Dec
24

Christmas in Recovery from Emotional Abuse

By

Christmas and psychological abuse, dysfunctional family

For years I hated Christmas. I left home when I was 17 years old.  I moved across the country when I was 19 in an attempt to escape the emotional mess that I was in, and I avoided Christmas for as many years as I could by volunteering to take the holiday shifts in the hospital where I worked.  I have not had Christmas with my mother since I was 15. I have not had Christmas with my father since I was 18. And looking back, none of that made Christmas much easier. There was a LOT of baggage that came along with me and it stayed with me throughout the years.

I felt “bad” and “wrong” and “guilty” for avoiding Christmas with my family.  I felt obligated to be with them. I felt like “the problem” and that my absence caused my mother to be lonely.

The last time I had Christmas with my mother, she guilt tripped me into staying home while my brothers went to my father’s (about 300 miles ~ 500 kilometers away) but then my mother ditched me and spent the entire holiday with her new boyfriend and I was the one who was alone. So then I felt bad that I ditched my father.  AND I felt bad that I felt bad ~ because I still believed that my mother needed me that year even though she ditched me. I kept trying to convince myself that I had done the right thing staying home with her. I kept hoping that she would spend some time with me BECASUSE I had made the sacrifice of not going to my Dad’s with the rest of my siblings, but she didn’t.  I was only fifteen. This is such a good example of the conflicting emotions that we get stuck in as victims of emotional abuse. Even in my own mind I couldn’t win.  Even with myself I believed I could not possibly make the right decision.

I never considered until about  4 or 5 years ago, that neither my mother or my father have ever once made an attempt to be with me for Christmas all these years. Just as abusers do not follow the rules they set out for others, victims don’t consider that the rules we accept for ourselves are not followed by the ones who set them out.

There is this universal “pecking order” that we all seem willing to stay in because we are not really aware of it. (we learned it from such a young age) No equality for children no matter how old they are; we must obey the wishes of the parents no matter how unfair. And I didn’t think about it!  The truth is that we don’t think about “fair” in clear terms anyway because we learned to accept “unfair” from such a young age.  I didn’t even notice anything wrong with that system. I just complied except that when I stopped going home for Christmas I always felt WRONG. So the guilt hit me anyway ~ every year even though I stayed away.

And when I think about it this is still related to compliance; I didn’t go home but I felt bad about it ~ as I “should” feel as I was “trained” to feel. 

I was manipulated into staying home with her and for her and then she “dumped me” ~ I felt like I was punished for caring about her feelings, for being considerate. AND she wasn’t even sorry she did it. She acted like she didn’t notice that I was left alone all the time. And so the following year when I was 16, (and it wasn’t my father’s “turn” to have us) I went to my girlfriends house for Christmas day and although I felt really cared about there, I also felt like I didn’t really belong in their perfect family Christmas and I thought they just felt sorry for me ~ but it was great to be a part of the day with them. However, I still felt “bad and wrong”. (And yes it was a little bit related to rebellion and revenge that year.) BUT in the years to follow I didn’t stay away for those reasons anymore, however deep down I still believed that I did stay away for those reasons.  Subconsciously in my mind’s eye, I saw a 15 year old teenager ~ angry and putting my foot down because I was rejected when I gave up Christmas with my father, my baby half sister and my brothers. And subconsciously I believed that each year after when I didn’t return home for Christmas was based on that resentment. So although I avoided the mess of family Christmas and all the crap that went with it, deep down I blamed myself for the turmoil that I still had around the holidays. I believed that I was hurting because I was selfish, spoiled and resentful after all those years and therefore in reality, I didn’t really avoid anything!

I have come a long way with this terrible spin.  Tonight is Christmas Eve and I am thankful that my little family will all be here. My husband and I and our three kids will make finger food and appetizers and have a party in the living room. This has been something that we started doing when the kids were very small and as long as everyone wants to do it, we will.  I am aware that each year we are all together is a gift because children grow up and things can change. I have two children leaving the nest this next year.

