Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Christmas is a nightmare

My family (well my dads side) are so judgemental every Christmas. First of all I suffer from migraines and I can’t eat turkey, dark chocolate, cheese or drink alcohol. On the second hand I have a gran and an aunt so I can’t eat chocolate, sweets, or drink anything fizzy. They constantly make comments about my weight and I hardly eat at Christmas. They make cakes and treats for everyone except me and my sister. We are terrified to eat at Christmas in case they comment on our weight. Last year we took a piece of cake each and hid in the cupboard to eat it so they wouldn’t notice. Our parents try and convince us to eat but when we catch a glances our aunt or gran then we will eat nothing. It feels like Christmas is being rationed but we have almost the whole buffet as a leftover. How do I stand up to them?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Family are supposed to be supportive and a positive part of your life. Sadly that's not always the case and sometimes people can be hurtful without realising.

Christmas can be a stressful time as there is a lot of pressure for everyone to get along. A few arguments or disagreements can happen, especially if there are lots of people all trying to do things together as a family. What your aunt and gran do is wrong because it's making you and your sister feel bad about yourself. Whether your gran and aunt mean to make you feel bad or not, it's still okay to be honest with them about your feelings.

Telling someone that what they’re doing is making you uncomfortable is not an easy thing to do. You might be worried about starting an argument or creating conflict, but you have to remember that you aren’t, - your aunt and gran are by the things they do. Saying how you feel doesn't have to be negative or turn into an argument. Your feelings are what they are, you can't choose your emotions and there's nothing wrong with expressing them.

It's usually best to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that your gran and aunt don't mean to make you feel bad. They might not realise the impact of the things they say. How you tell them makes a big difference in how well it can be received. A couple of things to think about is what you'll say and when you'll say it. Try to avoid putting them on the spot and telling them in front of the rest of the family  - if they aren't aware of what they're doing then telling them privately  is probably going to make it more likely they will listen. If they’re embarrassed publicly, they might try to defend their actions instead of listening to you.

If people regularly make you feel bad about yourself on purpose then this is different and it's called emotional abuse. This is especially difficult if the people you live with put you down all the time because you can't escape it very easily. It's not okay for anyone to treat you like this and if you're stuck at home with someone who is abusing you in this way it's important to talk to someone about it. Childline is here throughout Christmas for anyone who needs to talk - we're open all the time and our counsellors can support you when you need it.

I hope this has helped, thanks for sharing this with me.


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I read every single letter but I can only answer a few each week. My replies are published here on my page.

Write me a letter