Holidays are about family, and they always have been. At one time, I was a part of a family that enjoyed getting together to celebrate those times. I do remember those times with a certain degree of fondness, and I will always have those memories. Those times will always be a part of my past life. However, now I think about how much was simmering beneath the surface at those family gatherings. That is due to so much dysfunction that was present throughout the family’s existence.
The death of my grandmother was the death knell in the illusion of familial harmony that was really a facade. After the family matriarch left, her physical body was when the entire illusion revealed itself, and boy was it ugly. This revelation was when the family structure started to erode. The issues were generational curses that pre-dated my birth, and maybe even that of my father.
After recognizing this, I tried to distance myself and protect my son as best I could. I found out recently that I was not totally successful in sheltering him from that dysfunction, sadly. However, I did the best I could. My inability to do so was because of my father and his strong feelings about his people. He believed the relationships could be salvaged. I never did. After his death, I vowed to separate myself from his people, those connected to them, and those that chose to align with them. I felt I needed to distance myself and create a fresh start.
I rarely think about these folks that I’m genetically connected to because, to me, a connection is about more than genetics. My tribe is about who I’m linked to by the heart, not by blood.
REFLECTIONS FROM WEEK 43
In session 43, we talked about Thanksgiving and my history of struggling during this time of the year. Last year around this time, we also discussed the challenges that I’ve had my entire life. In 2019, we talked a bit about it and worked through a lot of my struggles surrounding this time.
The past Thanksgiving, I had a lot of time to reflect on that day and past holidays. So much had changed, and so many family members were no longer with me physically or figuratively. For those that were no longer here physically, that was sad, but there was nothing I could do about it because death happens. However, for those that were not here figuratively due to me disengaging from them because of their toxicity, this gave me peace. That feeling was because I recognized that I had been successful in mourning the loss of the family I felt I should have had. Of course, it is sad when you have to mourn a relationship that you had to severe because it was not healthy. However, concluding that it was for the best for all involved is progress, growth, and most importantly, it is peaceful.
You know, you never realize how far you have come until you look back in retrospect, and your view is totally different. That is one of the reasons why I will always sing the praises of therapy. Going to sessions helps you get to the foundation of issues, allows you to resolve your feelings about those issues, and provides you with the tools to deal with the obstacles WHEN they present again. That is GOLD.
Creating new traditions around holidays was one of the best tools that I learned from my therapist. That lesson I gained will be what gets me through holidays with minimal depression as past holidays, probably for the rest of my life.
Thanksgiving, although I did not realize it at the time, was a litmus test. I asked my therapist once how I would know if I had grown and conquered my issues.
“You will know when you deal with the issue, and you don’t go with what you once did. You go with the choice that is not your norm, and that forces you out of your comfort zone.”
So, Thanksgiving allowed me to implement and put into action things learned in therapy to help me cope with the holidays in a much healthier way than previously.
WEEK 43 TAKEAWAY
My life is so different than it was in the past. So focusing on these new and different things is what will best serve me in the present and for years to come. That attention will be on creating new traditions with genetic family as well as chosen family.
Life and holidays are really about family, as I stated earlier, but that doesn’t have to mean only people you are genetically connected to by birth. Holidays can be challenging, but opening your mind and heart to those that have opened their heart to you can make this time of the year extremely special. Creating new holiday traditions with those people will make those times all the more special. It has for me.
During this holiday season, I find myself in the best place I’ve ever been, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and even financially. I am at peace with the past and with life. I am, for the first time, excited about what the future holds for myself and my family.
MOVING FORWARD TO WEEK 43
🔸 Discussion about the movie, “The Cell.”
🔸 “Dating” during Covid
🔸 Christmas and keeping that same new holiday tradition energy
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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