The Holidays are supposed to be all fun, caroling, giving and receiving, food, family and friends right? Then why am I dreading this holiday season?
One of the significant stressors for survivors at the holidays is the possibility of having to see abusers, family members or others, and unsupportive folks who blamed you or did not protect you from the abuse or assault. Large extended family gatherings and religious and cultural celebrations occur this time of year; that means a lot of people in and out of the house all season long. Many survivors are re-victimized year after year by being made to “act as if” everything is alright when they are sharing a meal or holiday function with the perpetrator of the sexual violence.
Friends and family should not make you feel obligated. You deserve to have your boundaries respected. If you might see a perpetrator at a family or social event, make a safety plan. Bring a supportive friend, give yourself permission to leave the gathering, or make other plans. Remember that you can say “no” to some gatherings. By saying yes to only those things that will be truly satisfying, fun, and enjoyable you will feel less traumatized, resentful and overwhelmed.
Feel empowered to make this your best holiday season yet!
Make this the year you start a new, healthy tradition of taking care of YOUR needs.