you go done. You know, no muss, no fuss, no drama. With an unhealthy family. Well, you’re mean, you’re not coming into the festivities, and you’re…..you, you, you, you the your guns are going. So, there’s the blame, the shame, the fear, the obligation, and guilt. Oh, Kim, thank you so much for that. I love that say, Bs fog. It’s BS fog. It’s BS fog. They’re giving you BS fog. So ah, no, you have the right to go do your own thing. And you’re not being mean. You’re having boundaries. This is what drives me crazy is when new couples get together, I see the controlling families tear the couples. I mean, John and I had to deal with that when we were newly married. It’s like his family wanted us to always go do things with them. My family wanted us to always go do things with them. And we finally just kind of went to both of them and just did our own thing. You know, we were just like this too much. Can’t cope, we’re leaving bye, and we just went and created our own stuff and did traveling and you know, things like that new things, which is really a great way to do it. You create your own traditions in which is the way it should be newly married couples, newly married, or newly minted couples, whether they’re married or not, should be allowed to create their own traditions, you know, with the full blessings of the family. But if the families are toxic, or if the families are dysfunctional, it’s going to be a battle for power and control with the couple as the prize, which to me just deserves slap therapy all the way around. So, you know what I’m saying? It’s like, so, yeah, so yep. Yeah, you’re not mean, and you just laugh, laugh, laugh, laugh because it’s a joke. It really is. You’re not the mean one. You’re drawing boundaries, and they don’t like it and who’s being immature? Well, it’s not you, it’s them. So don’t take it personally. They’re just trying to manipulate and control and like I said, dysfunctional families will throw whatever they got in the pot against the wall to see what’s going to stick.

So, if they think that you’re going to fall for the whole, well, you’re mean and you this and you that you, you, you and how dare you. Right, that’s what they’re going to throw. So, if you can just kind of laugh at it and go, wow, this is not about you. This is about them. Dear Lord, the more you’s there are going on, notice what you, you, you, you guys, okay, there’s two fingers pointed out at you. But there’s six fingers pointed out at the person who’s doing the accusing. Go figure. So, they’re talking about themselves? Because a healthy normal person would respect boundaries. No, and I mean it. No, and I’m not going to go, okay, if you need me to be the bad guy, then okay. You live with the story you need to do you know, and have a sense of humor about it? I think the problem of it is that we as targets of abuse, take things so personally because we’re so used to being blamed. And we’re so used to being put down and we’re so used to, you know, being codependent and taking it on internalizing it. Oh, you’re right. It’s my fault. Mea culpa. Mea, culpa. mea maxima culpa. No, it’s not your fault. You’ve got nothing to be guilty about. You’re drawing a boundary. It’s okay. It’s okay for you to draw a boundary. Are you being me? No, you’re just not wanting to deal with a bunch of cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. I don’t blame you. You know, isn’t not my idea of fun either.

So. Okay, hold on. Let’s get to the next question. I hope that answered the question. So, stick to your guns. This is just a manipulation. It’s just a manipulation. Okay. How do you handle PTSD flare-ups, when visiting family when they have recovered and gotten better? I know they aren’t the same as they were before, but I still have a hard time seeing them. Well, PTSD is whether PTSD is from, you know, like a life-threatening event or whether it’s CPTSD, a series of abusive events, flashbacks are going to happen. You know, those feelings are going to come back up, the panic attacks can happen, that kind of thing. I’m not quite sure I understand your question. How do you handle PTSD flare-ups, when visiting family when they have recovered and gotten better? So, I’m assuming it must have been like a life-threatening event? I know they aren’t the same as they were before. But I still have a hard time seeing them. I’m not sure if we’re dealing with an accident, or if we’re dealing with abuse. Oh, they’re no longer abusive. Ooh, that’s a tough one. Ooh, that’s a sticky wicket. Holy cow.

Let me, let me process that one for a second. Okay. So, they’re no longer abusive. You’re going to go see them. It creates a lot of anxiety, obviously. Do you have to go see them? Honestly, that would be kind of my first thing. It’s like, do you have to? And? Or do you want to even… there, there’s a question, is this a have to or a want to, you know, if you want to go see them, and you’re having some of those feelings, okay, well, then, then maybe that’s something worth going through with. But if you have to go see them, and you don’t really want to, that’s when you really kind of need to do a pro and con list. You really want to see them. Is this worth it? Is this going to be okay? Are you going to be okay? And I think that’s the main question. We all have to ask ourselves when we are dealing with family who has in the past been abusive. Let’s say they, they’re no longer abusive. Maybe they’ve worked on themselves; maybe they’ve gotten sober. Maybe they’ve, you know, whatever. But do you really want to see them? You know, and I think that’s kind of the question. Oh, and they want to maintain a relationship with your siblings. Okay, so Wow, that’s a tough one. So, what I would say is, if you don’t have a therapist, get a therapist; you’re going to need somebody to vent to like nobody’s business. My recommendation would be a talk therapist in conjunction with an EMDR therapist so that you can deal with the past. And you’re also dealing with the present and two different angles. Does that make sense? With the PTSD, your body, the body keeps score. Bessel van der Kolk great book. It is going to bring up body memories. Okay. Um, like, when I had to be around my dad, I’ll tell you what, I’ve got a startle response like nobody’s business because he was always hitting me. So just like a dog that’s been beat too much, you know, I have this tendency to, like, you know, expect a hand to come out me. So, it’s, it’s going to, it’s going to bring up physical responses, okay. The flashbacks are probably going to be there. That fear is probably going to be there. Again, if this happened, when you were smaller or younger, you’re going to want to work with the inner child and comfort them. You’re also going to want to have your boundaries up. It’s like, you know, if they’re no longer abusive, make sure they’re not crossing any other boundaries. You know, make sure that everything is cool, and they’re respecting you R E S P E, C T. That is the absolute highest thing you need to work on having other people respect you. If they don’t respect, you leave. You don’t need to…. You don’t hang around people that don’t respect you whether they’re family or not.

