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How to avoid the stress of Christmas Eve with the family?



My parents expect too much of me and my recent divorce disappointed them a lot, sighs Antoine, 33. So at Christmas, sure, they’ll still tell me I’m immature, and as always, I’m going to fight! At 48 years old, Natacha is formal: “This family meal at my sister’s house who, once again, will want to impress the gallery by putting the small dishes in the big ones, depresses me in advance ! As for 40-year-old Sylvie, she’s hardly liked more: “My 15-year-old daughter plays the part, she doesn’t want to have a family Christmas Eve. She will isolate herself in her room and the family will take it badly. For many of us, family gatherings are a time of great concern. Or a boring worry. It is true that those who will surround us near the Christmas tree are ours, but… How can we not fear the bite of paternal ambivalence when, every year, we get injured from the exercise? How do you escape sibling rivalries when you know they are going to happen? and how to dodge intergenerational conflicts that often threaten to cool the mood? Although everywhere we are sold the promise of an enchanted parenthesis, it is not so easy to have a happy heart and a spirit full of joy on the night of the Nativity… However, it must be admitted: nothing is more vain than resigning oneself to the worst without trying to innovate. And if this year you try to dust off the evening by agreeing to change the situation a bit? So how do you overcome family conflict?

Learn to disappoint your parents

What am I fearing? A mother who stings, a father who compares… According to the German philosopher Michael Bordt, author of The art of disappointing your parents (First editions), these Christmas reunions worry us because “there is still pressure within the family linked to expectations: we are obliged to act ‘as if’ everything is going well, even though conflicts remain unresolved”.

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Because it hurts? For the philosopher, if one gets entangled in a painful relationship with one’s parents in adulthood, it is because one is still afraid of losing their affection. ” When I disappoint my parents, it can happen that, when perceiving this disappointment, I feel disappointed in my turn, he explains. First disappointed by them who don’t support me, but also by me who doesn’t respond to their wish. From my disappointment to theirs, so it’s a vicious circle and painful to install. »

How to advance? “Establishing a serene relationship requires realizing that our parents are ordinary beingsadvises Michael Bordt. Indeed, they have long been nourishing and comforting. But, in adulthood, it is convenient to get out of that childish idealization, although losing the protectors always leaves a bitter taste. Observe them as they really are. With their weaknesses, their wounds, their faults… “Accepting to face what disappoints them allows them to be more tolerant,” he points out. Despite everything, are they still obtuse and denounce your new love, your change of career or the way you raise your children? Assume. Accept to constructively disappoint them by asserting who you are. This year, remember, it is out of the question to wait for their blessing… But to make them understand that they are prisoners of a false image of you.

Leave your teenagers alone

What bothers me? Just listen to them: family celebrations are often synonymous drudgery and boredom for teenagers. Even if we share the same mood at your age, we forget about it and complain. Too. Against their ill will, their lack of enthusiasm, their lack of involvement… So many attitudes that question us as parents: what have we done to deserve this ingratitude?

Why are you blocking? “Because what we demand of them as parents is difficult for them to manage,” explains psychologist Samuel Dock, author of Punchlines, teens at the shrink (First editions). Although you are evolving in your identity, we ask you to return to the position of the child that you were, wise and gentle. How not to feel upset? Especially since, in addition to requiring them to put on too small a costume, we often also force them to put their affections aside. There is no right to remain silent, to evade… Logically, the party becomes a punishment!

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How to advance? “On New Year’s Eve, no need to force them ! insists Samuel Dock. Of course, if the son wants to lock himself in his room to play online, we can answer that the argument is not admissible. “But if he explains that he prefers to avoid Uncle Jo’s racist jokes, why bother? suggests the therapist. There is truth in the arguments that our teenagers make. Instead of formalizing you, he tries to dialogue crying first to the child who was and to the teenager you dream of. How reinvent is this party together? So she respects his growing up and negotiates so he can have fun too.

Give up sibling rivalries

What are you playing? The fraternal bond always develops “according to a perpetual movement that oscillates between love and rivalry,” says psychologist and psychotherapist Dana Castro, author of Brothers and sisters, help them flourish (Albin Michel). Shaken by storms of revolt or heated by solidarity in the face of the outside world, you never know in advance what the atmosphere will be between brothers and sisters on Christmas Eve.

