When Family celebrations book up the calendar, it’s understandable if anxiety, stress, and worry come with it too. During Christmas time, there’s a huge rise in these types of emotions and it can be a very challenging time to get through. Not to mention also, that end of year fatigue means the worries tend to pack a bit more of a punch.
I have certainly felt it for myself, and I share with you here some of the things I’ve been working through over the last month to not only feel comfortable with Christmas celebrations with the family, but to enjoy it.
Every family has something. There’s maybe a family member that says the most uncomfortable things. There’s maybe a family member that ignores you completely. There’s maybe a family member that doesn’t contribute as much as you give. There maybe something completely different, but it gets to you in a way that you just can’t explain. When you’re around them, you feel emotions just bubbling under the surface and it’s hard to know how to respond. You might even experience a fight, flight, or flee kind of situation.
Understand first- the way family dynamics work is very habitual in behaviour. We grew up through ever stage of our lives with our families. Whether that be our parents, one parent, brothers, sisters, or a family setting completely unique. Either way- we build our patterns and behaviours very early in our lives when we’re children and these same behaviours are carried into adulthood.
Basically- the way you respond, the anxious feelings you’re feeling about seeing your family on Christmas day, is likely a feeling that hasn’t been validated from your childhood. What does this look like in adulthood? The way in which we feel in response to certain things that are done or said, comes from that little place inside you that didn’t feel loved when you were a child.
It also doesn’t necessarily mean you had a challenging upbringing. You can still absolutely have a life full of love with all the support you needed growing up. Know that one little thing, and it might’ve been the smallest act, can create a traumatic response for the child version of you.
It could be the way something was said and how your little ears perceived it. It could be the way in which you were disciplined, and your child-like nature received it critically. It could be that you received love, but it wasn’t in the way in which you needed it at that very time.
ALL these moments could absolutely show up in ways where your adult self has an emotional response to something. It’s all relative to your experience and it’s all valid.
I have a blended family situation where my parents divorced when I was 11 (such a challenging age) and my parents both moved onto different families. I then had to feel my way through having a Stepfather, stepbrothers, and stepsisters as well as my family being separated over New Zealand and Australia. There are MANY times during my teenage years where I didn’t feel the love I needed. I wasn’t in 1 place at 1 time, and I was very unstable.
I notice now as an adult, the biggest thing that plays up for me is my separation anxiety. A month ago, I started to feel this anxiety rising in me every time I thought about Christmas day celebrations and thought about the moment my Mum gives more attention to my Stepfamily.
I know that this is coming from the little 12-13-14 year old girl in me who suddenly had to share her Mum with other kids.
Please know that everyone has a story from their upbringing that impacts on their adult emotional state. You are certainly not alone and everything that you feel is completely valid!! Particularly around Christmas time when it’s the season for family time and celebration, that obligation can bring all of these feelings to the surface.
It’s absolutely okay!
Know that It coming up is actually a good thing. I know- I know! It doesn’t feel like it!! It is however coming to the surface to be healed.
If you can meet this family resistance and discomfort with love and willingness to heal, know that you can too, and it will help you forever! We can absolutely heal family wounds through the PRESENT.
Through being very present with what is arising within you, acknowledging, and accepting the feelings you have, it allows you to choose a new perspective.
From the grounded place of you as an adult, you can validate these little feelings that were inside of you when you were a child- without resentment for your parents doing what they felt they needed to do to survive what was happening at the time.
For my situation, I can either stay in resentment for my Mum not giving me love, for my Mum giving (in my perspective) more attention to blending the family of stepbrothers and sister, OR I can bring love and acceptance that my Mum was doing what she felt she needed to do at the time, with the tools she had at the time, to feel love in her life and to feel harmony in her new home setting. I can choose my perspective and what I believe here.
The 3 steps in which you can emotionally and energetically heal your family dynamics and get through the Christmas celebrations with the family.
Instead of thinking about how the relationship within your family “should be”, accept it for what it is. FULLY! Accept it for the flaws and for the way it might lack compared to your ideal. Accept it exactly as it is as if it’s not going to change.
When we come into any relationship with judgement around what it is- maybe it’s someone always says the wrong things, or you don’t like the way someone else does a certain thing. When we focus on that being a “negative” thing, there’s a block in the energetic bond and it comes from us! Our energy isn’t open to them so the relationship won’t improve, and your perspective will always be negative.
If, however, you lean into acceptance for who they are, for what they say and how they act, you can allow the relationship to be exactly what it wants to be.
2. LETTING GO OF RESENTMENT
Invite here the belief that your parents, your brothers, your sisters, your family- whatever that looks like- did the absolute best they could with the tools they had at the time. No doubt, if they had the chance to parent you now, many years down the track, I’m sure they would do it completely differently. They’re consciousness has likely improved over the years. They’ve likely grown as individuals.
No one has an inbuild “How-to” guide to being a parent. Sure- there’s resources out there, but they’re so varied, so contradictory and may not apply to your specific dynamic. A parent is honestly just guessing the whole way through. Although it may have felt like it as a child, now consider this as an adult: Do you honestly believe that any loving parent would intentionally want to hurt and traumatize you?
3. ENEGETICALLY OPENING TO A NEW PERSPECTIVE
If you want the energy within your relationship and family dynamic to change, it must change through you. Perspective is everything. If we perceive our family connections from the little child who didn’t feel loved, we can change the perspective to a more positive place that serves the adult self. Creating a new positive perspective of your family dynamic, from a more loving and compassionate place, will open it up to a new bond.
Consider how you want it to be. After accepting your family exactly as they are, after letting go of resentment carried from childhood into adulthood, a new relationship can come through. One where you feel freer within your position in your family and one that is more enjoyable.
It may also take a bit of time, and that’s okay too. Ultimately, our family bonds have the potential to provide us with a great sense of home, safety, and unconditional love. If we can hold that vision within our minds, it’s so valuable to put in a little bit of personal and energetic work to heal the wounding from your childhood so your adult self can be free.
As much and as often as you can- seek love!!