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Sylvia H
December 17th, 2014, 09:18 PM
We have been reading so many lovely posts about Christmas gifts being made for special people. This message is for those who have family members who make it difficult for us to keep in the holiday spirit. I am one of those people. Without going into a lot of detail, my sister and I were raised by a mother who was undiagnosed mentally ill. Our memories of holidays and special events are all negative. If anyone else on this forum has a similar problem, I want you to know that you are not alone. Celebrate the holiday as best you can, and try not to focus on the negative memories. Hopefully, you will have another family member, or a good friend, who will support you when you are having flashbacks of difficult times. If you do not, please contact me via PM, and I will do my best to help you deal with the season.

I am having a particularly hard time right now, as I am dealing with the Christmas season and my daughter's wedding in January. Both the holiday and my own wedding were harshly and negatively affective by my mother. So, as I try to provide a happy holiday experience for my family, and a wonderful wedding experience for my daughter, I am fighting the demons of my experiences. I am an atheist, and so prayers are not a comfort to me. But I do believe in the energy of the universe.

I wish for all the best possible experiences and understandings of what life delivers to us. May your holidays be happy, and may your family be loving and supportive.

Miss Sheri
December 17th, 2014, 10:03 PM
(((((Sylvia))))) What a courageous post! I rely heavily upon my faith, but I respect your beliefs too. I am sure there are others who will take courage and comfort that they are not alone from your thread. Please feel my cyber hug of love and friendship, and allow me to pray for you in my own faith, and ways. I truly hope all goes well for both the holidays, and the wedding, and that you can sever the demons from your past from extending to any further generations. Bless you dear. With Loving, kindness.....Miss Sheri

quiltingtrish
December 17th, 2014, 10:13 PM
Good for you, Sylvia, for turning the negative into positives.
We had a Christmas here a few years ago where the siblings got into 'it'. They have a hard time forgiving each other for things that happened in the past. We try to have a wonderful holiday - but the tension is sometimes still there. And, yes, we are religious so do try to keep the Reason for the Season and even though do some gift giving, we are not prone to have to get gifts or go overboard. I think that's just selfish anyways to want, want, want.
I hope you find peace during this time of year, Sylvia and I will keep you in my heart.

Claire OneStitchAtATime
December 17th, 2014, 10:25 PM
Sylvia, for reasons different than yours, the holidays just aren't for me this year. That's the main reason we agreed to a work trip overseas for my husband -- basically, we are running away from the holidays, to Taiwan. How much Christmas can they possibly have in Taiwan? Bereaved people & the holidays just don't mix. Sometimes I think the next person who wishes me happy holidays or to enjoy our trip is going to get an earful. They mean well, but they're just not getting it.

A friend who is in a similar situation to mine said some joy is seeping back for her this year. I hope that will happen for me some day, and for you.

Bubby
December 17th, 2014, 10:43 PM
I think the holidays magnify things both good and negative. I feel for those of you who have painful memories that come to the forefront during this season of joy and goodwill. My prayers are with you...please know that I care.

Carrie J
December 17th, 2014, 10:47 PM
Sylvia, turning negatives into positives is no easy task, and I say this from experiences during childhood, teens and as a young adult. I think it indicates a strong personal will/decision to overcome those early demons and choose to lead a more positive life. I do have very deep personal convictions, but totally understand your views and convictions as well. I sincerely hope your Holidays and the wedding are tremendously rewarding and fulfilling for you and yours. I greatly admire your honesty and strength for sharing this with us all, and am sending you my warmest thoughts and hugs, may you also experience what you have wished for us all. Peace, comfort, love, support and happiness. :D

Sandy Navas
December 17th, 2014, 10:49 PM
Empathy and understanding - for oh, so many reasons.

Just returned from visitation as a dear cousin has lost his wife, only to learn that another cousin passed just this afternoon. Too close to the heart.

There is no Joy in Mudville - though I try.

Claire OneStitchAtATime
December 17th, 2014, 11:04 PM
Empathy and understanding - for oh, so many reasons.

Just returned from visitation as a dear cousin has lost his wife, only to learn that another cousin passed just this afternoon. Too close to the heart.

