Surviving Holiday Cheer
Every year, survivors face a world gone mad. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s bring with them countless traditions, and people buy things they cannot afford as gifts.
When you are a survivor of severe and repeated childhood abuse, you often equate the holidays with sour memories of what happened to them. To make matters worse, the stores are all dressed up with Christmas decorations with Christmas music blaring from the ceiling.
In this article, we will attempt to tackle how to survive holiday cheer when you have complex post-traumatic stress disorder.
This is Not the Past
Did you experience hell when you were a child during the holiday season? If you have complex post-traumatic stress disorder, the answer is a resounding most likely. CPTSD forms as a result of experiencing repeated abuse and neglect, and because of the memories of those times, we equate Christmas back then to the holidays now.
The confusion of now and then is complete when you throw in flashbacks and attend dinners and parties with people who were complacent in your abuse. Even if they did not touch you, you may still remember the fact that these people did not help you when you needed them most.
Christmas today is a different animal because you now have the power to control your life, including who you are around during the holidays. Focus on the fact that you, as an adult, can say yes or no to people when asked to attend a function.
The word no is a complete sentence.
Feeling the Pressure to Make Christmas Perfect
Christmas isn’t pleasurable for many Americans, as 41% strive hard to make their Christmas perfect, something no one can achieve.
They bake cookies, hang stockings, and decorate their homes and lawns, yet they still feel they have fallen short on Christmas day. Americans especially have an inflated expectation of what makes a perfect holiday season. However, those who have lived through complex trauma and now have complex post-traumatic stress disorder feel overwhelmed by all the ho-ho-ho and jolliness.