Divorce From Copeless Holidays

sadxmas.png

Originally published on https://tori509.wordpress.com/ 

Dear Divorced Kids,

The holiday seasons use to be my favorite. As a child, I remember being so ecstatic because of the food on Thanksgiving and the gifts from Christmas. I also remember those memories being the greatest because my whole family would come together and it was always a good time. After my parents divorced, holidays became something that in my heart I looked forward, too but logically I dreaded. Every year was and is different so I always had this fear of something bad happening. Sometimes our parents would split Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sometimes one would keep us longer than the other. Sometimes we spent both holidays with one parent. Sometimes I expected more, other times I accepted that every holiday would be dramatic and filled with more tears and less laughter.

This year as the holidays came around I felt this happiness that I hadn’t felt in a while but, that vanished shortly after some things happened in my family. It was a feeling I can’t describe. But strange enough, after I got home from break, I realized it is slightly still here. That’s why i decided to write a blog post, for my divorced kids.

How to cope with the pain during the holidays.

Whoever is reading this, you don’t have to be apart of a divorced family to understand. Because I know that although a family may not be cut off or split it still could be broken and toxic. As A child- and even now, the holidays were always seen to be fun, full of Joy, and great memories. Over the years i’ve realized that the holidays is what You make it. Yes, our family has a factor in how we feel and how certain things go but for the things, you can take control of—– Take It.

Things you can take control of:

1. Expectations: We all set high or low expectations based on situations and even people. In this case, there is a general expectation of what the holidays should be like. There is also an expectation in your heart of what the holidays will be like this year, based on past experience. Erase those negative thoughts and make space for new ones. I found myself telling myself that this would be a good holiday season even after my positive feeling vanished. Whatever change you want to see try to make it happen. Make sure it’s realistic so you are not heartbroken if it doesn’t follow through. For example, I told myself that this holiday season I want my siblings to have no time to dwell on the pain we are experiencing. Therefore whenever we get a chance to laugh, we laugh. I see the impact it’s having on them especially my sister. Find something that makes you happy ( a positive something) and use that to help get your mind off of the negative thoughts.

That uncle that teases you every year because you don’t have a boyfriend, expect that and prepare for your response. That dish your mom always forces you to eat but it’s gross, brace yourself and think of how you can tell your kids about that awful dish when you get older (no offense mom). Do whatever you have to to make your holiday season run smoothly because you deserve to be happy just as much as anyone else is during the holidays.

2. Be open-minded and willing to make new memories. The old days may have been the golden days- or the dark days. Whichever it is, that it is in the past. I know certain songs, smells, colors, or even foods may remind you of the past but when it does don’t dwell on it. How will there be room to make new memories when all your headspace is in the past? I’m not saying to make a mental blockage because the past is good and helps us to move forward and grow. What I’m saying is sometimes dwelling on things that are emotionally heavy for us can change our mood and even outlook at a positive moment. Try to refrain from that.

3. Give yourself time. It’s okay to hate the holidays. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to need a moment to cry or think about the past. It’s okay to talk about how your feeling. It’s okay to laugh through the tears. It’s okay to cry to the point of no speech. I don’t think people realize that a happy moment for some isn’t a happy moment for all. I know my parent’s divorce affects how my holidays are and how I feel about the holidays. I don’t know if your parents recently divorced, are in the process of divorcing, if your family is cutting you off, if your favorite cousin doesn’t talk to you anymore, if your family has you labeled as the outcast: I don’t know what’s going on through the minds of any of my readers, but I can tell you this from experience. Hiding how you truly feel by telling yourself you’re okay or you need to be happy so everyone else can have a good time….. Does. Not. Work.

Give yourself time to feel how you need to. Talk to that person you trust. But don’t stay in that funk forever. Feel. Accept. Release. Move forward. Through every moment of this holiday season use these four steps and see if it helps you through the good and bad.

Feel however you need to ( happy, sad, confident, angry, loving, hateful, Or irritated) 

Accept ( the pain, the love, the laughter, the tears, the hurt, the anger, the irritation, the peace, or the sorrow) 

Release ( talk about it, cry about it, write about it, sing about it, laugh about it, draw about it, make a collage about it, or scream from the top of your lungs outside about it)

Move forward ( take slow deep breaths until you find your Zen-  download the calm app for free and take a moment to meditate that helps calm my nerves, and then move on to the next memory that is waiting for you to accept) 

Holidays may and may not be something you look forward to, but I’ll tell you this: No day is promised. Through the hurt- the confusion- the sorrow- the pain- through the tears- and the fake smiles- find your peace. Find your peace in Jesus. Through any storm simple and large He is the one person I know that is capable of not only calming it but maintaining the damage after. Let Him give you peace.

Try to refrain from playing the blame game. Everyone is trying to cope through the changes of life. As old as our parents may seem, even they are trying to figure things out. Don’t be too hard on them and don’t be too hard on yourselves. Divorced kids, it’s not your fault. The discombobulation comes with the change of events. Be patient. Things will get better.

I love you all and I truly hope this helped someone. I know what it’s like to be afraid of what the holidays hold. I pray this year will be better for all of you.  Don’t be discouraged.

Erica JonesComment