There is no Joy in Mudville - though I try.

Oh Sandy, I'm sorry.

quiltingtrish
December 17th, 2014, 11:13 PM
Sandy - so sorry to hear about your losses. Hugs to you.

Angelia
December 17th, 2014, 11:32 PM
Thank you, Sylvia. I needed to hear that.

bscuzz
December 17th, 2014, 11:48 PM
When you're going thru what is a sad unpleasant Holiday, you feel all alone - yet here we are, others, like me, having less than a Happy Holiday. I'm so sorry for whatever has caused each of you sadness and heartache at this time of year. Hugs to you all.

Sylvia, you especially are such a giving and helpful lady who has extended herself to me personally in my 'learning to quilt' dilemmas - and I thank you so much for your kindness. I only wish for you to find 'peace' at this time of year and that your daughter's wedding will become a good memory for you in the future - weddings surely can be stressful under the best of circumstances as I recall with both my daughter's weddings.

For me the Holiday is sad and emotional because of family differences between my two daughters. In past years we have had wonderful loving gatherings that I would spend endless hours planning for and though exhausted when the last of the family closed the door behind them, it was a happy memorable time together! Makes me feel the loss all the more having had those happy memories. This haunting feeling that perhaps I could have done more to ease the animosity between my daughters, that I love to the moon and back, is primarily my reason for immersing myself into "quilting" - and making quilts for my 4 GDs for Christmas.

I'll end on a 'good' note; I'm proud to say I finished the 1st quilt completely and put it thru the wash to start the ragging! It's beautiful. The 2nd one is ready for a wash tomorrow, the 3rd only needs the label affixed, then to the wash and #4 has the binding attached, just needs stitching, a label and a wash! In time for Christmas!! Hip, hip hooray!! :icon_woohoo:

Marty
December 18th, 2014, 12:03 AM
What a powerful post. Sending holiday cheer and happyvthoughts your way.

Grandma Nan
December 18th, 2014, 12:12 AM
I think many times there are a lot of unrealistic expectations associated with the holidays right from music, TV, commercials,- its everywhere and it assumes that there is magic that makes everything right. Without going into a lot of detail, I have had a few holiday seasons 2011 and 2012 where I was alone (my husband working overseas) and a few years ago when I was mourning the loss of several close relatives. It is the worst time of the year if you are suffering. Additionally, I had 2 Christmases when we just had no money for gifts and it is not fun.
Sylvia, I think sometimes we get caught up in things and forget that the holidays are not always a great time for everyone. I for one, apologize for not being as sensitive as I should be sometimes, especially given that I have had some pretty awful Christmases. Claire I am also sorry for your grieving. I hope someday soon it is better for you.
And Sandy, so sorry to hear of your recent losses.

To all, you are in my heart and thoughts and we all use the faith or support that work for us.

Nan

mommamarsh
December 18th, 2014, 12:40 AM
I understand about the "demons". My father was an alcoholic ,so' Christmas Cheer " wasn't cheery sometimes . You are doing great dealing with pain and every thing will be okay. Anything done from love will be the best. As far as escaping pain ,I would work every Christmas (once my son was grown) .Some people thought I so just nice ,but I think now I was also escaping into work . Whatever works to help you make it thru , works. Peace and comfort to everyone .

LRM
December 18th, 2014, 01:13 AM
Sylvia, I am sending positive energy your way. I'm also not a believer and yet I often feel peace when I share my vulnerabilities and get encouragement from others. I appreciate your asking for others to send you what they can. I hope you know how much everyone here appreciates your support and encouragement. The universe will reciprocate and send you the same. May you find comfort and peace.

stationarymom
December 18th, 2014, 02:29 AM
Sylvia I can totally understand your feelings about the holidays.I hope you will find some peace and happiness though.I have a sister that has probably ruined every holiday or event she ever attended and still need to deal with her(I do it for my father).You will be in my thoughts through the season I wish you the best.

