Dealing with holidays (Svali Blog Post)
This information is mirrored from https://web.archive.org/web/20110820224043/http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/ritual_abuse/51425
“They’re going to hurt me,” the little said, crouched under the stairwell. It was my first Halloween out of the cult, and I was working at a health club. A friend was with me, trying to coax the little out from her hiding place. “No one’s going to hurt you, “ he said gently. “How do you know? They always have before”, she answered.
Certain times of the year can be difficult for survivors, especially anniversary dates of trauma, and holidays. The cult has definite days that are considered “special” and spiritual ceremonies are performed on those days. As a survivor breaks free of cult control, these days can still be difficult because of the intense memories associated with them. Also, holidays tend to be a time when groups gather together, and callback programming may be activated.
For a list of major holiday dates, go to http://www.survivorship.org/html/dates.h… . Many survivors have always had problems on certain dates, and didn’t know why until they found out it was a major holiday.
How does a person get through a difficult anniversary date? Or deal with a time of year that can trigger memories of past abuse? I thought that here, I would share a few ideas that have helped me personally. I am finding that the longer I am out of the cult, the less effect that dates have on me. Since that first difficult Halloween I mentioned above, I have not had major problems, once my inside people learned they were safe from harm. I still try to do things to make sure that holidays are less stressful for me, though.
1. Recognize the triggers: everyone has different things that might trigger them during a holiday time. Some people are affected by the smell of a pine tree, for example, or the sight of decorations. Knowing your personal sensitivities, and preparing yourself for them, or trying to avoid some if possible, can help. While I cannot avoid the ads and displays in stores, I can choose to be aware that they do bother certain people inside, talk to them about it, and choose to ignore the displays, looking the other way.
2. Allow littles or other inside parts to discuss their fears about the date. This is best done in therapy, although there may be times, such as the Health club incident mentioned above, when this isn’t possible. Letting inside people draw their concerns, and slowly share their memories of the date, can go a long way to deactivating the fear around the date. Grieving over painful memories associated with the day may occur too; many survivors battle deep depression on anniversary dates. Knowing this can happen, the survivor can try to take extra good care of themselves.
NOTE!! This article was cut short on the mirror, and therefor this is all that was available. Please understand it’s an incomplete blog post.