Welcome back blog readers,
With the holiday season in full swing (today is Christmas Eve), I know that many of us will be enjoying time with our families/friends while many others are excluded for various reasons.
If you are part of the Black Sheep, Scapegoat, Loner club (myself included), then this portion of the post is for you.
With so many toxic people living on this planet, it only stands to reason that some of them are our family members. While we can’t choose who our biological family is, we can choose who we consider family. Maybe you have a few very close friends, maybe you have a few awesome co-workers, maybe it’s just you and your dog. All of these are very good options if those you surround yourself with bring you joy and have your best interest in mind.
You are under no obligation to spend time with family that is toxic, if they are always negative, insulting, putting you down or make you feel uncomfortable in any way. I know it’s natural to crave the attention/affection from your family, but when they only cause you to stress, heartache, anxiety, and you’re walking on eggshells you’re just setting yourself up for another disappointing encounter. You don’t need that negativity.
Find your TRIBE, find other outcasts and misfits that can relate, but more importantly, want to be there for you and genuinely enjoy your company. If you haven’t found your tribe, that’s okay too.
If you don’t want to be alone for the holidays you can,
* Volunteer your time preparing/serving food at shelters, VFW, churches
* Spend time at a nursing home playing card games or Bingo
* Volunteer at an animal shelter, they need company and a meal too. Plus it’s a great way to destress. A good option if you have social anxiety and just don’t like people.
The point is, that there are so many people (homeless, veterans, elderly and animals) that are also just as lonely and don’t have a family. They would love the company/companionship for a few hours.
If you are going to attend a family holiday event and feel that you can’t participate in the gift-giving, that’s okay too. The gift-giving should really be just for the kids, in my opinion. Know that your presence is a present in itself. Don’t worry about the adults if they are the ones giving you grief, go and spend time with the kids. The kids are more likely to be in better spirits and less judgemental. Help them get their new toys out of the packages, help them put batteries in the noisemakers, play their new board game or console game because the other adults will be “too busy” to spend time with them. Kids won’t remember what they got for Christmas a few years from now, they will remember that you took the time to play with them, you were the cool adult.
Those of us that have endured trauma or suffer from PTSD/C-PTSD are more likely to also be “people pleasers” for the sake of keeping the peace. I can relate to that. You don’t have to say YES to everything. I know it’s hard to say NO, but for the sake of your sanity you must learn. You are allowed to set boundaries. You are allowed to be firm that when you say NO, you are respected and don’t cave in. It took me decades to be comfortable enough to say no and mean it. I’m better through text and email when I have more time to think about my response. Doing it in person is harder, but I have a few successes under my belt. Each one builds more confidence.
Those the get upset when you say NO (adults, not kids), they are NOT your friend or have your best interest in mind. Those are the ones you have to be firm with and not give an inch. Those that care about you will understand and might even acknowledge the fact that you are sticking up for yourself. It’s quite liberating when you say No and there is no confrontation, it’s just accepted for what it is. Gets you thinking why didn’t I do this sooner.
Anyway, whatever your situation is at this time of year I hope that you surround yourself with people that bring you joy. You are not alone! You don’t have to be alone, get out there and find your tribe!
Happy Holidays, wishing you all the very best in 2020!~Hannah