Why is he shaking? According to the therapist, the brotherly bond Adulthood can only be established on good foundations on one condition: that everyone can affirm their identity by delimiting their territory. However, in many families, this balance is not evident. “With sibling relationships being extremely complex, if on New Year’s Eve the negative effects take over, it can actually turn into a disaster,” continues Dana Castro. Why ? Because, then, childhood comparisons are updated: who gets more? Who gets less? And with them, all the feelings of envy or jealousy in winning the love of mom and dad…

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How to advance? “The first thing, responds the therapist, is to accept the idea that it is normal to feel a bit jealous in relation to siblings. Does an outburst of pretense from your youngest child pinch your heart? Logic. But there’s no reason to be overwhelmed if you don’t lose sight of the fact that you are a good person too. Also keep in mind that any critical situation always has a trigger and that is the one that needs to be deactivated before the situation escalates. Your brother can’t stop tackling you? Your sister, to play the comparison? There’s no reason for them to change, but you can work against the grain by formatting yourself to stay calm. So identify the painful situations that could come up again this year, to better prepare you. “To be more solid on D-Day, playfully train with a loved one to find a solution to the potential attacks, recommends Dana Castro. In fact, our excesses are often attributable to the fact that we let ourselves be caught off guard. “Are you afraid that mustard will go up your nose? “Here again, make an alliance upstream with a guest by deciding on a code that allows you to laugh at the situation instead of crying over it,” concludes the therapist. After all, why would you give someone the power to ruin your evening?

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==> Why so many conflicts and unspoken family

Already December and its traditional family gatherings. Moments that we dream of warm and without tension… However, often a trifle – a comment, a look – is enough for the unhappy child that we have been to emerge in us, ready to take revenge.

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Family / Couple

36 questions to fall in love



The exercise seems a bit magical, not very serious. Actually, this questionnaire, developed twenty years ago by Arthur Aron, an American psychology researcher, to study intimacy, really does have an effect: it ignites (or re-ignites) the flame between hearts, in less than an hour! To be tried to be believed.

Last January, the New York Times published the testimony By Mandy Len Catron. She told how she was I fell in love in a few hours. of one of his university classmates whom he had chosen as a guinea pig, answering with him the questions of the American psychologist Arthur Aron. If Mandy Len Catron and her partner were already in love, neither of them knew it until they reached the thirty-sixth question and looked at each other in silence for four long minutes.

Like many discoveries, the contest of who can make you fall in love It is the result of a happy coincidence. In 1997, Arthur Aron, a professor at Stony Brook University in New York, worked on intimacy and developed a exercise he tries to make it appear between two people who do not know each other. The result exceeded his expectations.

One of the student-guinea pig duos marries six months later. The couple is the first in a long series. Arthur Aron understands that he raised a hare and solved part of the problem mystery of love : Vulnerability and intimate confessions create a propitious climate for love flare. With one detail: the questionnaire only falls in love with those who have already chosen, consciously or not. It’s no surprise, the unconscious smell us, recognize us and choose us; then it remains to open a space for desire becomes feeling.

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To fall in love with someone, do this
The testimony of Mandy Len Catron, on the site of the New York Times.

“A Moment of Self-Truth”

In the course of experiments, Arthur Aron discovered that his questionnaire could also work the role of matchmaker than that of “friends”. And, since the publication of the story of the New York Times, which has been viewed nearly five hundred thousand times on Facebook, testimonials are pouring in. Stories of love, friendship, reconciliation…, to the point that Mandy Len Catron is preparing a book on this subject, The love story project.

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Intrigued, we asked the psychoanalyst Sophie Cadalen, relationship specialist, to give us her opinion. “She was perplexed as she read, she confesses, because she could only give some immediate answers. In fact, it is difficult to answer in a single formula. That’s what made me realize that the strength of this exercise lies in his ability to question us. It makes us hesitate, doubt, choose… However, what defines us as a subject is more our questions than our answers. This process allows us to capture a moment of self truth. »

be vulnerable

So, for the psychoanalystthat here creates intimacy between two peopleit is not so much the fact of exchanging intimate confidences to be shown in one’s own vulnerability. “That’s why,” she continues, this questionnaire also works with a stable partner. Over time, we come to the belief that we know each other perfectly, this kills the feeling of love. The interest of the questions lies in the fact that they arouse the strangeness of the other due to the surprise that their answers, their silences, their emotions can arouse. They put us in a situation of uncertainty, and it is this strangeness that makes us desirable and makes us want again. »

Sophie Cadalen, as Mandy Len Catron, explains that this exercise only awaken a feeling of love, asleep or unconscious, but do not believe it. Fortunately. This alchemy is not developed in laboratories.

