Therapy Session Reflections #14 – Unpacking Week 42: Building ‘Chosen Family’ Holiday Traditions Because Blood is NOT Thicker Than Water4 min read
We are quickly moving to the holiday season. During this time of the year, many people struggle more than other times of the year. I have been guilty of having a pretty tough time during this time of the year. Last year I started working with my therapist to unravel some of my feelings around the holidays.
I have suffered through depression around the holidays for as long as I remember. It would usually start about a week before Thanksgiving, move through my birthday, then Christmas, and finally it would diminish gradually after New Year’s. My grandmother passed around Halloween in 2010. So within the past ten years, the depression would kick in around this time and last until the New Year.
Last year around this time, I was just starting my therapy journey. I was reeling with grief due to the passing of my dad. I was coming out of a fog. Although I addressed it some in sessions, I couldn’t fully unravel the issue, as much as I would have like. So I guess it is reflective of the process I’ve made during the past few weeks leading up to this holiday to give me some clarity in moving me to a good place during this season.
REFLECTIONS FROM WEEK 42
During the session of Week 42, we covered a lot of issues. These things revolved around family, the death of my dad, my son, and how we move forward to a healthy place. Moving to this place is so important now, especially around the holidays.
Last week, my therapist and I covered how my childhood impacted my adult life, but there was another layer to that this time. I had recently learned that although I took pride in protecting my son from the generational trauma that I inherited, I wasn’t able to spare him from it all. Yes, I believe I was aware enough not to impact him much with MY issues but, I was not able to protect him from feeling as if he was responsible for the crumbling of my family structure DUE to generational trauma. He talked to me about feeling as if his birth caused the family to implode. The pain he was in crushed me in a way that I’d never been crushed before.
As parents, we want to protect our children, and I believe I was able to do so as much as possible. Sadly, I was not able to save him from my family, and he was affected by their negativity toward him. I am still trying to resolve my feelings about this, and honestly, it’s been tough.
Talking through some of it in the session has helped tremendously. I have been talking to my son about his feelings. I have been helping him as much as I can to work through it all. What has helped is we had previously decided to move away from the people that harmed us. I decided to do that before my son discussed his feelings recently. We chose to view family in a broader sense of the word after my dad passed. That was actually one of the things that helped me have the best holiday season, ever, last year.
WEEK 42 TAKEAWAY
A family doesn’t necessarily have to be those born to you by genetics. Those people are your genetic family, but people you love and that love you should be considered your chosen family. These people are those that were given to you by the universe. They chose you, as you chose them. They unconditionally love you and sometimes more so than your family of genetic origins.
I have found that my chosen family has been my ROCK once the rift with my genetic family became more permanent. That has made me view family in a completely different manner. I encourage others to think outside of the norm when they think of family. That is especially the case now during the holiday and if you have a particularly problematic family. Holidays tend to bring out the toxicity in family members that are challenging. Why subject yourself to that?
So as you maneuver through this quarantine during the holidays, if you have problematic family members and they cause you undue trauma, give yourself permission to rethink what family is to you. After you do so, consider embracing a chosen family, especially if they love you in a way that you deserve.
In closing, I reject the notion that Blood is Thicker Than Water. I say YOU are deserving of having healthy relationships with people that love you. If they are your genetic family, great, but if they are not and you have chosen family, embrace them. THEY ARE YOUR TRUE FAMILY. Spend social distanced, virtual holidays with people that love you. You deserve to be with people that love you, whether they are genetic or chosen family. I do as well, so that’s what I will do, now and moving forward.
MOVING FORWARD TO WEEK 43
🔸 Discussion about the movie, “The Cell.”
🔸 Holiday depression and my progress this year.
🔸 Chosen family vs genetic family during the holidays.
🔸 Continuation of unraveling generation trauma.
I would love to know your thoughts on putting therapy session lessons to work during the holidays and in everyday situations. How are you taking what you’ve learned in therapy and applying them to your life in real-time? Reach out, let’s chat on FB, IG, and Twitter. Until then, Happy Healing and Happy Unpacking.
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