On Christmas day, we will open gifts from each other and prepare a big turkey dinner and celebrate in the ways that mean something to us. On Christmas day afternoon, my daughter is going to visit her friend, who is having a birthday and has never in her life spent time with a girlfriend on her birthday because it falls on Christmas Day.  My other daughter is going to her boyfriend’s house right after we have Christmas dinner. We don’t have rules and expectations born out of obligation in our family today.  We are together because we want to be and each year may bring something different and that is okay with me.

I am no longer burdened by guilt, shame or self blame when it comes to my family of origin. They made choices. I made choices too. I am filled with gratitude that I finally realized that I am allowed to make choices. I no longer have resentments either. Freedom came as a result of the work that I have done in recovery.

Wishing each of you a wonderful day filled with peace and contentment.  Whatever you find yourself doing this holiday season, take a moment to acknowledge yourself. Remember that you are worthy, that you are loveable; that you deserve equality.  We are all equally valuable.  For those of you who celebrate the birth of Christ, that is the message that Jesus came to deliver.

Thank you for being part of my blog and for sharing your journey to emotional healing and overcoming abuse, with me.

I invite you to share your Holiday time victories or struggles or whatever else you would like to share. There is always lots of feedback in this healing community.

Merry Christmas ~ Happy Holidays.                   

Love Darlene Ouimet

Related Blog Posts: On EFB ~ Thanksgiving, Christmas and Dysfunctional Families

                                 On Overcoming Sexual Abuse ~ “I’m Re-gifting Christmas”

Categories : Family

37 Comments

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[…] Posts:Christmas In Recovery From Emotional Abuse Christina Enevoldsen is cofounder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse, an online resource for male and […]

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I love this <3

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Beautiful. Thanks Darlene.Merry Christmas!

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Darlene,

I already have had the best Christmas ever!

Christmas my entire life was pure hell. My father would make sure he was the evilest over the holidays. In grade school, the day we returned from the holiday vacation, we were to share what we received for Christmas. I had to lie about the gifts I received because in reality we did not get any gifts. I was 17 the last time I was home for the holidays. Since them I have felt guilty because I was unable to spend time with my abused mother who was now receiving the brunt of his abuse because I wasn’t there to “share”. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t cry my way through Christmas.

Last year my mother was placed in a nursing home, much to my relief. I just got back from visiting her. We actually were able to visit, like a normal mother and daughter. We laughed and shared stories. She was so happy as was I.

This is the first time in 48 years I have had a wonderful Christmas. Wishes still come true, even if they take almost a half of century to come true.

Your Christmas sounds like it will be wonderful. May the true meaning of Christmas warm your heart.

5

There is so much I want to say … Christmas for me as a kid was ‘okay.’ It got to be more of an occasion of expectations than it was about giving. I don’t remember any Christmas in particular, but I do remember how I felt at Christmastime.

This year I have chosen to not have anything to do with my family. Ten years ago, when I omitted my mother from my life – Christmases started to change. I’d finally have Christmas AT HOME with my own little family without HAVING to go to my mother’s. She always WANTED us there Christmas Eve, stay the night and then spend Christmas Day with her. She hated it when I wouldn’t succumb to the staying over Christmas Eve – I wasn’t that big on being a glutton for punishment! A few hours on Christmas Day was about all I could take with her and her snide remarks and hateful or disapproving glances. It’s more than I could take.

Then for the past ten years, there was always a Christmas get-together with my Dad and his wife, with my siblings of course. Which was fine, but I could ALWAYS feel the underlying tension because of my decision to not have my abusive mother in my life. Funny thing is, its one of those things you can’t quite put your finger on until you confront everyone (which I did about 5 months ago). I know now they all carried this attitude of, ‘I wish she’d just get over it already!’ I AM SO INTENSELY GLAD THAT I AM NOT ENDURING THAT THIS YEAR!!

This year, I spend Christmas with my husband and my children. Tonight we are partaking in a huge family get-together with my in-laws. {sigh} I am loving this Christmas so much!!

