May 28, 2022

How not to quarrel with loved ones during Tet?


After a busy year, they were able to sit down for a reunion dinner, but many families lost their joy, sometimes because of the questions ‘have you got a lover’, ‘what did you buy this year?’…

According to psychiatrist, Dr. Chua Siew Eng (Singapore), comments from family members often target some weakness of yours. It can be especially frustrating if the problem is long-standing and makes you feel like you haven’t tried to change.

Psychologist Kevin Beck, Singapore General Hospital, said the reasons why you are upset can be due to cultural norms, gender, imposed. You can also have a “panic tantrum” when you find yourself being compared. Sometimes you think of anger as a reasonable response to being hurt. Another reason you think you’ve lost your temper is that you’ve gotten so angry in front of your family.

Sometimes the reviews of relatives also make you uncomfortable. In particular, the more you worry about being judged by someone, the more their comments and attitudes will affect you. “That explains why your beloved uncle’s comments about relationships, finances, education, work… hurt you more than another person less close to you, during a reunion dinner,” said Dr. Doctor, psychiatrist Lim Boon Leng, in Singapore, said.

The more important and sensitive an issue is to you, the more intense your emotions will be. Although you can’t say how to stop “Ba’s aunt’s mouth”, “Daddy’s stinging”… but you can absolutely learn to control your reactions.

To do that, experts say to look out for the “early warning signs” in you, including stress, palpitations, sweating, flushing, irritability and volume increase. “These are signs you should stop, stop reacting, and stay calm,” says Dr. Chua.

New Year’s Day is a time to look forward to for many families. Photo: CGTV

Here are some tips from experts, so you can spend a smooth and happy Tet with your extended family.

1. Brief interaction

If it is a crowded meal, avoid sitting for a long time, alcohol in and out. “There are a few neutral topics to distract and entertain, and to help pass the time. You should talk about these topics,” says Dr. Chua.

2. Rehearse before the situation

Anticipate a situation that makes you angry when visiting family, which “triggers” include. Learn to identify negative thinking patterns that make you angry. Is your anger justified, what is the price to pay?

“Foresee and think about how to react in a way that is healthy, good for you and for your loved ones,” says Dr. Chua.

3. Don’t let anger lose your wisdom

Look for signs of anger and don’t let yourself be triggered by them, especially past anger or abuse. “Try to understand and see things from the other person’s perspective. If you can’t, be assertive,” says Dr. Beck.

For example, say this is not the right time or place for such a discussion and postpone the discussion to another time. “Assertiveness immediately reduces anger triggers. If that doesn’t work, go elsewhere to calm down,” advises Dr. Beck.

4. Procrastination Tactics to Reduce Anxiety

Take a few deep breaths and try to reduce anxiety to clear your mind, according to professor Ilene Cohen. If your beloved aunt asks “why are you single,” joke, or put off “I’ll talk about that later”.

This gives you time to think. You should give a neutral and non-informative answer, such as “New Year’s Eve is having fun, let’s stop talking about this”, and then move on to something less sensitive.

5. You shouldn’t always be humble

Surely you always want to have a quiet house on the first day of spring. “However, there is no rule that you should always get along with everyone in the family. Being related doesn’t mean you share the same views or can be close friends with them,” Professor Cohen said.

Her advice is to be kind and respectful, but also don’t force yourself to go against your opinion for fear of others having an opinion.

Bao Nhien (Follow Cnalifestyle)

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