There may be no place like home, but when your love life turns into a Hollywood affair, home may be the last place you want to be—especially for the holidays. With Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa quickly approaching, many SingleEdition readers, like newly divorced Sabrina, confess to feeling outright panic. “I am already starting to hear detailed rumors about my split and I have not even boarded the plane yet” was how she put it when we tried to delve further.
One of the reasons that singles feel so stressed about getting together during the holidays is because the expectations are so incredibly high. And though it may happen only once or twice a year, going back home is never easy when your divorce, recent break up, sudden loss, or dating life becomes the subject of town talk and scrutiny.
“On one hand they may be jealous, but somehow old friends and family get a kick out of trash talking me because I am forty and single,” says Brad. “In my twenties they thought I was a player, in my thirties there was unfounded talk about substance abuse issues and now, well now they think I am gay, not that there is anything wrong with that of course.”
According to Sherri Langburt of SingleEdition, it’s the very same reason that makes celebrity gossip magazines sell so well and why visitors flock to the Perez Hilton Web site. It stems from a concept called schadenfreude, which is a German rooted word meaning “pleasure taken from someone else’s misfortune.” It derives from schaden, meaning “damage or harm,” and freude, meaning “joy.”
Schadenfreude can trigger anxiety because it creates conflict between your fundamental belief system and your actions. And even though you cannot control others, you can learn how to control your reaction to schadenfruede. Here’s how:
1. Practice Staying Calm
To control potential outbursts, try to envision each scenario and how you will respond without losing your cool.
2. Don’t Try to Correct Naysayers
The best weapon against critics and cynics is to ignore their doubts.
3. Don’t be Overly Defensive About Your Choices
To avoid over justifying, leave your sales sheet at home.
4. Make It About Them
If you have kids, focus your attention on them. Take them on a tour of your hometown and visit all the places you loved as a child.
5. Understand the Who, Where, and Why of It All
Once you recognize the source, it will be easier to deal with their intentions, good or bad, and put them past you.
6. Try to Laugh It Off!
7. Make Time to Take Care of Yourself
Keep doing the things that make you feel good about who you are, even if it means skipping out early to catch a spin class or phone session with your therapist.
8. Surround Yourself with Allies
Bring a friend or pet along for the trip and be sure to make arrangements to meet up with unaffected childhood friends.
9. Kill Them with Kindness
It’s like the water on the witch!