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Hi Wendi,
Glad you liked it!! =) Glad you are part of this!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Hold Fast!
Thank you for sharing this victory with me and the other readers! You sound great. (and you make such an important point ~ that so often the “other victim” takes the brunt of the abuse when we remove ourselves from it… and it is no wonder why they fight so hard to keep us in the family system. When I stood up to my brother he became enraged ~ but before that he just went on and on about how I had ruined everything. I finally realized that if the problem was always ME then they should be having a party to celebrate not having to deal with ME ruining everything! LOL Of course I have come to realize that when one victim walks, somebody else is going to put up with the abuse. Abusers NEED to devalue other people so they can feel good about themselves.
Thanks for being here and for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Paulette,
Another victory post! Excellent! Thank you for sharing this today. I am really really happy that you feel so intensely glad that you are not enduring that dysfunctional family system this year.
I don’t miss any of it either.. (well although I have not seen my mother at Christmas since I was 15, I still endured all the guilt etc.) but I also don’t miss my husbands family dynamics either. Unfortunately we got it from both sides which is really too bad….. but freedom is fantastic. Living in the truth and without obligations is sweeter then anything I had ever known.
Thanks for being such a big part of EFB Paulette.
I really appreciate your contributions here
Hugs, Darlene

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I Guess this is a victory to share. I cant even imagine on any level what so ever feeling guilt for not being with my biological family. I moved out when I was 16 but stayed in touch at a distance until I was 30. When I got letters from my home I used to shake. When I was finally clear minded on cutting contact it was the best decision of my life! Holidays are what I make them. My husband is supportive and open to any of my ideas of what i want to do. We volunteer usually and eat Indian food every Christmas. Indian and Chinese restaurants are all open on Christmas in NY and since he cooks way better than any Chinese restaurant in NYC we go for Indian. And he also doesn’t make me spend tiem with his family if I dont want to. He is sweet and loving and understands my needs! God has blessed me! I have a lot of problems. But marriage is not one of them. That is where I am truly blessed!

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This came at perfect timing for me Darlene. I’ve been trying to stay happy and focus on my husband and kids during the holidays, but as you know it can be tough. I just came home from a nice lunch with my husband and my Dad’s mom was sitting in my living room waiting to talk to me….totally awkward to say the least. It was nice to get online after that and have this blog waiting for me to read. Thanks for sharing your struggles and insights because they really do help the rest of us. Merry Christmas!

9

I let go of my family who adopted me in 2001 I had to it was the hardest thing I have ever done but it was also the best thing I have done. Christmas now is calm and with good friends. I am at my friends house in California enjoy the holidays.

10

Oh my goodness, Darlene! What a FANTASTIC post (yet again!).
One thing that has irritated me over the years has been that my husband and I were always expected to make sacrifices, and it seemed often that those sacrifices were demanded feverishly, for the pure and simple purpose of being able to spurn us, ignore us and act as though there were a million things that were more important. The sad story of your visit to your Mom at 15 just resonated sooo deeply with me. And the guilt and shame we pile on ourselves when that happens – even to the point of feeling ashamed that they didn’t want to spend time with us (because of course it wasn’t their fault – how *could* they want to spend time with scum like us…. ? So went the lies) Whilst I don’t feel guilty for not spending Christmas with them any more (we went our separate ways about 7-8 yrs ago), I really needed to hear your story – it puts that whole cycle into focus for me and explains something I had not been able to see before – Yes, that *is* exactly what they were doing. And it fed their sense of superiority and reinforced my ‘place’ in the world – all within *their* warped view of the world and in particular of our relationship. WOW. What a blessing – what a Christmas gift you have just given me! HUGS and I hope your Christmas is full of peace, love, and FREEDOM!!!

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Hi Darlene,

A lot of what you wrote mirrors my own experience as well; I think one of the most empowering things for survivors of any kind of abuse is when they come to the realization that they were not alone, and that others understand the perspective of where they have been and are now. Thank you for bringing this to the surface for all of us with your blog so we feel understood and validated.

