The Dark Side Of Christmas
Christmas has been celebrated for countless years, in different countries, ethnicity, and religions. Many of all the people who celebrate the holidays do so for the fun of having the family reunited, the children opening up their gifts, the celebration of the birth of Jesus, among other traditions.
Everyone makes Christmas sound so joyful and full of bright lights and shiny objects, but for some of us, there is the dark side of Christmas.
Open To Interpretations
When we talk about the dark side of Christmas I think everyone has their personal interpretations of what that might be. For some, maybe it can be related to their lack of religious beliefs (I’ve been there), for others, it can be due to sad memories, others are still grieving the loss of someone, while another group of people may just not like the holidays at all, and that is completely okay as well.
As I mentioned before, the holidays are always targeted towards something specific in each gathering, but one thing all of those reasons have in common is the family aspect. Yes, most people expect Christmas time to be full of love, merry, and good memories; a time for everyone to forgive and forget, but sometimes that’s not the case for every human being.
Past, Present, And The Future
Family is not always welcoming or inviting. Sometimes, family equals the pain you have been carrying inside you for so many years, for others is a reminder of manipulation and abandonment. Believe it or not, countless adults are still struggling with the traumatic experiences they went through as a child committed by a family member to whom they were force to see on holiday seasons.
These survivors of child abuse are often in between a fight with themselves of whether they should answer their father’s call. Others are struggling to cut off any connections they had with their mothers in fear of going through unbearable episodes of PTSD. Others may be trying to erase unwanted memories with the people that hurt them the most. One thing we can collectively gather is that all around the world there are trauma survivors with an extended line of toxic family members
Dealing with a traumatic past often leads the survivor to live their life surrounded by anxiety, and with that comes all of the unanswered questions and overthinking that we try so hard to avoid.
“Maybe I should go this time”, “What if someone dies and I didn’t have the opportunity to spend time with them?”, “Would she get mad this time if I don’t go?”, “Maybe someone will be proud of me this time”, “He has always made unwanted advances at me and I’ve been so afraid of facing him again”, “Why did they threw the gay child out of the house but let the pedophile uncle sit at the table with them?”, “I’m tired. Maybe next time”, “I’m an adult now, they don’t have the power to hurt me, or do they?”, “What if they all go against me for my personal beliefs?”.
Anxiety makes you think and thinking turns into overthinking and before you know it, you’ve made a complete story line on your head with scenarios that probably would never happen and others that had happened but you’re too scared to face.
There Are Limits
It is possible that growing up you were forced to comply with everything your family told you to. Maybe you didn’t have a say in your own decisions, or your own personal ideas. You probably didn’t understand what boundaries were and for your family, it was better that way, I know I can relate. Right now, you have the power to decide for yourself what you’d like to do with your life when it comes to the holidays. You’re allowed to say that you don’t want to go to a family meeting, that you have different plans, or that you just don’t want to be mentally unstable during this time due to the family members involved. No one has the power to make that decision for you.
It’s Okay Not To Like Christmas Time
Some people – including myself – have been dealing with so much chaos during the holidays that we just see this time as something that can be avoided, unnecessary, and mentally draining. For some people, the holidays are a reminder of a lost childhood due to unbearable trauma. Others are still trying to heal from things they can’t talk about, and some people are still grieving over a loved one that passed away during this season, or maybe this season just reminds them of the loss of that person you loved and that loved you unconditionally and for some reason, they’re not around anymore.
There is also a possibility that the grief you’re dealing with is related to someone who was a toxic and abusive person in your life. Because of that, you’re not only dealing with the grieving process but also with a trauma that has been bottling up inside of you that can explode at any given tim; knowing that when you were under this person’s supervision you were in so much pain, it just makes it hard for you to fully process the holidays and find joy in the things that you used to love. Remember, time can only heal a small part of your pain but it never really goes away. The memories of those who’ve hurt you will mostly be in the back of your mind whenever this time comes around. Making peace with your past is not easy but neither it is impossible. Your mental health should always come first before any family member or any similar situation.
Don’t Forget About Yourself
Whether is Christmas time or whatever time of the year just remember to celebrate yourself. Celebrate your accomplishments, your victories, your flaws, your achievements; no matter how big or small they may be, they deserve to be acknowledged and for that, you deserve to know how far you’ve made it. It has not been easy but you’re still here. You’re still fighting every single day to become a better version of yourself.
Understanding and coming to terms that there are indeed toxic people and family members in your life is truly a huge accomplishment. Knowing that you don’t have to deal with any of that non-sense can be extremely relieving. Making the decision much easier, or even considering not speaking to these family members this year or any of the years to come can be a huge step towards liberation.
Know that setting boundaries is one of the most difficult, nerve-wracking, and powerful things you can do for yourself. You don’t have to live a life you don’t want to, nor have people that you don’t want to have any connections with you become an obstacle towards becoming who you were meant to be.
As the year ends and family gatherings are coming to life, please remember that you’re not obligated to comply with anything that makes you uncomfortable. It’s not your job to fix or forgive the people that have hurt you. There are so many layers of pain and trauma besides the ones mentioned, here and there could never be enough words to describe the powerful warrior you have become. You’re not alone in this journey. I see you. I hear you. I stand with you. I believe you.
In my opinion, “family” is just a socially constructed term to make you feel like you’re forever tied to people who have hurt you so many times and after so many years there’s still pain whenev and you’re in their presence. You’re allowed to cut those people off and create some new memories. Due to the current situation that we’re living on, finding help can be somehow difficult for some of us and because of that, I started trying Online Therapy to deal with some of my past and current traumas. At first, I thought it wasn’t going to work because were so used to traditional therapy that we can’t see outside our comfort zones. So far, this has been a great journey ever since I started and because I appreciate this company and group of professionals so much, I decided to provide you with these services. You don’t even need to leave your own house. It’s fantastic, and on top of that I got you a 20% off your first session. If you’re interested, you can click right over here!