Holiday triggers

I love holidays.  If I had my way, I would put up a Christmas tree in December and decorate for Christmas.  Then in January the tree would be covered with snow flakes.  February would be doused in hearts and cupids. (The minions played on the fact that cupid and stupid rhyme.) March would bedecked with shamrocks.  Next April Easter eggs, there are so many elegant eggs.  May flowers, I would shower the tree with flowers.  June I could see little beach balls hanging from every bough.  July tiny flags would populate the branches. August would be apples for the start of another school year.  September more solemnly remember the many that suffered on Sept 11 attack. October would be crawling with creepy Halloween theme.  Followed by pine cone turkeys for November, returning again to Christmas.  I don’t do this.  Main reason, holidays are triggers for my husband.  I enjoy the holidays in a more toned down version out of respect for his triggers.  He tiptoes around so many of mine that I figure turn about is fair play.  I adapt to different ways of celebrating.  This works.  Altering traditions, changing ways of celebrating or ignoring the day all together are all possibilities.  Too often we get locked into old habits of doing things.  In a need for sameness, we don’t let go of the things that are hurtful to us.  My sweet husband nearly freaked out when I demanded he color Easter Eggs with our children many years ago.  His behavior seemed terribly strange.  He became angry and resentful for what I saw as a simple request to dye Easter Eggs.  He huffed at me, “How many of each color do you want?”  I looked at him in bewilderment.  I was rather free and easy with the dyes and kind of like trying two tone and tri tone dying.  I replied, “Any color you want.”  He dyed 6 of the most stunning black eggs I ever saw.  This takes time.  Lots and lots of time.  Then he told me I wouldn’t put them in the baskets.  He was wrong.  Each child received their fair share of black eggs.  The trouble all started with his childhood and being told exactly how many eggs he had to color each egg.  The whole concept to be creative was missed.  His experience was miserable.  He hated Easter egg dying for a very legitimate reason.  Eventually as my kids got older, each one tried their hand at dying black eggs.  It is much harder than it would seem.  Part of PTSD is rethinking how we do things.  Experiment on ways of making holidays more relaxing.  Talk over with those that will be affected by your choices and see what would work best.  Create new traditions that bring joy instead of distress.  One year because of where I was in my healing process, I didn’t celebrate Christmas.  I didn’t consult anybody….I just didn’t do it.  We all survived the experience.  The holidays come the same time every year.  Plan well in advance of ways to cope and make the day a bit easier.  No reason to lock yourself into traditions that repeat the abuse of younger years.  I learned a lot since the Black egg days.  Now, I go to my adult children’s house and dye eggs at their house.  I totally understand that my sweet husband is totally content not to touch one of them.  Adapt, recreate, establish new traditions that benefit and enrich your life.  Not every trigger will be avoided but making the day your own goes along ways to make it a better day.

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