I left home when I was 18 by marrying my girlfriend in order to get our of my father’s house. I don’t say “to get out of my home”, because it wasn’t that to me. I felt like a burden, and had always known through my childhood and teenage years that leaving as soon as I could would be what I would do.

The relationship that you described with your mother is one that I think a lot of us can see aspects of in our families. It’s basically a one-sided relationship where all of the effort is going in one direction –> leaving you (us) for them. With my own mother, I know that she “learned” that way of relating from her mother, and I’m sure that probably goes back further as well. So it became a generational thing, a passed down way of relating. It doesn’t excuse it, but at least I understand it. About 5 years ago, I decided enough was enough and shut off the valve on my end. Which greatly pissed her off. But my self-esteem had been drained to the point of reaching critically low-levels, and I felt like I was heading for a disastrously bad end (s**c*d*). But it wasn’t just her crap, it was the piling on of all the other stuff from the past as well, my father’s abusiveness, the s*xual abuse of the creeps from childhood, etc. The way I described it to a therapist was that I felt like the world was spinning so fast and that it was all I could do to just hang on each day and not spin off it into outer space. Basically, I was just physically surviving, actually doing any “living” was impossible. Looking back, that breaking point of 5 years ago in which I decided to no longer allow my life to be ruled by those who expected much for nothing was the best point in my life, although at the time it seemed like the lowest point. It brought freedom and a healing that I never thought possible, it allowed me to throw off a lifetime of self-blame for all that I thought was wrong about me.

Thanks, again, Darlene, for all you do here. :)

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I love the way you process and describe the inner turmoil. Christmas can. Be a dark time for so many. For me Christmas was often ruined because everything had to be perfect. I was always getting yelled at and my mom was trying to pull off the Martha Stewart Chrismas at the expense of everyones feelings. Sure we got lots Of gifts but they didn’t make up for the hurt. I always felt bad cause i couldnt get the bows right or put the ornaments on right or help right. It was no fun and who cares if things look right if everyone is miserable! Thanks for sharing.

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Hi Jennifer!
Thanks for stopping by to share with us! Glad that this came at a good time.
Merry Christmas to you too!
Hugs Darlene

Hi Angela,
Some of the hardest things that I have ever done have been the most rewarding and beneficial to everyone in the end. Another interesting thing I discovered was that some of the difficult things I have done did not have the devastating results that I thought they would have. Not even close!
Have fun with your friends!
Merry Christmas! Hugs, Darlene

Hi Pinky
Thanks for sharing this wonderful victory! I would love to eat Indian food in NY! Your Christmas day sounds just wonderful.
Hugs, Darlene

Merry Christmas to you too Elizabeth! Thank you so much for being here and sharing on this special day!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Eddie,
You have a gift for articulating the feelings and confusion that we need to somehow understand because understanding makes it so much easier to move forward. =)
One of the big problems that I had for soooooooo long in the past is that I knew my mother learned all this (way of relating) from her own very difficult life and I felt so sorry for her that I accepted her treating me the way she did ~ so I can really relate to that. AND I hope everyone reads your comment about the piling up of so many things because that is VERY important for us to understand that is is never just one thing that is in the way. It is the layers of many things and the false definitions of love, family, respect, equality, etc. etc. all wrapped up together resulting in a toxic pit of struggle. I can totally relate to what you said about “living” being impossible. That is exactly how I felt too.
I am so glad that you shared these victories today Eddie!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Zoe
OH MY Goodness to your comment too!
YES! This is a wonderful addition to this post! Thank you for sharing! When you said “It fed their sense of superiority and reinforced “our” place in the world.” OH YES it sure did! because GOD forbid that we ever realize that we were valuable. We might “rise up” and end up being somehow “better then them”. Oh it is so pathetic.
I am so glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Gretchen
OH yes… I remember that stress too! You know I can even admit that I did some of this with my own kids when I was under all the pressure to DO everything perfect.. OH MAN, that was a horrific thing for me to realize along the recovery journey. BUT the more that I became aware, the more that I was able to relax and not be so worried. All my “perfection” issues came from being never good enough in the first place, so it stands to reason that when I realized and owned that I AM good enough, that I would stop trying to have to prove it.

