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December isn't always filled with Christmas cheer for all families.

For many, the holiday season can be filled with melancholy and discomfort.

This can be as a result of confronting family loss, tragedy, secrets, disputes, prejudice or painful memories.

Read: How to get through the holidays when grief-stricken

Clinical psychologist Khosi Jiyane says complicated family dynamics, expectations and criticism emerge strongly over the holiday period.

Jiyane advises that individual's prepare themselves for the awkward family gatherings by confronting personal issues that have not yet been resolved.

She says individuals should play out worst-case scenarios and simulate the best way to handle each anticipated situation.

It's a testing time. It's a time when we look back on a year gone by.

Khosi Jiyane, Clinical psychologist

It's also a time when worms can come out of the ground.

Khosi Jiyane, Clinical psychologist

It can be a time for the sniper remarks.

Khosi Jiyane, Clinical psychologist

Don't let the Christmas seasons happen to you. Prepare for it.

Khosi Jiyane, Clinical psychologist

It's a time for you to sense your own discomfort with your own issues.

Khosi Jiyane, Clinical psychologist

Lay down your issues and [ask]: what is my unfinished business?

Khosi Jiyane, Clinical psychologist

Take charge. Anticipate. Prepare. Think. Process and be ready.

Khosi Jiyane, Clinical psychologist

Listen to the intriguing discussion:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : How to get through awkward family dynamics this holiday

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