If we have unresolved trauma from our childhoods (we all have some trauma), then holiday seasons can be tricky to manage and navigate.
We might feel triggered into a younger version of ourselves within the family system, and this might feel really uncomfortable.
Some little tips that can be helpful are:
1) Remembering that trauma is not our fault. It is not our fault that we feel triggered either. We are having an unconscious physiological response to something that our system perceives as danger. It is out of our control. It is not our fault.
2) Maintaining as many boundaries that work for us as possible. Our family might not understand boundaries – but we need to put them in despite that. Boundaries are to keep us safe. If other people don’t like our boundaries, that doesn’t mean the boundaries are “wrong”, it just means the other people don’t respect boundaries.
3) Keeping in contact with friends who are non-judgmental, kind and inclusive. Making sure we spend time with these people too.
4) If we feel triggered, moving the body can be very helpful. Walking, dancing, shaking. Singing is good too – belt out some carols! Removing ourselves from the triggering situations as much as we can is really important.
5) If we know situations will trigger us, we are permitted to avoid them completely. If this feels too difficult, then limiting the time we spend in them, and celebrating when we leave by doing something really lovely for ourselves.
6) Remembering that the holiday season does end. And that we can end it earlier than it naturally ends if we need to.
Author: Lucinda Gordon Lennox
Trauma Specialist MSc (Reg MBACP, FDAP Accred)