I can honestly say that this is the best Christmas yet. Last night we had the most wonderful Christmas Eve; we lit a fire in the fire place and we all made food to eat in the living room near the white fibre optic Christmas tree, (because a few years ago we decided that we were going to do something REALLY untraditional with our tree choice) and some friends dropped by with gifts, and Carla, (who used to be a regular writer of EFB with me for the first 6 months) came over and we all played a hilarious game! Today so far has been amazing, loving, REAL and full of equality! I am so amazed that our kids who are all teenagers, (the oldest is 19) still want to BE with us and PLAY with us. I am truly blessed.

Thanks to everyone for posting! Happy Holidays!
Hugs, Darlene

15

Hi Darlene,

You are so very right when you mention the feeling of obligation that accompanies holidays. Holidays were always torture for me. We would usually spend them with my mom’s extended family, full of emotional abusers, so it was an emotional abuse fest!

I went no contact with my family about 8-1/2 years ago. I don’t have a family of my own and I’ve lived a very isolated existence until now (I’m slowly working to change that, though). In 2008, I spent Thanksgiving with a friend. Like you mentioned about your Christmas at 16, I didn’t feel like I belonged but I still enjoyed it. What really got to me was how kind everyone was to me, and I wasn’t even family. I wasn’t used to kindness on the holidays!

Holidays can be a beautiful time to spend with people who are loving, supportive, and appreciate us for who we are. If we don’t have that opportunity, though, spending a holiday in the company of our small immediate family or even alone (like me) is heaps better than spending it with our abusive family.

I hope everyone has a loving, sane(!) holiday weekend, wherever you spend it.

Blessings,
Rainbow

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Hi Rainbow, =)
So true! I felt the same surprise when I was treated so well by my friends family. They always treated me like I belonged; I spent most weekends there anyway. BUT I remember wondering why they were so nice to me. (and they were that same NICE to my friend, who was their own daughter too!) Deep down I thought they felt sorry for me. (I had to find some reason becuase I didn’t have the self esteem to think that I deserved for them to like me. I can flip that around too; that I didn’t ever think about WHY I deserved my own parents not to care about me. I had a dang lot of difficult and stressful Chirstmas times and I am glad that I don’t have them anymore! LOL

I had a wonderful time this Christmas. The more that time passes in recovery the better all those stressful times of the past get.
Thank you for this positive post. Thanks for sharing with us on Christmas!
I’m glad that you are part of this blog.

Hugs, Darlene

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In spite of all of my legal and other problems I am having a great holiday! 2 of my life long friends who didn’t know each other until recently just met and fell in love!They used to both complain there are no good men/women left and they found each other. So sweet!
I am having a peaceful weekend with my husband we volunteered had our Indian food which I love at Christmas time, helped my honorary niece out in her own family crisis, and are helping out at the Bowery Mission today before the big snow storm hits. They alwasy exaggerate snow here and it never sticks they just panic and shut airports ever since 911 everything is an emergency even though it is 40 degrees and nothing happened yet. The entire city has PTSD from 911.
But what I really wanted to say is every year I used to be in the hopsital for asthma , flu you name it I got it but it was really stress on Thanks giving and Christmas. It has been 16 years and I haven’t been back to the hospital. I cut contact with my family 17 years ago and I am so happy that I don’t think about them unless I have to such as seeing a report about them in the news or whatever.

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and PS had a spa day all to myself gift from my hubby!

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[…] does this resonate with you? I find this stuff MUCH harder at holiday times of the year. Please feel welcome to share your thoughts and […]

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Wonderful Darlene! I loved every word! So glad your family has such a wonderful family time and is able to give freedom to enjoy Christmas not only within the family but with friends as well!

Bright blessings!

