It's The Most Triggering Time Of The Year!

Resilience Coach, LaErica Townsend

The holidays are a time for celebrating and spending time with your family. But for many it's an emotionally challenging time of the year. One of the great things about being married is creating your own family with your spouse and children but for many married women that are dealing with unhealed childhood trauma the holidays become stressful, filled with anxiety and triggering on many levels. So, for your family and children this is an exciting and whimsical time of year, while for you it’s a dark reminder of a childhood memory of abuse or a traumatic experience. Your spouse may not understand that you don’t enjoy family gatherings because it reminds you of the uncle who took advantage of you one Thanksgiving while visiting your grandmother. Your children won’t understand that you dread Christmas morning because it reminds you of seeing your mom watch you open Christmas gifts with a black eye. However, it doesn’t have to be that way and you can reclaim the holidays and truly enjoy them.


Here are 3 Tools to help you survive the holidays:


1. Write Down a “Holiday Security List”

This list should be about what you need to feel safe this holiday season. Maybe you need to be excused from holiday gatherings or perhaps you need some extra attention while your children spend time with their father who once abused you. Or maybe you need your spouse to be willing to listen and validate your feelings when having a rough moment. Whatever you DO NOT be afraid to ask for it and communicate it with someone that will support you.


2. Create new traditions.

Childhood trauma can be triggered easily during the holidays by music, decorations, even food. Give yourself permission to purge from those triggers. Find alternative decorations, go on YouTube and look for new Holiday music. Or go on Pinterest and find recipes for different holiday meals. Whatever you choose to do just know that it's okay to create your own version of the holidays.


3. Celebrate You sis.

Holidays are usually shared with loved ones but you someone being triggered by childhood trauma it can feel lonely, so instead of focusing on those memories that bring up unwanted feelings focus on celebrating you and all that you have accomplished personally and in your marriage. Buy yourself a special gift, spend time doing healing activities that you enjoy.


Remember it's okay to say NO. It's okay to leave early. It's totally fine to create boundaries and enforce them. It's okay to put your mental health and well-being first. Self-care is super important if you struggle this time of the year. So be kind to yourself in whatever way this looks like for you. While you are entertaining family members and creating ways to show them you love and appreciate them, remember you cannot pour from an empty glass. Being good to yourself allows to be a better wife, a better mother and a better all-around person. Reclaim the holidays and make them about what makes you feel comfortable and safe. Holidays are about lasting memories so be intentional and create positive ones that your children can carry on.



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Resilience Coach, LaErica Townsend

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