MayinJerset
December 18th, 2014, 02:39 AM
Sylvia, Glad you feel comfortable here on the forum to share your feelings, much positive energy is flowing your way from M* gals and guys. Many of us have our negative memories and it is best to recognize them and try to work through them like you are by sharing the with us. Much sorrow is with many of us with loss of family and friends and family and financial problems that all the "Holiday Cheer" sounds hollow to our ears. Hope your sharing with us has lightered your overload and you get through these days so you can enjoy your daughter's upcoming wedding.

MBCA
December 18th, 2014, 03:38 AM
Sending best wishes and loving thoughts to get you through the past memories.

RockinLou
December 18th, 2014, 03:51 AM
Bravo Sylvia. My mother had a horrific childhood, and she over-compensated by going way too big and crazy at Christmas. No matter what 'Santa' did for the four of us, every single Christmas I can remember my mother in tears, grieving the childhood she never had. I wish she had friends to understand her. Her mother was schizophrenic and had received electro-shock therapy, leaving her incapacitated for life.

My family now struggles with my brother, who is bi-polar. He has been hospitalized during the holidays five of the past ten years. There is so much societal pressure this time of year to be happy, and many just struggle to stay on a good stable emotional level.

Thank you for being open and honest about mental illness and how it has a ripple affect throughout families and generations. If we can start to eliminate the stigma, we reduce the shame/secrecy, and then we can hope our children will have an easier time processing it than their parents and grandparents did.

I believe in speaking with my young children about the realities of mental illness in our family, and substance abuse and eating disorders. I approach it on their level, emphasizing the need to take care of our whole self, physically, mental, emotional... I don't want them to look at me someday and say 'why didn't you ever tell me?' .... I found out about the extent of an Uncle's Schizophrenia in a quite memorable scene at the very last Thanksgiving my mother's family managed to scrape together.

It is so hard for my mom, and I'm living 6000 miles from home. I wish I could be there for her right now. However, sometimes a little distance is a good thing, it has allowed me to raise my children without the constant stress of my family. I still miss them this time of year, being on a month long vacation from work only gives me time to dwell... So I'm putting my energy into sewing.

RockinLou
December 18th, 2014, 04:03 AM
"B" don't saddle yourself with guilt that two grown adults can't work out their differences.

Love on the grands and stay out of the grown up mess, they need to sort it out, the absolute worst place to be is in the middle, as you risk becoming the messenger, or perceived as favoring one or the other. Free yourself from these tasks and encourage them to talk things through with each other when they have taken the time to reflect.

If hosting Christmas makes you happy, do it again next year regardless. They can either choose to grow up and work it out or to miss out on the fun! Surely by 2015 there will be plenty of people happy to join in regardless of the strife.

lapeoples
December 18th, 2014, 05:24 AM
Sending good wishes and positive thoughts. Like many, I too have some not to wonderful Christmas memories and this year has some new issues. I'm local if you ever need a sounding board - sometimes it's easier with someone not involved in the situation.

Iris Girl
December 18th, 2014, 06:20 AM
For many reasons I know exactly where you are coming from. Memories of past are hot/cold and did not get better when I was married. I do my best. Hubby is never a happy person he is a very negative person and it does effect everyone. His up bring was part of his problem schizo /alcoholic Dad and run around Mom.
On top of that working retail and seeing Christmas from July thru Jan for the last 20 years also kills a lot, you see so much phony it sometimes makes me sick.
This year I did not even put up my tiny tree...no spirit at all.

easyquilts
December 18th, 2014, 07:32 AM
Empathy and understanding - for oh, so many reasons.

Just returned from visitation as a dear cousin has lost his wife, only to learn that another cousin passed just this afternoon. Too close to the heart.

There is no Joy in Mudville - though I try.

Oh Sandy.... I'm so sorry.... I come from a family of close cousins....and have lost one.......I can only imagine the sorrow in your family tiday.. Prayers and hugs..

easyquilts
December 18th, 2014, 07:48 AM
Many hugs to you, Sylvia..... Your are such a courageous woman.... Facing your heartache head on.... I just know the "demons" of the part will not win.... You have a lot of strength.... You will come through it all even stronger...