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Thanks for sharing. It is so good to hear from someone who has endured abuse. I grew up in an abusive family (and church). This year my foster family are the ones who made Christmas a joyful and happy day/season for me.
And I even had the special priviledge of singing with my foster mom’s choir on Christmas Day this year.

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Kia,
Welcome to emerging from broken! Great to have you here. You will find lots of others here who have also endured abuse ~ some of us are living in freedom from it and some of us are in the process of dealing with it. We draw strength from each other and share our journeys, both struggle and victories.
Please share often.
Hugs, Darlene

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[…] I stayed with her and my brothers went to Montreal without […]

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Mom used to throw things back at you that you gave her, it wasn’t what she wanted. She was very childish in a lot of ways. They say you are stuck at the age when trama was introduced unless you work through it. She told me her Uncle molested her. Her Mother was also narciccistic, it wasn’t hard to see where she picked that up. My Dad’s father abused his daughters and emotionally and physically abused his sons. My Mom always said she didn’t want to be her Mom, but she was in a lot of ways, too many and same as Dad, he was tyrant a quality he hated in his Dad, but he became that too. Too bad they could see it in their parents but were unable to step back from it and do their healing work.
My four remaining siblings are narciccistic to the power of ten, so it is a no brainer to walk away, the “family” doesn’t work. They are too ahrd to be around.
My children and I got lost along the way because my emotions were all over the place for a long time and I went over the deep end. We have drawn closer the past few years. They get it now and they’re older. They see I am trying to put the pieces together again and seeing more of the Mom they used to know. That is my focus to
repair my family. To help them make some sense of it.
It is too bad my parents refused to do the healing work, my school set up a family councelling appointment but Dad ripped up the forms. I was going on to highschool the next year, so he knew it wasn’t likely they would follow up. Too bad because it might have been a game changer. It may have freed them up from their curses.
Any attempts of getting help he put a stop to, my church, a neighborhood young peoples group. He went rangy about it, absolutely not. I wondered why but her feared being revealed, they both did. That’s why the overeaction with me. Deep down they had to know they weren’t being right with me and same with my remaining siblings. Being left of the will and my siblings following it to the letter has made the break easy. Reading on narciccistic, dysfunctional, codependent, toxic families has shed a lot of light and freed me more.
I will work every day at fixing me, correcting the messages in my head when their negativity slides in. I will remember what a councellor said to me, everything you felt was wrong when you were a child, you were right. Just because they are family doesn’t mean they are safe! I will never let myself forget that again, distance is my healer and friend.

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This Christmas represents the end of my first healing year. What a journey it has been so far. Some days I wish I had never started this…. but then again, I know I couldn’t continue the way I was. This Christmas I have just not been able to get my head around the usual stuff I would do. I have done absoutely zero – no cards, no pressies, no special stuff at all. Totally de-motivated by it. I guess it is a reaction to the truth that Christmas – or what passed for Christmas in my bizarre jewish family (when I was a kid), was a sham, emotionally cold, going through the motions – keeping up appearances. I can’t do that anymore.
As an adult in my 6th decade I now have to create some new traditions – ones that actually mean something to both of us – me and my husband – and hopefully to my step-family too. My birth family are no more – so I truly have an open choice – no more emotional blackmail, no more skeletons in the cupboard, crap under the carpet.

So – I go forward and hope for better times.

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Deirdre Burnside-Weaver
December 25th, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I’m not actually sure what year of recovery I am in… feel like I have been in recovery since I was about 9! But, this year I do recognize growth and movement and best of all, some serenity. I can embrace my dark past because it pointed out the way to sanity. My yellow brick road.
I am grateful to have my life, to live as I like. I am incredibly blessed with a loving husband and a tender daughter. I am also feeling some amount of tenderness towards my parents, from afar of course. I forgive them for me…because I only want to have loving feelings in my heart and body. I know we are all made up of good and bad. Yin and Yang is balance. Learning how to gracefully balance your life.
Sending love and light to you, Darlene, and everyone else!