So, maintaining a relationship with the siblings. So, it can be… how do I explain this? Honor yourself, honor yourself acknowledge, don’t ignore it. Don’t be like, Oh, no, everything’s fine. Because fine in counselor’s language, fine stands up for effed up insecure, neurotic, and emotional. Okay. So, you don’t want to do that. I’m fine. I’m fine. Well, no, no. Honor that. Yes. I’m having these emotions. Yes. Like you know, keep a journal. Keep something you can write things out with. Comfort, that inner child comfort, comfort you that you got abused comfort, comfort, comfort, comfort, honor, respect yourself and listen to yourself. It’s like if it’s if it’s too much, take a break, go for a walk. Call your therapist. It’s like, that would be a good thing to do. So, if you want to stay in touch with the siblings, I understand why you’re doing it. That makes total sense. So, but just recognize that those thoughts and feelings are going to be there. It’s like when we go through abuse; it’s not like it just poof disappears. Okay. We’re going to have triggers. We’re going to have, you know, flashbacks. We’re going to have feelings. Honor those flashbacks. Honor those feelings. Validate yourself. Get a therapist. I think that kitty wants in now. Yeah, I can. I can. I can hear him yelling. So, hold on. Okay, so I hope that answers the question. Yeah, you’re going to have a hard time seeing them, you are. So gray rock when needed. So, no response, no emotional response. You know, don’t engage. Just honor yourself. Honor how you’re feeling. Get with a good therapist. Get with an EMDR therapist. Make sure you have somebody that you can call that can help you stay grounded. A friend you know, or a trusted family member. So, make sure that you’re taking self-care like a boss. So, this is I think one of the hardest things that survivors of abuse do is when we leave a toxic family. Family has been abusive, family has stopped being abusive, but there are still siblings, either still living with them or they’re still siblings that are in touch with them, and we want to stay in touch with the siblings. It’s really going to be self-care, like a boss for yourself care, like a boss, and do not put up with BS from anybody. Seriously and boundaries. So yep. Gentle with you, my love. That’s what you’re going to. It’s gonna flare up. Absolutely. And you are going to have a hard time seeing that but just honor yourself.

Kris Godinez  56:33

Just Yep, I’m having a hard time. Yep. Breathe. It’s going to be okay. So yeah, good job. Okay, um, when a narc attempts to Hoover with trauma, like a death in the family. Is it okay to not respond at all? Yes, absolutely. It hurt when they did this to us. And I never want to feel that way again. Yeah, absolutely. So, it’s amazing what narcissists will do to try to reestablish connection. Yes, they will read about a death in the family and then you know, send you a condolence or send you a text or an email or a phone call or you know, whatever. They will literally do anything. There is no honor there. There is no sense of decorum. There is no sense of maybe I shouldn’t do this. Maybe this isn’t a good idea. They’re not introspective. So, for them. It’s kind of like, oh, I know, I’ll reconnect with them because they’re grieving and I will you know, send them a condolence. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. You don’t need to respond to them. You don’t if you’ve gone no contact if they were abusive, absolutely have nothing to do with them. You don’t have to respond. You do not owe anybody literally anything. So, they sent a condolence. Okay, how nice for you. I’m not responding. Boundary, boundary. So yeah, honor yourself. Absolutely. Kitty, what are you doing? All right. I think that kitty cat is meowing. Okay.

All right, guys. I think that is it. So, I will answer I will have time this week because I’m on vacation. So, I will answer the questions on Wednesday. So, if I didn’t get to any questions, I will answer them on Wednesday, plus other ones that are coming in. I will put up the stuff about the cruise. So, I’ll start, you know, once I get back from this, I’ll start figuring out how to do the cruise and all that sort of good stuff. Um, can’t think of anything else. I will talk to you guys on Wednesday. Take care of yourselves. Drink plenty of water. Remember self-care like a boss. Remember, you don’t owe anybody anything. Remember you don’t have to go if you don’t want to. So gentle with you, and I will talk to you guys on Wednesday. Bye.

Thank you so much for listening to this podcast. You can always listen live on YouTube every week Sunday at noon, Arizona Mountain Standard Time. And if you want to find out more or listen to other episodes, you can go to Krisgodinez.com and if you have a chance, subscribe to this show on whatever podcast app you use and let other people know about. I want to thank my sponsor betterhelp.com. They are an online therapy company. Whether you are in the US or international. They will set you up with a qualified licensed therapist. PhD level or Master’s level. If you are interested in more information, go to betterhelp.com/krisgodinez.

You’ve been listening to the podcast version of We Need To Talk with Kris Godinez.

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