Surviving the Holiday Season as a Survivor

Surviving the Holiday Season as a Survivor

The holiday season can be a terrible time for survivors of abuse.  TV scenes, family gatherings and pictures of joy and happiness, plastered all over social media can be the catalyst for memories and flashbacks that haunt victims of abuse.  It is understandable that survivor’s feelings are heightened during this period.  As a very high proportion of abuse occurs within the family unit it is hardly surprising that times that bring families together, are the times that generate the most pain for Survivors.

So what can you do, as a Survivor of child abuse, during these challenging times?

First of all you need to realise you aren’t alone! There are regular posts on our forums from members who are struggling to survive during the festive season.  Take this as acknowledgement that your feelings are shared, normal and warranted.

You may be feeling a whole raft of emotions.  Some of which you may find confusing, especially when you know others are seemingly enjoying themselves. here are some coping mechanisms you can put in place;

Next you may wish to reach out.  We appreciate COVID19 may have put an end to some/all of your plans but if you’re struggling with your emotions this festive season you can still reach out for support.  This might be virtually, via helplines and/or via your social network.

The HAVOCA Survivor Forums will be open throughout the period, offering support, friendship and advice.

Another really useful remedy (which is often over looked) is self-care.  This angle of support can be easily dismissed but it is a really important aspect of healing.  As individuals, we need to build a foundation of fulfilment.  This can come from self-care and it can involve big items such as doing something you enjoy or doing little things like making lists and getting your life in order.  It may even be as simple as running a hot bath and reading a good book. Anything that puts the focus on you in a positive way.

Closely aligned to self-care is your ability to use boundaries.  Boundaries give you the opportunity (and power) to say no.  This is especially important during this holiday season when family are making requests and demands on you that make you uncomfortable.

It is also important to remain grounded.  Don’t let the nostalgia of Christmas make you feel like you must reconnect with family.  This works the other way too, don’t automatically push loved ones away.  Talk this through with your support network, therapist, friends or via your online support hub.

There is also some really useful advice on our self-help pages.

What works for you?  Do you have any tips or recommendations? If so, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

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Support, Information and Guidance for adult victims of child abuse and their support networks.

3 Responses to Surviving the Holiday Season as a Survivor

  1. AvatarAshleyCross says:

    If it helps, if anyone’s family measured up to the images shown us in Christmas adverts, then they wouldn’t be showing those images. Why buy the product we are being sold to try to get that fantastic ideal family Christmas, if most people already have it, ie that perfect family? They wouldn’t make the sales they do from this if it weren’t for the fact that it is something craved by the majority of people, not just us. We are not alone in these feelings, we are the leaders and experts, able to teach by our fantastic example as survivors, how to deal with those feelings, each in their own way. Whatever you do for yourself this year, you so deserve it X

  2. AvatarFahad Alqahtani says:

    Since I cut my bonds with my abusive father, mother and only brother few years ago, I gradually remembered that all joy I attached with sharing holidays with them was created by my own romantic image of what a filmily would look like. My suffering started to diminish as I reminded myself how indifferent and inconsiderate they spoke and acted each time we got together to celebrate anything. I was suppressing all observations that confirmed their lack of appreciation of holidays and its significance. As I spend my holidays without them from them now, I consider this as a private victory that only survivors like me can understand. I am finally offering myself a holiday treatment that I deserve without any abuser to ruin it with his or her lost sense of humanity.

  3. AvatarFahad Alqahtani says:

    When I cut my bonds with my abusive father, mother and brother, I noticed how much suffering I have been creating to myself in previous holidays. Back then, I used to assume an imaginary romantic roles for each one of them to play in such a special time. Since 2016, I enjoyed honoring my holidays by excluding them from being part of it. Now, my holidays are more meaningful as they reflect how much I take care of my heart and honor my right to have a good life.

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