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Hi Mary
Thanks for sharing this! Good for you.
I have made so many repairs with my family and kids now. I also believe that this will make the difference and is my focus too.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Libby
Yay for getting that first year of healing and sticking with it! There have been days that I wish that I never started it too, but wow the good sure outweights the bad! Thank you for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Deirdre
YAY for growth and movement and esp. serenity! That is awesome. Thank you for sharing today
Love and light to you as well.
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Darlene,

I thank you for posting this. I’ ve posted before about my relationship with my mother so I won’ t go into detail here but suffice to say that this blog has helped me to validate my feelings. I’ve avoided my family for the past 2 Christmases but this year will be spent with them. I also felt the guilt over the last 2 years. That said, I WILL be spending it with them under MY terms. It took a while for me to get here and I’ ve been struggling to find what MY terms were…turns out, one of my nieces has offered to have everyone over tonight, including my mother so we can all avoid going to her house tomorrow. She wasn’t happy about that but that’ s not my problem…though I have to resist the urge to go over and at least have coffee with her in the morning. I’ m pretty sure her friends will do their best to guilt me because she will cry to them about how awful her children treat her. Never mind the fact that she neglected us and was always selfseeking in her parenting, among other things. Anyway, just wanted to thank you for your guidance and heartfelt explanations of how this all happens. If I could donate, I would right now…Will do this in the coming months…Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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Hi Joyce
Due to the nature of this website and my work, I am not going to publish your comments as I believe that they will offend and cause emotional harm the other readers. I understand that you are not very familiar with what we are talking about here having just read one post. Here is a link to a post (one of many) that I recently wrote that addresses what you wrote to me;
http://emergingfrombroken.com/when-family-or-friends-say-mean-and-hurtful-things/
This website is about standing up to abuse. It is about overcoming the damage caused by neglect, abuse and both physical and emotional trauma. It is about teaching love in a loving way. Thank God my kids are watching me.
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Lisa,
Merry Christmas! Good for you.
Hugs, Darlene

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I’m going to xmas at mum’s house today who i haven’t spoken to in over a year, I feel sick wish me luck.

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Christmas was always difficult in my family for all the reasons previously stated. I have always
dreaded it as in our house growing up it was NOT a happy time. I was always forced to put on a happy face and pretend that everything was wonderful when it was far from true.
This month makes one year for me on EFB. It has been a year of amazing information and
support from this group. I know my truth now. I know what happened to me. With all your help
I have begun to heal and change thought and behavior patterns. I really do feel better. The old
tightness in my chest is gone. The self hatred and blame. I have let go of most of it. I plan to
work on coping methods next year and changing my response to stress which seems to flip my switch to bad coping. But now I feel that moment of choice that I never felt before. To not choose
to a self harm but to channel that feeling a different way.
You all have been with me on my journey and I thank you.
Best wishes for a Happy Holiday. Karen

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Hey Everyone,
I published a new Chistmas post ~ you can read it here: http://emergingfrombroken.com/christmas-with-or-freedom-from-dysfunctional-families/
Hugs and happy holidays to all!
Darlene

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Hi Karen,
Thanks for your post!! YAY. I love comments like this expressing healthy self growth and self love!
Happy HOlidays!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Nikki
Please take care of yourself and remember that you deserve love and respect!
Hugs, Darlene

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” We don’t have rules and expectations born out of obligation in our family today. We are together because we want to be and each year may bring something different and that is okay with me.”

Yes!!! This year I am not spending any time with my parents or other family. It is just my husband, I and our sons. I have also had some get togethers with dear friends who are also surviours. My husband and I are doing things so differently this Christmas. I has a moment of PTSD/Dissocation but I was able to take care of myself and it passed quickly. My husband was also there for me. This is the best Christmas I have ever had because I feel safe and loved. My own family, husband, son’s, and freind’s are safe and loved. I never thought I would have the life I have now. Safe :)

I also had relgious abuse from a christian home and I have been working on knowing/feeling what you wrote about equality. Younger parts of me are healing the thoughts/feelings that God favors abusers and now knowing God never wanted me to be abused.
Hugs to you Darlene and Merry Christmas

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