how to deal with cousin eddie

We all have that family member that you regrettably can only take in small doses… twice a year.. once a year… okay you just can’t take them at all. We all have a cousin Eddie from the movie Christmas Vacation in one way or another.

Whether your cousin Eddie is that opinionated grandparent who thinks they can say anything on their mind because well, they are old and earned the right to/that sibling who has to one up every single story you tell or accolade you have/the drunk uncle that passes out before dinner/the aunt who can’t control her kids and let’s them run, scream and annoy the daylights out of everyone… or the annoying cousin who parks his RV in front of your house and lets his snot-nosed dog run across the dining room table… My point is we all have a cousin Eddie in one shape or another and there are respectful ways to dealing with them so your holiday season is not full of grief and strife.

George Burns once said: “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.” – It is that wonderful time of year again where we will be undoubtedly be spending time with that special group of people that you may not really care to see outside of weddings and funerals. With that being said, it is just better to embrace it because there is no escaping the inevitable of having that annual visit with them.

There’s no way to control your cousin Eddie and chances are they may end up doing something or saying something you do not agree with or it may get under your skin. Nonetheless, the thing you can control is your reaction to them and or the situation. Having a little compassion this holiday season will go a long way. Yes, I know it is difficult to be the bigger person, especially when everything they say or do makes your blood boil… Change starts with you and if you try to understand where cousin Eddie is coming from and why their behavior is that way, then maybe you will feel a little less tense and angry. As Gandhi once said: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world” and there can be no real change until people begin to realize the power of their choices. So choose to be the bigger person.

If your cousin Eddie is the type of person who never has anything nice to say about anything or anyone and nothing will ever be good enough in there eyes (and they will always make sure everyone is aware). Their opinions are always right and it is the end all be all of opinions. Chances are this person won’t magically agree to see the good in things or agree to disagree with you, so the smart thing to do is to not waste your energies trying to convince them otherwise. In this type of situation, all you can do is just let them know you understand what they are saying and then politely move on to the next topic to something more positive. You may not agree with their political, religious or strange opinions but just respect them and change the subject.

If your cousin Eddie is the stressed out OCD perfectionist and if the napkins aren’t folded correctly or the ribbons on the packages aren’t pristine they just may have a coronary. The best way to deal with this cousin Eddie is to ask them if there is anything they may need help with? They are probably the types of people who want to do everything themselves which is impossible. They do not have to do it all. Remind them or show them they do not have to wear every hat and the best things and experiences around this time of year are the ones that aren’t perfect or aren’t planned.

If your cousin Eddie has hurt you and you need to mend some bridges, there is no better time than this time of the year. Have an honest conversation and voice how you are feeling and just try some mutual understanding. Chances are you may not agree on whose fault it was or why it happened, but take some baby steps and just try having a clean slate for the upcoming new year. Loving one another is what this holiday season is about. There is room for forgiveness in your heart if you just allow it.

Accountability and trust will take time to build but it has to start with you opening up and being honest. Just learn from this situation – difficult people like your cousin Eddie are your greatest teachers. They test your limits and help you grow. Although it’s hard to give difficult people love, they’re the ones who need it most. By just letting go and starting fresh you are doing yourself a huge favor. I truly find the Serenity Prayer to be helpful with these types of cousin Eddie’s. Each line of the prayer speaks true, not just in difficult times with your cousin Eddie’s but in all times in life. You may not be able to change your cousin Eddie or the conflict/hurt at hand, but you can seek strength and wisdom through this prayer to allow yourself to know God is working to bring peace this holiday season. Even if you have to have the courage to bring it forth.

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You can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family. They are your roots and they are where you come from. There is a cousin Eddie in every family, not just yours and if you’re heading into the holidays just waiting to be offended or for cousin Eddie to screw up, I would say the odds are high that you probably will be annoyed. Maybe there’s a better way to go about it and just tell yourself that it always starts with you and how you react to the situation. Because trust me, no one is telling you that you have to like every single person that you may be related to. However, all you can do is be kind, respectful, and cordial to your cousin Eddie’s and make sure you know it is okay to step away from those uncomfortable situations if they present them to you.

Let them just do their own thing and you do yours. It is okay to spend more time with family members that make you happy. If all else fails… just remember the good news is you won’t have to see your cousin Eddie again until this time next year! lol JUST KIDDING! But on a serious note, I pray for you and your families for this holiday to be a time of peace, hope, joy, and love. Remember the true reason of the season, you can be the beacon of light that guides peace in your family. Make someone smile today! ❤ N

An editorial note from N to my family: If you are a family member reading this, this is not a specific post about anyone in particular in our family. I just love the movie Christmas Vacation and after thinking well hey, everyone has to have some kind of cousin Eddie in there family; I figured I would write a post about it to give some insight on how to deal with them. So don’t freak out, I love you all. Who knows? Maybe I am your cousin Eddie… (“Hallelujah! Holy sh*t! Where’s the Tylenol?!” -Clark Griswold, Christmas Vacation)

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