Holidays are a stressful time for everyone, but for a survivor, they can be paralyzing. Since there are several expectations, various obligations, and differences in schedules and routines, many people struggle with just keeping up the the tremendous responsibilities. In the end, getting together with family and friends to celebrate is worth the reward of the added burdens of this time of year.
One the other hand, survivors of sexual abuse can experience many flashbacks during this time. Most perpetrators are family members and a great deal of the negative experiences occur during the holiday get-togethers when families spend more time with one another. Additionally, the survivor continues to come in contact with their perpetrator long after the abuse is over because they are still getting together with those family members.
I believe one of the best ways to heal during this time is to expose the abuse by talking about it with your family and friends. Obviously this will create some additional stress and pain for those people who are directly involved in your life. Also, those perpetrators that remain in the family will face some extremely serious consequences because of the openness. Yet, all healing takes time. Talking about the abuse and the subsequent feelings that come along with that is one of the best ways to begin the healing process in a survivor. Holding your feelings inside is not a way to show strength and courage. The best strength a survivor can show is to be open and vulnerable again, never allowing the actions of the perpetrator to dictate your life