You are so not alone... Many of us struggle to be joyful during the Christmas Season, , when our hearts are literally broken.... It's hard. But.... We can join together in love and support.... And defeat the sadness that wants to overwhelm us.

My faith sees me through, but I definitely respect your beliefs.... No matter.....we have the love and support of our quilty friends here on this forum...

Keep on keeping on.....as they say.... You are never alone....no matter what

shermur
December 18th, 2014, 07:59 AM
Yes, the Christmas spirit has been hard for the past twelve years. I lost my Mother in a tragic car accident December 20, 2002 and the holidays have never been the same. I am now just getting into Christmas decorating again and doing holiday traditions.
The effect of my Mother's passing is still hindering my Dad and sisters getting together for any holiday and Christmas will be harder since I have moved farther away. My step-mother doesn't make it easy and my Dad's memory is questionable anymore.
So, I have concentrated on my husband, my children and the grandchildren to establish our own traditions and holiday spirit.

Sylvia, I do hope you make it through the holiday season and through your daughter's wedding without too much turmoil.

oldsewer
December 18th, 2014, 08:28 AM
Good for you Sylvia, for fighting for yourself and others. When the past drags us down, the ugly wins. You are doing the best you can not to drag the past into the present and the future, and now, hopefully, you can also be a little kind to yourself. When we are doing the best that we can, and still we don't seem quite "good enough", then I think it sometimes helps to just cut ourselves a little slack. We often find it easier to be kind to someone else than to be kind to ourselves. So congratulations! You are winning! Hugs and peace be with you.

Blondie
December 18th, 2014, 08:40 AM
I think most people can identify with a less than perfect Beaver Cleaver family unit. Many struggle with this their entire life while others are able to rise above and realize that they do not have to be the sum total of their past. We don't get to choose our families but we do get to choose our friends. That you are here Sylvia, shows me that you have chosen wisely.


95193

MRoy
December 18th, 2014, 09:00 AM
I'm always relieved when Christmas is over. As a child, there always seemed to be someone in the family who was dealing with illness during the holidays. My sister passed away three years ago Dec 16. My dad's birthday would have been yesterday. He spent his last birthday and Christmas in the hospital and passed away in early January many years ago. The memories seem to rush at me this time of year with depression following close behind.

Sylvia and Sandy, you're both in my thoughts. (((HUGS)))

irishrn
December 18th, 2014, 09:44 AM
Sylvia: wishing you a holiday that is peaceful. And a wedding that is joyful!
And when it is all over, only happy memories!
Hugs to you!

Sandy, I am so sorry for the loss of your dear cousins. Take care of yourself as you help others during this time.

snippet
December 18th, 2014, 09:55 AM
When my mom passed away 7 years ago, Christmas just wasn't the same. But I tried to keep it going for my kids. Now that they've flown the nest, I don't decorate the house. I'm a Christian though, so what DOES help me is focusing on Jesus' birth and the gift He gave us. Everything else doesn't matter anymore to me.

Sonic
December 18th, 2014, 10:28 AM
Thank you everyone for sharing. I'm not big on getting into details but I also know the pain of unhappy family and holiday memories ...it's comforting to know that others get it. I try to make the Holidays special for my kiddo so that he will have good memories when he grows up, but it's hard.

Sandy, I'm so sorry for your loss. {{{ Hug }}}}

Sylvia H
December 18th, 2014, 12:20 PM
I want to thank everyone for their caring and loving replies, both on this thread and through PMs. Your comments have strengthened me, and I am very grateful. Right now I am still processing how I will deal with some of the situations that I know will occur. I am also fortunate to have family members who understand my situation and I can also turn to them for support when I need it.

Over40momma
December 18th, 2014, 03:00 PM
Sylvia, my heart goes out to you. And to all who have had to face such terrible memories. The oldest sister in my family is bi-polar and was undiagnosed for close to 20 years; I understand a little of what pain that carries. I am not a Christian person, my faith is truer to my aboriginal beliefs. I do pray, in my own way and believe there is true power in all forms of earstwhile supplication. I do respect your beliefs and feelings on this.