Arthur Aron test for two

wait about an hour in a quiet place. Take turns answering the same question. speak openly, do not take notes, do not comment on your partner’s answers. be the most sincere possible. The questionnaire is divided into three parts, which increase in privacy; you can pause between each one. At the end, take four minutes to look into each other’s eyes.

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Series 1

1. If you could invite someone to dinner (a loved one, the deceased, a relative, a celebrity), who would it be?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

3. Before calling, do you ever repeat what you are going to say? Because ?

4. What would a “perfect day” look like for you?

5. When was the last time you sang for yourself? And for someone else?

6. If you could live to be 90 and keep your 30-year-old mind or body for the last sixty years of your life, which would you choose?

7. Do you secretly sense how you are going to die?

8. List three things that you and your partner seem to have in common.

9. What in your life makes you feel most grateful?

10 If you had the chance, what would you change about the way you were raised?

eleven Take four minutes and tell your partner the story of your life, giving as much detail as possible.

12 If you could wake up tomorrow having acquired one quality or skill, what would it be?

Series #2

13 If a crystal ball could tell you something, what would you want to know?

14 Is there something you have dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it yet?

fifteen. What have you accomplished the most in your life?

sixteen. What is the most valuable thing about friendship for you?

17 What memory do you treasure most?

18 What is your worst memory?

19 If you knew that you were going to die in a year, how would you change the way you live? Because ?

twenty What does friendship mean to you?

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twenty-one What role do love and affection play in your life?

22 Take turns telling your partner what you consider to be one of their positive traits (exchange five total).

23 Is your family close and warm?

24 How do you feel about the relationship with your mother?

Series #3

25 Make three statements each about the two of you. For example: “The two of us here feel…”

26 Complete this sentence: “I would like to have someone to share…”

27 If you were to become a very close friend with your partner, tell him what you think is important for him to know about you.

28 Tell your partner what you like about him. Be very direct, say things you wouldn’t say to someone you just met.

29 Tell your partner about a situation, a very embarrassing moment in your life.

30 When was the last time you cried in front of someone? And alone?

31 Tell your partner what you already appreciate about him or her.

32. In your opinion, what too serious subject cannot be laughed at?

33. If you died tonight without being able to communicate with anyone, what would you regret not saying? Why didn’t you say it?

3. 4. Your house and everything in it catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you still have time to get something out of the flames. What are you drinking ? Because ?

35. Of all the members of your family, which death would affect you the most? Because ?

36. Present a personal problem to your partner and ask how they would handle it. Also ask him how he perceives his feelings about this problem.

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Family / Couple

Tinker Bell – Tinker Bell Syndrome



Tinker Bell fairies are bright and ambitious women who also happen to be great seductresses and manipulators. Eternally dissatisfied, the Clochettes hide, behind their obsession with appearance and success, great suffering. And they would be more and more numerous in our society. Explanations with psychotherapist Sylvie Tenenbaum.

He receives more and more in his office: brilliant women, who collect successes and professional achievements; hyperactive people who seek to control everything, starting with themselves; The “superwomen” doubled as great seductresses. So much so that Sylvie Tenenbaum, a psychotherapist, called them “Les Clochette”, in reference to the little fairy imagined by the writer James M. Barrie, with whom they share much in common. Starting with great suffering. We knew about the Peter Pan syndrome, or that of Cinderella or that of Sleeping Beauty. Now here is the tinkerbell syndrome.

The Bells are angry

Ambitious, often arrogant, perfectionists… The bells are ready to do anything to achieve their ends. “They are in a form of violence in front of life, because they take a form of revenge, analyzes Sylvie Tenenbaum. It’s also about revenge, in a difficult childhood, where they were often criticized, abused, humiliated, manipulated. During this, they stored a good dose of anger. And anger is energy, which they will later channel towards professional and social success. »

” He symptoms of tinker bell syndrome form a coherent whole, explains Sylvie Tenenbaum. We speak of syndrome when we recognize most of these signs in a single personality. »

The Clochettes are afraid of their emotions.

Tinkerbell fairies are women who have suffered a lot during their childhood. Of toxic fathers, possessive or self-centered mothers, misogynistic or absent fathers… “Most of the time they did not have the same permissions as their brothers, if they did, they did not value them as girls, or they raised them to be the first all. hour. So they told themselves that to be loved, you had to be successful. And above all, that they should not express their emotions. Which constitute, for them, real weaknesses. “They are afraid of them because they think they can take away their strength. And strength, it is true that they have a lot.

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How to manage the hassle?

Sometimes we react inappropriately and negatively when faced with a nuisance. However, it is not always pleasant either for oneself or for those around you.

Clochettes are great seducers

In terms of affective life, the Clochette multiply the encounters and conquests. But they are rarely satisfied. “The men they meet are never good enough. And since they do not have an easy character, at the slightest disappointment they are immediately fired. They have been so frustrated in the past that they cannot bear the slightest annoyance.

In fact, they despise men, having suffered greatly from their father during their childhood. Therefore, they just expect them to be worshipped. But in reality, the Tinkerbell suffers from a form of emotional dependency. “They are still little girls waiting to be loved unconditionally. Very unconsciously, they expect men to repair their psycho-affective life. But it can’t work because nobody can give them what they didn’t receive in childhood”.

The Tinkerbells hurt each other

Their affective, professional and social hyperactivity allows them in any case one thing: not to think about their suffering. Because if the Clochettes seem to succeed at everything, they are actually suffering. Injure. Victims of themselves. “They don’t know who they are. They didn’t even ask the question. They just live to prove that they are the best, the most beautiful, the strongest. They are in a form of intoxication. Most of the time, they realize very late the loneliness in which they are locked up. And then they become aware of their immense sadness for not having been loved enough or badly.

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Childhood stress, difficult to detect and often underestimated

Just like adults, children can become unsettled and stressed by changes in landmarks or unusual events.

The bells hurt

Meanwhile, they do a lot of damage to those around them. For this egocentric womeninsensitive, manipulative, tyrannical and jealous, “others are objects at his service”. They don’t respect them. They would like the world to live just for them. We have been tyrannical with them for so long. Unfortunately, they copied their models. But this damage that they do and that they do to themselves, they don’t even realize.

tinker bells can break free

Fortunately, the Clochettes can change, “live better, have less heartbreak.” On condition of being helped. “It is a difficult path because it generates a lot of awareness. In particular that of having made others suffer. Generally, they are not proud of it. »

The key to transformation? “The repair of the girl that is in them and that she is still waiting for marks of love. It’s time to cultivate it”. Also renounce omnipotence, to meet your own emotions. And above all, “learn to love yourself better, to love yourself better”.

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Family / Couple

Couple: are you in an “invisible divorce”?



Life together is far from being a long and calm river. If some couples end divorce Where break awayOthers stick together, but not always for the right reasons. In a Article From Psychology Today, Barbara Greenberg, Psy.D., explains this new phenomenon she has encountered as a therapist: invisible divorce. Some couples seem to work perfectly on the outside, they look happy on social media and their vacation photos are idyllic. However, under the social veneer, the reality is much less rosy. These couples are nothing more than a partnership that operates almost like a business. Explanations.

The 4 signs of an invisible divorce

We all knew this couple who looked so perfect, to whom everything seemed to succeed. we envy them secretly, wishing they were as happy as they looked. And then what was our surprise when we found out a few years after their separation. The phrase “invisible divorce” might be a good description of what was going on in your privacy : these couples had evolved separately and their union was ultimately just a facade.

the doctor Barbara Greenberg identified some signs that he believes could indicate that a couple is going through a invisible divorce :

  • the couple operates as a business where the main concerns would be children and finances;
  • there is a lack of emotional and physical intimacy between partners;
  • at least one of the two partners feels that their needs are not being met;
  • one and/or the other may go elsewhere to meet their physical or emotional needs.
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These couples would be like “parallel lines, living together but functioning separately”, illustrates the psychologist. So why don’t they break up? He reasons they are extremely diverse and varied according to Greenberg. It may be that one of the two spouses fears the financial consequences After a separation, some remain together for “the good of the children.” Others just aren’t ready to break away and make the decision to stay together even when you are not happy.

A frustrating and toxic married life

“These marriages are emotionally exhausting and frustrating,” adds the psychologist. As good as the reasons that would push you to remain in this type of union may seem, you put endangered his mental health and well-being. These people describe a daily life full of frustrations and disappointments. They feel disconnected from their partner. If you recognized yourself in the signs listed above, have them courage to face the situation, advises the therapist. “Try to renew the dialogue with your partner and restore healthy and harmonious communication. Talk about what worries you and your expectations, being as honest as possible, ”he recommends.

However, yes, the dialogue seems impossible or leads to a dead end, it is better to part when the feelings no longer exist. the invisible divorce it would be “toxic to both partners,” Greenberg concludes.

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