So there's this person who grew up in a fairly toxic evangelical environment. Her mother is pretty much horrible and seems to relish making her child stressed out and angry because it is a form of power she doesn't plan on giving up any time soon. Holidays are, naturally, really awful for this person. Her husband grew up in a happy haze of lalala and adores his family to pieces (it's really sweet and adorable). Recently, he raised the white flag because the holidays are coming, her stress is skyrocketing, and he has absolutely no idea how to help make things better. Spending time with his family makes him deliriously happy, and he simply has no frame of reference for a world where seeing one's parents causes rage, grief, and debilitating self-consciousness.
He is desperate for any advice from folks who may have tips and tricks about how to deal with stress-inducing family members and the holidays. He would especially like any advice on how to cope as a spouse and help his wife cope. Anyone out there from a FUNCTIONAL family married to a spouse from a dysfunctional family? How do you make the holidays better (even marginally)? How do you help your spouse cope?