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Despising the holidays


I know it’s so easy to be a Scrooge. I’ve generally despised the holidays for various reasons and it’s changed since going through recovery. After recovery I can stay present and get myself to admit that I enjoy certain aspects of it.

On a core level though there’s a sense of unease. I finally told my mom yesterday that it is my preference to spend holidays in nature with my friends. (Didn’t say that the trees and birds are my friends.). This was in response to her invitation to spend holidays with her and her husband.

I know I’m not alone as I see plenty of you also voicing similar things. Honestly I want to like the holidays. But there are so many flashbacks to the painful childhood memories that sometimes there needs to be space for grieving and maybe that’s part of the tension—that I’m making a rule that no grief is allowed. Maybe I need to accept that emotions are dialed up at this time.

Not sure why I’m posting or what I want in response. Maybe looking for recognition.
I struggled with the holidays too, especially growing up with the momster. Everything had to be "PERFECT", with tables set in linen, find china, too many utensils to describe and the appropriate attire. It was horrible as a child and horrible as a mother with children.......so I threw it all away and created my own traditions and style. My husband loves to cook so he handles the smoker and the oven. I like setting up the snacks and the rest is pot luck style. It is paper plates and more of an open house style that includes family and friends. Everyone stops by and we eat ourselves silly, play cards, board games, oooh and ahhhh over babies and toddler, and this year the puppies.

I refused to let my past destroy my present time with my family and in the later years my parents could come if they wanted. My Dad loved it and my momster started to criticize but she was told to be quiet or leave.....my house....my rules. I don't dread the holidays now because they are MINE and have nothing to do or even resembling the past. By not cooking I don't need to deal with the flash backs of my momster deliberately burning me or hitting me so hard things broke.

Go outside and you do you and forget the old ways and make your own new!
Nice share OJ ❤️

I am struggling with the holidays this year with divorce. Even though I am okay with the divorce I feel so broken for my kids and I want to skip them this year. I’m not sure what I’ll do but

From what you described I think it’s beautiful you want to relax in nature during a time you might otherwise force yourself to go through tradition which would not help you heal.

Hugs ❤️
@OliveJewel , I've always thought, solely this primary thing: what would I choose to do if this were my last Christmas or the last Christmas of someone I love? And I try to think, act and celebrate accordingly. I only melt down when remembering or reliving loss (it's unbearable then) or abuse and aloneness if surrounded by those who can't envision the realities of it.

I figure because the past had pain and trauma doesn't guarantee or mean the future must, and (for me) it's up to me what I focus on. Other than that, support, good company, safety and things you enjoy, small or large (which can include helping people in worst straits if you like to).

I think, what do the holidays mean to you? (Not the connotation). What do you believe; what do they in their most ideal form represent? Is there awe, gratitude, joy, a desire for peace? Hope, new beginnings, strength in adversity? The story of others faith and journey? Recognition of struggle and triumph? Tenderness and vulnerability? Forgiveness? Generosity, recognizing others' worth? The beauty around you, being able to see, hear, sing, laugh, celebrate? Happiness, being stress or care-free for a moment? Safety? Etc etc. Whatever it is, that is unique to you. And then try to choose and do what best embodies that and fulfills that the best.

I work in a field every day of the year. Sometimes I try to bring Christmas, or Mother's Day, or Father's Day, or Remembrance Day, or Easter, or post-funeral (mourning) day, or a birthday (celebration) with me to who I take care of or see or meet. Not with gifts, but just with myself. Not lying when I say lots of times I'd prefer to not have to and specifically prefer to hole-up, as it and doing it can be pretty pain-filled sometimes. But I find it easier to park myself at the door. I think that's why I often prefer to be with animals, kids, or people with dementia. They are usually in the moment and my grief becomes secondary.

I hope your holidays surprise you with unexpected joys and loveliness and peace!! 😇💙
I completely get this. This year I’ve decided not grouping the holidays will be helpful. My mom invited me to Thanksgiving and I did not answer. I took some time to think why I didn’t want to and why I should and decided I can handle Thanksgiving and I will wait and see how I feel about Christmas.

I also took some time to figure out what keeps me from enjoying the holidays because “mine were always perfect as a kid”. Well first I had to dissolve that fantasy. I mean mine were good in comparison to most of the world but also there was anxiety as a kid that I just didn’t realize. Just realizing there was a reason for not wanting to go helped. Then there’s the matter of it being the first Thanksgiving without my dad and a whole other level of wanting to avoid that but really it’s either I avoid holidays forever or I decide that they’re going to happen and he’s not going to be there and avoiding it, doesn’t change it. Hate that, but still true.

So I’m going, but I’ve also negotiated with myself that I will NOT be killing myself to make a bunch of food, because mounting stress on stress is a guaranteed way to make it harder. Now for the follow through portion of the plan…
Yes I am contemplating maybe avoidance in general is better. Everything takes so much effort. and uncertainty, and why risk a feeling of sadness or to be triggered. Idk. I guess I just feel maybe it's time to give up trying to circumvent stuff, even if I know I need to to participate in a meaningful way. I guess I'm tired of so much requiring so much effort.
Was going to the grocery store this week after a couple of awful work days (not relating to my work environment but to people I had to deal with as part of work—work very supportive and understanding of me). My mission was to get ice cream. And I saw they had decorated the building with lit up wreaths. And I smiled and felt some warmth in that moment. I didn’t feel the knot in my stomach. So maybe my feelings are thawing and my old thoughts about the holidays getting properly filed away as “past stories.”
My relative bought a beautiful Christmas white rocking horse ornament. Not like usual, if you can read horses it looks one second away from a gallop. I adore it. But I love horses. We leave a beautiful snow globe out all year. It is important (for me ) to remember the meaning of Christmas is year round.

Our fake tree is like a real one, the bristles falling off lol. Found beautiful new one but hoping it will go on sale. Don't know if we can put one up this year as hopefully doing the floor. The tree I love the most, always did. Forgot about that. Magical. I spent hours in the early morning as a little kid flying the birds around to the pears. Was sure 'angels were getting their wings' when I'd hear 'tings' but it was the sound of tinsel when twinkler lights would twinkle. One year our rescue German Shepherd re-decorated and lumped all the birds together. On low branches and one was upside down lol. Like a family someone said.

I think I felt sick and that didn't help my perspective. I still hope you have the most enjoyment possible whatever you choose. I always watch Peanuts lol. 🫂
snow globe
Oh! I forgot my daughter and I bought a snow globe at Target last year (kept it out all year) and she said she wants to make it a tradition to buy one every year. Worth it to me, as she will be an adult in 6 years. Maybe we’ll do that today when her dad drops her off.
What creates the pain?
I think a primary source is “family gatherings.” So it was my mom’s invitation that really set it off. And Thanksgiving is almost always family gathering. I have not yet ever had a friend invite me nor have I dropped hints that I want to be invited. Because the gatherings are where the reminders of family patterns were emphasized. This sense of “we are all normal and everything’s fine.” So the new thing would be not doing gatherings. For now it’s my preference to be alone for Thanksgiving and just be with my daughter and maybe my sons for Christmas. My older son seems to be turning toward me more.

Suddenly feeling a wave of sadness talking about this. But also I just saw a good friend and feeling a little sad now that she left so that’s mixed in.

Blah. Sunday scaries. Move around.

I’m looking forward to Black Friday because I’m going to buy an iPad for my daughter so she can make drawings with more ease than on her kindle fire. And I have a little money this year so it won’t be a hardship.