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Does Spending Time with Family Seem Hard?

If spending time with family during the holidays or visits seems hard to you, have a read, see if there is a small step you can take to improve upon those times. Is this topic something you can relate with and wished you knew how to improve? You are not alone. Many struggle to enjoy spending time with their families during the holidays. For example, you may dread the upcoming time with them. There are different circumstances and environments that can cause spending time with family hard, especially if steps have not been taken to heal from wounds.

We carry wounds with us throughout our lives from childhood environment. Sometimes, just being with our families can trigger, or bring up those emotions we processed during the wound. We talked some about that last week here. That makes spending time with family hard. How do I know if I experienced trauma? You will dread time with certain people, for example.

What is Trauma?

When we talk about trauma, do your thoughts default to “My experience wasn’t that bad!” or “I was not traumatized!”? We often see trauma as these huge life events that take us off course for years to come or a lifetime. Trauma by definition is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. Granted, trauma can be devastating experiences. Did you know that trauma can also be caused from daily interactions with a family member that had unhealthy physical, emotional or mental boundaries? Below are just a few experiences that create trauma for us and make spending time with family hard.

  • Physical, Emotional or Sexual Abuse
  • Physical, Emotional or Mental Neglect
  • Violence in the Home
  • Drug or Alcohol Abuse
  • Parental Arguments, Separation or Divorce
How Do I Move Forward?

Acknowledging that there were circumstances that created trauma in your childhood is a good first step to aiding the healing process. Do you find yourself excusing or dismissing what you went through? Analyzing again and again and determining that others went through way worse, and you should just get over it? Often, we distract ourselves as soon as the thoughts or emotions come to surface. This year you can take time for you and allow yourself the freedom in acknowledging what happened. Giving yourself that space to accept the parts of your life that has caused spending time with family to be hard.

As you allow these emotions, breathe. Give yourself the freedom to heal. Do critical thoughts enter your mind when you process these emotions? Pause. Let yourself recognize you are here, today. You are not still the vulnerable child the circumstance occurred with. I encourage you stop shoving those feelings down inside. Acknowledge that they exist and there is a reason you feel this way. Allow yourself to process the emotions. Go easy on yourself.

Below are suggestions that could help you turn spending time with family being hard to spending time that is in control and intentional.

Are you ready to take small steps to heal?

  • Acknowledge and Accept the Trauma that Took Place
  • Seek Help and Talk to Someone You Trust
  • Self-Care – Eat Well, Exercise, Be Intentional with Your Time
  • Be With Friends and Don’t Isolate
  • Decrease Bad Habits and Replace with Good Ones
  • Be Kind to Yourself. It Takes Time.

Remember, deciding to heal from wounds or trauma from childhood is a beautiful step. A step that has great benefit. Sometimes, we are able process these things on our own and come to place of forgiveness and moving forward. Sometimes, we need help to move beyond the circumstances that has wounded us. Upstate Restorative Counseling is here to help you. Our counselors are trained to help you understand why spending time with family is so hard. We offer different therapy approaches to help you overcome the past and live in the today.

Do you need help overcoming past wounds?

Upstate Restorative Counseling provides other services that can help you! We provide assistance with counseling in TraumaAnxietyDepressionNavigating Life Transitions, and  Resolving Relationship Issues. When you are ready, our team is here to support you.

Would you like to read more on this topic? Check out this blog post for ideas to help.