During the holidays, you’re likely to be around difficult people more than usual. If so, remember that they’re not going to change and that, if you’re not prepared, interacting with them will drive you to unwanted eating. Beware of people like these:
Controllers want complete power over you and everyone else—what to wear, eat, cook, buy, etc. They pressure you into doing things their way because they’ve never considered that anyone else’s way is right or acceptable. Around them, you feel unheard, silenced, invalidated, and easily may end up doing what they want rather than what you want. You want to take a walk after the holiday meal, and they insist that you sit and chat with Uncle George. You politely decline seconds of pumpkin pie, and they shove a slice onto your plate anyway.
Critiquers will judge you and everyone else by focusing on what’s wrong. A party may be a grand success with everyone having a terrific time, and critiquers will find fault with the food or the music. Even if they’re not down on you, when you’re around them, you sense that at any moment you could become a target of their criticism.
Chatterers monopolize a conversation, interrupt and insist that you listen to them until they’ve run out of words. You may think they’ll eventually get to asking about you, but they won’t. They’re mostly interested in hearing themselves talk and don’t actually care about anything but being the focus of attention.
Competitors will try to do you one better. You tell them about your new job and they go and on about a job they used to have. You mention the wonderful new restaurant you went to recently and they one-up you by telling you about a more expensive culinary experience. You announce that your son or daughter got into Harvard and they say theirs got into Yale and Harvard.
Victims only want to complain. They don’t want to change and don’t want advice even though they ask for it. Sympathy and attention are their goals, while acting as if they want to be different. They will drain the life blood out of you and transfer their frustration with a situation onto you feeling frustrated with them.
Before attending a social occasion, decide who will be difficult and how to handle them. Note: You’ll need to hurt their feelings to take care of yourself. Be as compassionate and tactful as possible, but put your needs first. If you feel an urge to stuff food into your mouth, recognize your feelings and engage in positive self-talk and actions.