A Collective of memoirs by J.S. about Trauma + Mental Health + Abuse + Healing.
#christmas #boundaries #holidays #trauma
This holiday season, you might be thinking:
"God. This year I need to set boundaries" as you catch your breathe and grip for another panic attack.
Maybe you just got off the phone with a parent or someone in the family. You have confirmed plans that make you feel uneasy.
That punch the wind out of you.
Maybe you will have to see an Aunt or Uncle who growing up always made you feel pathetic or like a problem.
Maybe there will be too many people drinking and being unfiltered or just one drunk relative who pushes everyones buttons but especially pushes yours.
Maybe you feel unwelcome and like a stranger even though it's a place you have known most of your life.
Or maybe it will all just be hard.
-----> The holiday season.
It brings anxiety and depression in my stocking.
Worried I wont be able to play santa because I dont have enough to give.
Worried I will disappoint people or my own kids.
Worried when I leave the house because god so much can go wrong.
My anxiety goes through the roof when we get in the car and travel through icy roads. As I clutch the passenger seat and close my eyes, I feel sick from the motions and the noises.
I feel anxious about being in other peoples houses.
I have panicky thoughts like:
■ Did I dress ok?
■ Will my kids behave?
■ Will anyone get drunk?
■ Do I pass as happy?
■ Will anyone notice we couldn't bring much?
■ Will we be able to sneak out early?
Of course I hide during the holiday season. I want nothing more than to be in my little room back home.
Because so many things trigger me.
The loud screams and laughter.
Loud bangs or noises from the busy road outside.
People swinging their hands around and animated as they speak.
Sharp carving knives at the table for the big turkey or brisket.
The big, heavy tree filled with glass keepsakes that the kids keep running right up against.
The cat that bites and is not afraid to beat someone up on christmas ;)
Should I wear shoes or take them off?
Will my kids break anything or make too much noise?
Will the families clash?
Will anyone ask me what I do for a living?
Worse...will no one ask me a gosh darn thing?
So many things will inevitably trigger me and I will need to visit the bathroom at least 4 times to calm down.
FACT: I wear outfits that are super easy/practical to maneuver and I bring an extra outfit in my purse.
I'm too afraid il spill something or need to use the bathroom or have a kid RIP my stockings.
I'm too afraid the outfit on my body will let me down in some way.
Anxiety wraps my body round like a warm, itchy sweater.
And I keep saying to myself, "gosh darn, M F boundaries. Make em. Keep em."
But then I don't.
I let my imploding party of 1 hang tight in my head.
I make sure I don't inconvenience anyone else.
I make sure I barely eat or touch anything of someone else's.
And I've wondered where all of this has come from.
Why I'm so "crazy" during this season especially.
To be honest, it took until recently to "remember", even though as a woman with PTSD from abuse ---> I'm a walking shutterfly album of my worst times in history.
I realized that every year as a CHILD since I could remember, I was made to be seen and not heard.
I was made to feel grateful someone even wanted to be around me. Welcome me.
My mother made sure I never felt welcome, but instead a burden.
If I took a full plate, she would say that could have fed someone else.
If I dressed any way, she would tell me things like "you gained a little weight, I see" or "I wish I was as full as you and not so skinny." [I was less than 100 lbs until age 16].
My father did not have much money or anything to give. He made sure to give me experience gifts.
Like hanging out late nights at Starbucks or 711 with HIS friends. Til one or two am.
Like going to get toys at the hobby store. "You don't mind picking things out now right?" And then pushing me to pick out what he desired to play with or show people he got for me "on Christmas".
When I became emancipated from my parents and was staying with family, I felt so out of place and not because of anything ANYONE else did.
Everyone was loving and happy to have myself and my daughter around.
As a single mom of 17, I felt awkward wherever I went.
I didnt want anyone to ask me anything.
Not where the dad was....
Not what my plans were...
Not what I "do now"...
Not any small talk about the weather because they don't actually care what I am up to or how I am getting by.
And then there was the year that no one invited me anywhere. At last, I was just on my own. So I took my 6 year old to NYC on Christmas Day but train and we spent the entire day walking in matching red peacoats and fuzzy hats.
Being alone for Christmas was the most simple and beautiful experience I ever had.
Even though I was in a giant city, in the cold, with little money and no one familiar around me ----> I had zero anxiety that day.
I felt in charge and in control. I felt safe while abandoned.
All this time, through rediscovering my insecurities and pain points..
I thought I needed to just set boundaries.
The real conversation that had to be had was with myself and all about self worth.
I never felt worthy enough to make demands.
I HAVE ALWAYS VIEWED ME HAVING PREFERENCES AS ME BEING DEMANDING.
What a sad thing, to blow out your own desires because you think needing something sets fire to the lessons you learned as a child.
That quiet means humble.
That subtle means poised.
That starving means manners.
That uncomfortable means polite.
I've had to REPARENT myself as the solution.
Boundaries are now looking like LOVING MYSELF.
Finding out what makes me feel GOOD and what makes me feel BAD.
Then copy and paste.
Copy and paste.
Copy and paste.
This holiday season, we ironically are not going anywhere.
Due to unexpected events [and nothing bad happened] our usual annual plans are canceled.
So this time I am going to be sitting with myself, doing some intentional journaling and processing.
Im going to flip through my memories and rewrite them.
I'm going to redefine myself, honoring my needs.
But I'm also going to do the harder thing.
I'm going to take anxiety off.
And examine what needs to be done by me in order to not wear it so willingly.
I'm going to set boundaries with myself and also have open conversations with my partner.
For the first time ever actually.
Because anxiety is anything but silent.
And I've sat quiet for far too long. ♡
J.S. Jaded Savior
Content mention of Rape, Abuse, Neglect, Addictions, Mental Illness, Kidnap, Molestation, Child abuse, Teen Pregnancy, Abortion, birth, body image, gender/identity dysphoria, sexuality, personal trauma, domestic violence and other extremely personal stories. Please practice caution. I am not a licensed physician or mental health professional. No medical prescribing is provided on this site, Only personal insights, experience stories, and advice; All stories published have had prior authorization. Questions? Contact Jean at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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