Let's Talk Holidays

Gail - posted on 12/20/2009 ( 1 mom has responded )




Well the time of year I dread the most has arrived. I'm flooded with memories of how abusive my father was on Christmas Day and despite the fact that it's been over 20 years I can't escape it.

So many of my friends from similar backgrounds told me that once they had children it all changed for them as they could be the one in control. Well it hasn't happened for me at all. I am horribly depressed (more than usual, that is) from just before Thanksgiving (which I also can't abide for the same reason) until after the trees are off the streets. I also live in a country where carp is the traditional Christmas meal so there are large basins of carp everywhere manned with people gutting the fish and blood running in the gutters. Something which compounds the depression of this vegetarian tenfold.

I would like nothing more than for my Dutch/Danish partner to take our son away to be with his side of the family where they have beautiful customs and leave me in peace. He says his place is by my side. As romantic as that sounds it actually adds to my stress. I feel like I must A) pretend to be happy so that my son will never have the nightmarish memories I have or B) be completely open and honest with him but diminish his holiday experience. I don't see how I can win this one.

A few years ago I decided to take some action and started hosting a "Non-Holiday Party." Contrary to some peoples' take that it's an Anti-Christmas party it's rather just a...well...party. There's music, food, fun people - but no, tree, no gifts, no Christmas music, no mention of holidays at all. It's a place to go if normally you would be curled up alone on Christmas Day being depressed. A place where you can have a good time and not worry about being bombarded with Santa.

My holiday-loving partner and some friends are not over-enthused about it but I think recognize it's value as many people have shown up over the last few years.

However, my three-year-old really enjoys the things about the holiday season which seem to make so many others happy. I've been thinking a lot about faking it but I just don't know. My partner and I talked about it and we're going to try to create our own personal version this year. I can't handle anything associated with a "traditional" Christmas so tree, decorations, standard meal, presents, carols, red and green, overall merriment, etc trigger me into a suicidal depression. My sweetie and I agreed on some kind of greenery as our son really likes them. My original thought was a mop with a green sock on top of it but instead we compromised on a plant :-) The two of them can decorate it with drawings, we'll have gifts for him, eat something together but not go to too much trouble and talk about Jesus (we're Christian). Joost has his cultural and familiar traditions which I really like and of course hold no memories for me so those are fine.

This was a hunky dorey agreement until a couple of days ago when I crashed badly. My faith is the only thing that has ever kept me from topping myself and it was so damn hard the other day to withstand the temptation of the pills in my house. Instead I spent the day hysterical in bed with a butcher knife (just holding it) and praying for it all (the holidays and the pain) to be over. I tried thinking what was better: successfully faking it and giving him good memories, faking it and crumbling and giving him memories of visiting Mama in the sanatorium or being with him, doing the best I can but being true to myself by removing myself if I feel I'm going under.

Today he asked his father why mama was crying? I just tell him honestly that like him, I cry when I'm sad. He was fine with that.

This is horrific. I feel like the worst mother and a weak and pathetic human being. And I fucking loathe my father.

Anyway, just needed to vent that. Thank you for listening.

How are you guys doing?

Gail :-/


Tiffany - posted on 12/28/2009




Gail I am so sorry that you are struggling so much! I wish I would have read this before the holiday. How did you do? Were you able to handle it okay?

I cant give you advice because you have to do what feels right for you. It sounds like the memories are so strong for you that you need to do something to survive and not get pulled under by all of this. I think what you described were good solutions as far as the plant with the drawlings and just giving him presents.

I hope you remembered both for yourself and for your son that Jesus is the reason for the season and were able to focus on that side of the celebration. He is with you Gail even now. Just as he was with you then keeping you alive durring your abuse. Focus on him and believe and I know you will make it through. Focus on your blessings. Your partner and your lovely son.

If your not already in therapy please go. You once congratulated me on going and though I find it extremely difficult to go I know it will help in the long run. Though time wont erase the memories maybe it (coupled with therapy) can erase the pain attached. One of my favorite sayings from support group is Suffering= Pain + Resistance. The girls in my support group explained this as a way to sit with things. It we fight the pain when it comes it will drown us and cause us more suffering then necessary. If we go with it, acknoledge that it is there, and then move on we dont hurt ourselves as much.

It is a difficult concept to grasp in the face of pain and even harder to apply but I think it just helps me to acknowledge the pain instead of trying to bury it.

I dont know if that helps at all but I hope and pray that you are doing okay and I will say a prayer for you. God Bless

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