But I have learned that as powerful as the pain can be from past memories...so too, can the power of today's memories. Acknowedging your past and accepting that it really can't be changed is very potent in the healing of the spirit. The present does not change the memories or cancel out the bad; but the positive memories we create today (and every day) strengthen us and help us carry on. You all have much courage to speak so frankly from the heart. The friendships we all share here, I hope, will help ease some of the pain that you carry inside. Please forgive me if I am saying this poorly.

MayinJerset
December 18th, 2014, 03:32 PM
Sandy B. You didn't say it poorly, you said it elegantly and from the heart.

JCY
December 18th, 2014, 08:01 PM
So sorry to learn of the hurting hearts among us. I have sad memories, too, about the holidays & Christmas, but it's been long enough ago (1969) that I don't dwell on it. My first husb. committed suicide on Dec. 8. My boys were just 1 & 3 yrs. old. My mom died 2 days after Thanksgiving. Healing takes time, but does not erase the memories. Thoughts & prayers go out to those who are grieving the loss of loved ones, a dysfunctional past, etc. God bless you all.

share60
December 18th, 2014, 09:17 PM
Sylvia Thank you for your post xxx
sandy So sorry for your loss is most cases cousins are your first friends in lifexxxx
Shareen

bscuzz
December 18th, 2014, 10:17 PM
"B" don't saddle yourself with guilt that two grown adults can't work out their differences.

Love on the grands and stay out of the grown up mess, they need to sort it out, the absolute worst place to be is in the middle, as you risk becoming the messenger, or perceived as favoring one or the other. Free yourself from these tasks and encourage them to talk things through with each other when they have taken the time to reflect.

If hosting Christmas makes you happy, do it again next year regardless. They can either choose to grow up and work it out or to miss out on the fun! Surely by 2015 there will be plenty of people happy to join in regardless of the strife.

Thank you RockinLou for the sage advice. Sadly I already have been guilty of trying to 'fix' the situation and now find myself 'in the middle and perceived as taking sides' and possibly made things worse. To free myself from the 'hornet's nest' I'll just have to ride it out - refuse to discuss one with the other, no easy task, and try to express my love to each AND especially to the Grands! I try to always seek the silver lining - and just maybe "quilting" is my silver lining. What I know for sure is that pushing myself to finish 4 quilts for all 4 GDs has saved my sanity in the past month - for that I'm grateful! So thanks again, it's helps to talk about it.

RockinLou
December 20th, 2014, 08:19 AM
Thank you RockinLou for the sage advice. Sadly I already have been guilty of trying to 'fix' the situation and now find myself 'in the middle and perceived as taking sides' and possibly made things worse. To free myself from the 'hornet's nest' I'll just have to ride it out - refuse to discuss one with the other, no easy task, and try to express my love to each AND especially to the Grands! I try to always seek the silver lining - and just maybe "quilting" is my silver lining. What I know for sure is that pushing myself to finish 4 quilts for all 4 GDs has saved my sanity in the past month - for that I'm grateful! So thanks again, it's helps to talk about it.

Sounds like you are moving forward and in the right direction!! It took a few years for my family to adjust to the "we are grown ups, if you have a problem with me, bring it to me, and leave everyone else out of it" rule. It was either that or I wasn't going to speak to them again. They ruined my wedding, they ruined the birth of my first child, I had to lay down rules for acting like grown ups!! It's been seven years now, we are a much more peaceful and supportive family now. Bumps in the road happen!!

Today, I'm feeling gloomy about being so far from family and friends. I'm also irritated with my husband and am suffering from a lot of pain due to a flare up in my rotator cuff. I know my grievances are small, but I'm definitely not feeling the holiday cheer today!!

shirleyknot
December 20th, 2014, 11:43 AM
I don't remember when I ever enjoyed christmas, not even as a kid. This year I am spending the holidays with my dog and horses, and staying far away from the stores. So far, it's MUCH improved.

alliek
December 20th, 2014, 02:00 PM
Sylvia, In spite of what your mom suffered and thereby you suffered, You learned how to LOVE. Your feelings are complex but your spirit is in tact. You are a blessing to your children and family, and US. Thank you for allowing us to be sensitive to other people's needs.