Not the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?
Facing the holidays after a separation or divorce
During the holiday season, you look around and see families happily shopping for gifts, couples holding hands through the mall and people humming along to holiday songs. But if you’re going through a separation or divorce, the holiday sparkle has dimmed and holiday cheer may be a painful memory.
“It was hard to see families around Christmastime,” said Monica. “It magnified the fact that I was alone.”
“Every time I turned around, I saw families together,” said Bill. “It’s just like somebody’s punching your heart.”
Even though you may have some tough emotional times this season, you can still not only survive but also enjoy the holidays this year. The key is to be prepared.
The difficult emotions you experienced when you first separated or divorced can return full-force during the holiday season, even if your breakup happened months or years ago. The sights, sounds and smells of the season trigger unexpected emotions. Christmas cards arrive addressed to both you and your former spouse; holiday tunes bring back memories of laughter and good times before the breakup; Christmas tree ornaments hold special meanings that can bring a flood of tears. “The holidays pulled out every emotion that I felt like I had gotten under control,” said Susan.
Knowing what emotions are normal and to be expected for a person in separation or divorce can help you face these emotions when they come. You won’t be as surprised, and you’ll be better able to function, even while experiencing the tough emotion. Two of the most hard-hitting emotions are loneliness and sadness. You may also be experiencing anxiety, feelings of worthlessness, bitterness, anger and depression. If you are dealing with any of those feelings, you are not alone. Those are typical emotions when a marriage has come apart, and you can face them and still move forward to find moments of joy during the heartache.
“With the upcoming holidays, you’re going to go into a period of time when you’re probably going to experience the loss from your separation or divorce more powerfully than you’ve already experienced it,” said psychologist Dr. Paul David Tripp. “But if you’ve taken time to think about what may be coming in the days ahead, you can be prepared for it.”
Be with people who help, not hinder
This week is a special DVD presentation and discussion that we are opening up to several Divorce Support Meetup Groups. The topic is "Surviving the Holidays".
An introductory video can be seen here:
The DVDs are non denominational, but Christian based.