Family Visits and Emotional Upsets

What’s it like when your family comes to visit? Do things go smoothly? What about when your in-laws come? How are things then? How are you left feeling when any friends or guests enter your home? Do any of these situations take a toll on you?

For a long time, when anyone visited, it was wonderful and exhausting at the same time. When the visit was over, I always felt like it would take me at least a week to emotionally recuperate. And that’s if there were no hiccups during the visit!

Does that sound familiar???

PROBLEM: Visitors, no matter how great they are, can cause emotional distress for us.

Well, I’m happy to say it’s not like that for me anymore! 

My mother and grandmother came to visit last weekend, and the time we spent together was wonderful! When they left, I was not tossed into a whirlwind of emotions. I was not depressed for weeks, nor was I moody or “emotional.” I was able to recognize some sadness–because I will miss them–but other than that, I felt grounded and stable.

Here’s the four generation picture we took this weekend!

I can’t believe that it is so dramatically different from years past. I’m so glad it is different now!

And want to know the good news?

It can change for you too!

All it takes is a little bit of time, some pondering, and knowing the right questions to ask.

But first of all, did you know that sometimes the emotions we feel after our visitors leave are not our own? Sometimes, we have picked up others’ emotions and are carrying them around with us.

These are the easiest emotions to “deal with” because all you have to do is recognize they aren’t your own, and then give them back. Giving them back does not affect the unbeknownst donor. It just lightens your load–leaving you feeling much better!

For example, a reader sent the following story to me:

My in-laws came to visit for a few hours. The visit went smoothly, and we had a good time, but after they left I felt exhausted. I went and rested in my bed and fell asleep. After I woke up, I knew something was off because I can’t usually sleep during the day.

The rest of the day I felt groggy, slow, and a bit depressed. I felt like Eeyore walking around.

I didn’t like feeling this way. As I was saying my prayers that night I felt like I should pray to figure out what was going on. So I asked, “Are these my feelings?” I felt a “No.” I then felt I should ask if they were my father-in-law’s. So I did. I felt a “Yes.” I asked, “Do I need to give them back to him or can I give them to the Savior?” I felt the answer to give them to the Savior. 

Then I visualized dark gray circles coming up from different parts of my body. Like they were bubbles floating up. They started at my head and went through my body. A lot came from my stomach area. But I could see them squeeze between and around muscles and bones to get out, then they all floated upward. 

I saw two glowing hands send light down to me, and the light filled the empty places where the gray bubbles had been.

After the prayer and visualization, I felt like I had so much energy!

I love that our reader handed the emotions over to our Savior Jesus Christ! What a great way to lift her burden.

SOLUTION: Ask if you are carrying someone else’s emotions. If you are, give them back through this process, or do like our reader did and hand them over to the Savior.

But what if you find out you aren’t carrying anyone else’s emotions? What if you discover all those uncomfortable feelings are your own?

Your emotions are messengers telling you something you need to do. And if you want those uncomfortable emotions to go away and leave you in peace, you HAVE TO discover and act on their messages. 

And in all actuality, we can be grateful for our emotions and what they do for us because they enlighten us to faulty and limiting beliefs that hold us back from progressing and moving forward.

So, what happens if you aren’t carrying anyone else’s emotions and you discover they are all your own?

Well, those are easy to work through as well–as long as you have a little bit of time, are willing to do some pondering, and you know the right questions to ask.

What are the right questions to ask?

I’m so glad you want to know.

The first step in working through those difficult emotions is to take a few deep breaths. Fill those lungs and revel in it. 

Next, explore what you are feeling. Make a list (can be physical; can be mental) of all the things you are feeling. It may look like this:

angry, frustrated, disheartened, annoyed, heart-broken, bitter, resentful, etc.

Or it might look like this:

I am so furious that she said what she said when I did what I did. How dare she have any right to  . . . I am so mad right now I could . . .etc.

The specifics don’t matter. Just get it all out. 

Now, notice the words you use to describe how you are feeling. “Angry, frustrated, disheartened,” and also “furious, mad,” etc. Use the free Everyday Emo-Vocab Cheat Sheet and circle all the words you used. Take note of the parent emotion on each of those. 

That wasn’t too tricky . . .

Once you know the parent emotions you are working with, you can now ask the questions to discover your personal messages from them!

If Fear is on your list, take a moment to think about it deeper. Fear means there is a choice that needs to be made. Ask yourself questions such as: What are my options? What choice do I need to make? And once you have discovered your choices, take action and choose your new path. (I just posted about an experience with fear here–when I felt embarrassed –and here–when I was nervous about an award. Check them out to see how it’s done!)

If Anger is marked on your cheat sheet, pause to think longer on it. Anger means boundaries have been violated. Ask yourself these questions: What boundaries have been violated? What needs to be restored? Once these have been answered, take action on restoring and rebuilding what needs to be reconciled. (I often write about working through my own anger. Check out this post here–when I felt disrespected –and this one here–when I felt invaded by neighbors –to see how I do it.)

If Sadness is on your list, then slowly unwind the tension in your neck. Sadness means something needs to be let go because it just isn’t working for your good. Ask yourself: What needs to be let go of? (I had an interesting experience with sadness here–when I was sad about a past friendship –and here–when I lost something important to me.)

Do you have family coming in town for Christmas? Or are you traveling somewhere this season?

Bookmark this page!

And return to it when the visit is over. Work through that emotional upset so you can be left with fond memories of togetherness.

Leave me a comment or contact me and let me know how your visits go this Christmas season! You can do it! You totally have the power to work through your emotions and come out better for them. 

Good luck! And Merry Christmas!

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