What Is It About the Holidays?
The holidays are approaching and yet so many have such heavy hearts, as we approach the season of giving. How do you give when you're running on empty? How do you spread cheer and goodwill when all you feel is sadness and dread? The feeling of being surrounded by happy people seem to make your inner anger intensify. You relate more with the Grinch than anyone. Scrooge and his, "Bah! Humbug" attitude seem to express how some feel as the holidays are approaching.
I relate as a griever, and the holidays would be on the horizon. I just could not muster up the good feelings, joy, and happiness. A piece of me was missing and no matter what I tried, I just couldn't find the joy in the holidays. I hated that feeling, as I had small children who needed me to be happy, joyful and filled with all that Christmas magic. So, like many, I wore the mask - for years, I put on that mask and tried my best to just be happy, for their sake.
A few years back, on Christmas day, it snowed. There was something about having a White Christmas - living in Texas, we rarely saw snow during the winter, but to have it on Christmas morning, it seemed like a gift from Heaven to me. It was my first Christmas after my mom had died. My kids were all grown, and with that said, there were no little feet pitter-pattering up the hallway to see the bounty that Santa had left. The house was empty, the turkey was in the oven for the Christmas meal we would soon gather and share. This morning, little did I know, would be the magical Christmas and the gifts of the spirit would fill me for the first time in my life.
I sat in the early morning, the meal prep was completed, and I was staring out the back door, sipping coffee, and watching the magic of snowflakes falling. The glistening of the fallen snow as the sun came up took my breath! I felt a presence that morning and it was hard to describe. My mind raced back in time to my own childhood. The pain instantly returned as I recalled the many years of Christmas mornings, when my mom had already loaded the gifts in the before we awoke. There was rarely a tree put up, no smells of turkey or ham cooking. Santa never came to our house to leave gifts, and we headed out the door to visit family, and there, we would open the gifts.
Usually at my oldest sister's home, or at my aunt's house. My mind pondered as to why my mom never had Christmas at our house. Then it hit me - the alcoholic who was in and out of our lives, destroyed Christmas. The fault-finding of the meal she got up early to prepare was ridiculed, or torn apart. The gifts she worked so hard to select, were ripped apart, depstroyed and we had broken toys to open. You may ask yourself, "Why would anyone stay in a relationship like that?" It was all based in FEAR. The constant walking on egg shells, not to set him off. The desperation to maintain the peace, and not rock the boat, so you can avoid the beating for the day. The list goes on.
The fact that I was deceived for all those years about why I dreaded Christmas had finally emerged. It was all based in fear and trauma. The piece of me that was missing was not a person, it was something much deeper than that ... It was all the trauma I never healed. It was still living, breathing, and controlling my life somehow. I never even realized it until that Christmas morning. It was an 'Ah-Ha' moment for me. My sadness was lifting a bit now, and I knew I had some inner work to do if I was ever going to be happy on Christmas morning without having the fake it by mustering up a mask to hide behind.
One by one, my grown children had arrived with their families. All smiling, filled with love and plenty of hugs to around. It was my last Christmas in the house I had raised them in. I left, filed for divorce the following year. My 33 year marriage had ended, I was so filled with hurt, and I realized my inner hurt was spilling over to the ones I loved the most. I knew I needed to take some action if I was ever going to change. I was on a mission to change, heal and recover all that had been taken. It has been quite the journey to say the least.
I discovered my own codependency, and worked my steps, made my ammends, and stayed in contact with my sponcer. I enrolled in counseling, only to discover my counselor wanted to make me feel better by prescribing me some pills - I never filled that prescription. I saw it as yet another maks to hide behind. I read about the possible side effects, and told myself I had to be the one to keep digging for my healing. I went through the Grief Recovery Method and finally, I had found the answers. I had no idea of all the components that unresolved grief can do to a person's heart. I began my works, and continue to this very day to heal the heart and find my way back to a life, a love, and happiness I had never known before.
I discovered the spiritual (NOT Religion) aspects of grief, the healing, and restoration that comes from a much higher power. I did the work and took more action as I made more ammends, and I forgave a monster who took my safety as a child. I was able to see the why that my mother always took him back, it's known today as Trauma Bonding. I saw that I too had been guilty of that pattern, and I forgave myself, and my ex-husband.
This, by far, was the greatest gift I had ever given myself. The gift of true, genuine healing. I stay amazed at the power of healing - to be sincere about doing my own inner work in order not spill over the hurt I may carry. Now I see grief inside of others everywhere I go. Whether it be to the grocery store, the park, and even here on a social media platform. People lashing out, filled with hurt, anger, resentment. Yeah, that used to be me too. I relate, and I am grateful for the tools I can use to this day, not to react to those angry souls.
I know you see it too - just look around the world at the political views ... You'll see it. Drive by your local cemetery - you'll see it. Pause for a moment, and really look deeply into the eyes of someone who has been through some tough times in life - you'll see it. Try looking into the eyes of the homeless. The little boy or girl playing by themselves at the park ... you'll see it. Grief doesn't spare children either - it always starts with them.
I write this, not to enroll clients, but to try to create an awareness that we are all feeling the grief in the world around us. It's dealing with us all because we don't have the right tools to deal with it. We did like we were told, don't feel bad, give it time - we replaced the loss - we were strong for others - we stayed busy - we isolated. How's that working for everyone?
Chances are you may have turned to business, workaholism, alcohol, drugs, shopping, working out, fantasy, video games, gambling, eating, sleeping, or not eating or sleeping. You are doing anything you can to avoid the pain ... You're not crazy, you're human. Like most, you are applying all that logic to try to heal your heart. You're brain isn't what's broken, your heart is broken.
Healing starts with a decision. The bickering, finger-pointing, blaming, and hate starts within each of us - Just look inside of yourself and ask some questions ... Who told you that you weren't good enough? Who said you were fat/skinny? When did you learn to hate someone because