coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Friday, December 27, 2019

When (xxxxx) ruins Christmas

Growing up, I had many wonderful Christmases. Unfortunately, the one I remember the most is when my father ruined Christmas by getting drunk and mean. All the glorious anticipation, preparation, money spent, cooking and baking was for naught that year. Daddy ruined Christmas. 

It was a horrible holiday, absolutely traumatic. I was in 5th grade. I have long since forgiven him, but unfortunately it isn't the sort of thing one forgets. Human beings being what they are, trauma sticks. 

So, if you ruined your children or grandchildren's Christmas this year, please get help. You can't change what happened, or wipe it from their memories.  However, you still have time to redeem yourself by getting help with whatever your problem is. Make it your problem to resolve, not their problem to endure.

23 comments:

  1. Both my parents were apt to get drunk and spoil Christmas when I was growing up. I'm 44 years old and still haven't completely gotten over it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry to hear that. I'm not surprised you still haven't completely gotten over it. The anxiety and fear lingers into adulthood for the children.

      Delete
  2. As it does, and not only the (xxxxx). Been there, tried to hide from it, ran away.

    I wish I had found this little bit of advice on taking care of yourself at Christmas (by Irish writer Marian Keyes) about 45 years ago:
    https://youtu.be/-4eDFg-XTuQ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sabine. I really, really enjoyed this.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for this, Sabine. I, too, found it very helpful --even a few days AFTER Christmas!

      Delete
  3. I am sorry you had that bad Christmas. I am happy that you have forgiven your father and moved past it. Hopefully all the rest of your Christmases will be happy ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Emma. I'm not sure I've moved passed it, but I try very hard not to trip over it when it appears in front of me. (If I could figure out how to do a smile emoji in blogspot I would have added it here.)

      Delete
  4. My dad worked hard and around Christmas, he would get an extra job with the Post office in order to buy us presents. He worked about 60 to 70 hours/week at that time of year. He also liked his whiskey. My brother and I sang in the choir and at Christmas we sang The Gregorian Chant at Midnight Mass. My brother sang in the upper church and I in the lower church. My mother was his audience and my father was mine. I looked out to the congregation and their was dad, with his mouth open and snoring. I was embarrassed and so angry at him. However, when I grew up and realized how much he did and sacrificed for us, I loved him even more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's quite sweet, actually. If only my father had fallen asleep (or passed out) when he drank.

      Delete
  5. My parents didn't have a drink problem so Christmas wasn't spoilt by them. But my father was always a bad-tempered curmudgeon and spoilt life for me and my sister in other ways.

    ReplyDelete
  6. In our family it was my mother. Probably why I still can't remember several years of Christmases. Holidays, birthdays, or just friends visiting were usually ruined.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I imagine it is even worse when it is your mother who has the serious drinking problem. Sorry to hear this.

      Delete
  7. "Human beings being what they are, trauma sticks."

    As with you, Colette, I found Sabine's link to Marian Keyes Christmas message to be just what I needed to listen to. In my family, Christmas was one of the few days of the year, along with our birthdays, that I remember to be without trauma. The rest of the year, however, was a minefield due to my mother's alcohol and prescription Dexedrine use which made her irrational and unpredictable. Mysteriously, she was able to maintain emotional balance for a few memorable days of the year.

    Christmas 1970 when I was 21 years old, a few weeks after the man I loved returned from his year in Vietnam was my first traumatic Christmas Day. It was the Vietnam War that ruined Christmas Day for me for decades. It's only in the past few years that I feel relatively peaceful during the month of December. Forgiveness doesn't mean forgetting, but it does help with that aspect of healing. Time takes time, doesn't it?

    May 2020 bring some healing in our troubled world. A little healing would go a long way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well said, am. Trauma begets trauma. We can't forget, it just doesn't work like that. However, we can forgive people who are not evil, but damaged. Still, I don't want to spend my celebrations with damaged people who won't get help and ruin it for others, especially children. I choose joy.

      And P.S., I hate that goddamned war. I know there have been others before and since, but that was our war. It shaped our generation. It altered and destroyed so many lives.

      Delete
  8. I'm sorry that your Christmas is hard. I felt very blue this year with really no past trauma to account for it. I think I might disappear next year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christmas is just a hard time for some people, for good reasons. Still, I managed to have a wonderful Christmas Day this year. I think the key might be to have your most meaningful celebration at your house (or a faraway destination), on your own terms, and with people you know will behave themselves.

      Delete
    2. If you are thinking about "running away" for the holidays next year, I think that's a great idea. It could be an adventure. It could be planned for and managed. It could be fun. You deserve some fun.

      Delete
  9. Most of the ruined Christmases of my youth were the result of parents not being present for one reason or another. Life just was never the same (or stable) once they split up. At any rate, I had the chance to shake off my bad Christmas memories to create better for my kids. I trust they'll remember Christmases past as good. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have been very fortunate in that I literally cannot recall a ruined Christmas -- although my parents divorced and there was plenty of acrimony between them, I rarely witnessed it during the holidays. (The rest of the year, fair game!)

    ReplyDelete

So, whadayathink?