Triggering Awkward Christmas

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Phoebes

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Triggering Awkward Christmas
« on: December 26, 2019, 06:04:52 PM »
This whole season has been...awkward..this is more of a ramble journal entry...

But also, I was feeling like I was sailing along pretty well, getting past the most intense and deeply painful feelings about holidays...my grandma was my person, my best friend and real mom..she made christmas special for so many years, so christmas holds this special place in my heart. She said when she's gone she hopes the family will still get together for christmas..I know she meant well by that.

With that side of the family, since her passing, there have been things that have happened. A family member married someone who no one thinks is nice, but who did something to my niece. Not sexual, but physical. When my sister called him out, his wife, my cousin, said she was making things up. Even though the physical evidence was there, as well as my niece's enduring fear of him. So they didn't go, and I feel like a traitor now when I go to family functions. I have stayed away some, and they question me up and down and act like nothing ever happened to my niece. Crazy, awkward denial.

This year, I decided to make Christmas at my house more cheerful for myself. I put up a tree with special ornaments. I went shopping and bought a few gifts, and in doing so, ran into some feelings of remembering some of the good things about Nm/NC. I started to feel maaaybe I could include her in my life however minimally...my Nm does make holidays special, but for me it would get overshadowed by the controlling aspects. I miss some of the things she did, like the way she decorates, cooks and continues some old-fashioned traditions in her family. But then I remember how she could use christmas as a time to trigger and gaslight, ask what I wanted and give things she knows I don't like instead, not allow me to be part of the cooking, not acknowledge my gifts, even if they are homemade art. I usually waled away hurt or with a stomach ache.

She sent me a birthday card with strange comment, and then a christmas card that she added in the word "forgiveness", and it shut me down again. She hasn't changed. She is still thinking I just need to "forgive" and quit holding a grudge from childhood, which is not at all what happened or what it is. That is the twisted narrative she has created and spread to the "new" family that doesn't even know me, or her. She sent a gift to my sister's for me. Her husband came to an event I was at, and I was sad he doesn't have any clue about the truth. Just thinks aI'm a bad, unforgiving, ungrateful person holding a grudge. He was friendly to me, but I really miss him and his family in my life. Now, even if I went back, they would not understand. I feel like telling him how I feel and that he doesn't know the truth of the situation, but I don't feel like it's my place somehow, and don't want to poke the bear, triangulate..it's just so wrong. I have to just let it go and let him support her narrative.

As I'm at my sis for a few days, I learned that Nm and husband are in town, right around the corner, spending christmas alone, because I am there and causing us all not to be able to get together. (They usually go out of town to his family's) I somehow felt really guilty about that. Like, yes, it is ME, dividing the family as she told me. I know logically this is not the reason or case, but that is how I felt. Horrible. Like I'm depriving the kids of their grandparents, or us all being together at christmas. My sis told me Nm said she had invited me by text to the family christmas this year, which had passed, but I had blocked her so I didn't get it. Oddly, about 15 minutes after my sister told me all this, I came down with a fever and was sick with flu symptoms throughout the holidays and didn't even get to participate with the kids.

Strangely I have gotten sick on many occasions when I was in contact with Nm.

Anyhoo, sorry for the long ramble post. If you read this far, thank you for listening.

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Hope67

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Re: Triggering Awkward Christmas
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2019, 06:24:42 PM »
Hi Phoebes,
I just wanted you to know that I've read most of what you wrote here - and I relate to things you've said.  Christmas is triggering, it's tough.  I wanted to send you a hug of support, if that's ok  :hug:
Hope  :)

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Phoebes

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Re: Triggering Awkward Christmas
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2019, 06:44:48 PM »
Thank you for your kind words, Hope.  :hug:
I hope yours wasn't too triggering this time, but feel free to share if you wish. Sending you warm wishes as well.

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Kizzie

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Re: Triggering Awkward Christmas
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2019, 07:12:30 PM »
I echo what Hope said, for survivors of family trauma like us Christmas is especially tough and makes low contact/estrangement loom just that much larger unfortunatly.  I am 'fortunate' that my NPDM lives in an alternate reality that nothing is wrong, we just live too far away to visit much.

Anyway, I just wanted to say I hope you hang onto your truth that you are truly not responsible for the family estrangement/ awkwardness because you won't simply forgive and forget.

I don't know if you saw this quote I posted yesterday but it may be relevant to what you're going through:

I am learning to love the sound of my feet walking away from things not meant for me - Unknown 

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Blueberry

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Re: Triggering Awkward Christmas
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2019, 08:16:40 PM »
Phoebes,  I just want to let you know that I read too. This kind of messy FOO stuff with denial in the mix :no: :no: Trust your feelings on it.

You mention guilty feelings. 'Guilt' comes up in FOG as in OutOfTheFog (Fear Obligation Guilt). Feeling guilty doesn't mean you are guilty. But it sounds actually as if you know all that, it's just all those feelings getting on top of you :fallingbricks: So I'll just send you some support :grouphug: and also  :cheer: :cheer: :cheer: :applause: :applause: :applause: on making Christmas special for yourself e.g. putting up your tree with special ornaments.

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Phoebes

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Re: Triggering Awkward Christmas
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2019, 12:09:58 AM »
Thank you, Blueberry..I really appreciate the support and feeling seen. I live alone, and sometimes just the warmth of lights and little reminders of good things is helpful rather than shutting down entirely, which I've done the last couple of years.

I hadn't seen your quote Kizzie, but I like it a lot. I'd say I've been getting accustomed to that in general. Feeling stronger in knowing myself and knowing not everything or everyone is for me. I felt I had to walk away from a long time friend recently, and rather than sending me into a tailspin it would have in years past, I actually feel really solid and good about it. I question if I should send a final "response" to her, but whether or not I do, I know that staying away is best for me. Now, if I can apply this to EVERYTHING in my life, perhaps I'd get to spending my time more wisely on things that are truly "me" this year.

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Kizzie

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Re: Triggering Awkward Christmas
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2019, 05:31:27 PM »
 :grouphug:    :thumbup: