Many of us who suffered through emotional abuse feel our sorrow more intensely during the holiday season. As we see families come together in love and support, we’re reminded of the happiness we lost.
But did we really lose it? Or did we simply lose the image of what we’d hoped for, that was never to be? Often, holidays with emotional predators were as painful, and perhaps more so, than any other day. But we experience grief, none-the-less. Our anguish can be more about the fantasy we’d envisioned, that will never be fulfilled, and we need to let it go.
By focusing on the reality that we were simply being played in a game of smoke and mirrors, we can free ourselves to experience new found pleasure in the friendships that endured, and create new traditions of joy that we can weave into the fabric of our lives.
For many of you who read my memoir, Carnal Abuse by Deceit, you can understand why hearing Christmas music, particularly songs that were popularized by Elvis or any other country singer, used to trigger very painful thoughts for me. It took me several years, and writing my book, to disassociate with that connection. Today, I welcome the sounds that once spiraled me into depression, as a reminder of my reclaiming my life.
It’s truly wonderful to have family and friends around us that are supportive, but some of us are simply not so lucky, and experience a pervasive loneliness this time of year. If you find yourself focusing on loss, reach out… find a woman’s shelter, a senior center, a soup kitchen or other supportive volunteer effort and roll up your sleeves. The magic of giving to others is often the best tonic to transform our own spirit.
Sir Winston Churchill coined a phrase spread even further by tennis great, Arthur Ashe. I’m paraphrasing, but it goes something like this….
“What you get provides you with a living, what you give provides you with a life.”
To reclaim your life, don’t sit alone, isolated by your losses. There’s a world out there that needs you.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, or any other spiritual or non-spiritual holiday, I wish you a new tradition of joy, for now and every other day of the coming year! Hoping you have the best holiday season, ever!
Originally posted 12/23/2014