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'Insanity is when you do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result'.......Albert Einstein
This great post from our Sister Jenni really sums up how so many of us feel during the holiday season. Many thanks to our Sister for sharing her feelings with us and putting it into words so perfectly~
I hear you all on the holiday grief. For some reason this year I feel a bit
Holidays 2006 Letter
Dear Sisters, and Brothers Too,
Well, it's already started. As I write this, it's only the third week in September and already the pre-holiday aggravation is well underway for many of us. The traffic to our site has doubled, and the e-mails are flooding in.
The stress is over one of two things:
1. How to survive spending the upcoming holidays with abusive relatives, or how to finally get out of doing so.
2. Having suddenly been contacted by an estranged relative, or having an abuser we no longer have a relationship with sneak behind our backs and make contact with one of our children.
If you are going through this, or anticipating it, rest assured that you are most definitely not alone. In fact, this experience is practically universal. Control freaks just aren't known for accepting defeat and bowing out gracefully.
Abusers to whom we no longer speak will often lurk around in the background till they can catch us at a weak moment. They count on us being all warm and fuzzy and sentimental around the holidays and figure they can take advantage of that and get to us through guilt. Then when we let our guard down again and start trusting them a little (or as soon as they're nicely seated at our family table for Thanksgiving dinner and know we wouldn't have the nerve to throw them out or stand up to them in front of everyone else)- Bam! Their true colors come out and we're right back to square one!
This must have happened to me 150 times before I finally got it and stopped falling for it. I think a big contributing factor is that we are so conditioned to expect family problems during the holidays. We joke about it and even make movies about it. Magazine articles are written about how to 'handle' 'difficult' relatives at get-togethers. We treat it like it's a given. But it's not.
After 47 years of holiday fiascos, I, for one, got fed up with trying to 'handle' my relatives, always having to anticipate what might set them off, be one step ahead, not sit this one next to that one, and smooth things over fast before they exploded. It was upsetting, stressful, draining, and exhausting. I don't know how or when this became my responsibility, but it was never going to stop until I stopped it. I did that by just point-blank refusing to spend anymore holidays with them. And for the first time in my life, I was able to enjoy the holidays like I should have all along, with peace, joy, and my husband and kids, good friends, and 'normal' relatives.
I started a tradition of inviting distant relatives, friends, neighbors, and anyone who might be alone, to share the holidays with us. Everyone who came was great company and we all enjoyed every minute. So we continued with that tradition and pushed the 'delete' button on the abusers.
If there's one message I'd love to be able to get out there this year, it's that anyone and everyone can do what I did, and should do it if the alternative is spending Christmas or Thanksgiving being abused.
Nobody's family makes a bigger deal over the holidays than mine did. If I can walk away, so can you. I'm amazed that so many don't realize they have this option, and I didn't either. For 47 years, I never imagined that I had a choice.
Every year from about now till mid-January, it's always the same. Suddenly we get this tremendous increase in e-mails and hits on our website. It is just a hideous time of year for so many Adult Children as their abusers manufacture so many crises that never have to be. It's really disheartening. I just wish the light bulb would go on and everybody would realize that they do have the power to just say No, and make holidays plans that don't include their abusive families.
Yes, it will probably cause a rift when you rock the boat, but you have to get to the point where you're so desperate for some peace that you just don't care about their reactions anymore. There's a whole other world out there that our abusers don't want us to ever see or taste- a world of normal people who appreciate their families and can actually manage to be nice to one another. We ALL deserve joyful holidays, and those of us from abusive families only have to grit our teeth, take that first step, and MAKE IT HAPPEN. Don't waste 47 years like I did.
This holiday season, let's support each other as sisters and brothers in Christ. Please keep those facing this heartache and stress in prayer. We all need courage to take a stand and start our new life, and the Lord's comfort as we mourn and adjust to changes in our long-term traditions.
If you know someone with an abusive birth-family, please consider inviting her to join you for the holidays, so she'll have an alternative to either being alone or spending Thanksgiving and Christmas suffering through her family's abuse. Or contact your local homeless shelter or food pantry and spend the day serving the Lord, where you will be appreciated and be able to bless others. Take a deep breath and just say No to your abusers, reach out to someone else, and may the Lord fill your heart and home with his peace and joy. I'll be praying for wonderful holidays this year for all of us.....
God bless you always, Sister Renee
****Please read our articles to the left for practical suggestions....
****Why do Destructive Narcissistic relatives just love to ruin our holidays???? For the eye-opening unvarnished truth, check out Dr. Sam Vaknin's riveting article, 'A HOLIDAY GRUDGE':
IS IT TIME FOR A CHANGE?
The Christmas Holidays and Thanksgiving are a time for peace, joy, and thankfulness. We thank God for all our blessings and rejoice over the birth of our Savior Jesus.
We all expect a certain amount of stress and fatigue during the holidays. Shopping, cleaning, decorating, and cooking can take a lot out of us. And after all the work and rushing around is done, most folks can look forward to being rewarded with an enjoyable time surrounded by their loving family.
But for some of us, these holidays, as well as others (especially Mother's Day) are a time of extreme stress, anxiety, upset, depression, and exhaustion. We do not have an enjoyable time with family to look forward to. Instead, we dread the coming aggravation from controlling, ill-tempered, selfish, jealous, or abusive relatives.
We end up being disappointed, disillusioned, and saddened that every holiday has to be ruined by family members who should be expressing their love and gratitude instead. We feel doomed to never having a nice holiday.
And yet we do it again the next time. We keep doing the same things over and over again, hoping that this time, maybe it will be different, but it never is. We think we're doing everything right, but we must be doing something wrong! Guess who needs to make some changes here? (If you said your abusive relative, you're wrong- and you know that's not going to happen anyway!)
Sister, are you ready to make some changes? Are you ready to have the happy holidays you always wanted? Are you ready to change your definition of a 'family holiday'? Are you ready to experience the kind of holiday you and your husband and children deserve?
Then read on , dear sister. Just click on an article under the Happier Holidays heading on the left menu that interests you. We pray that our testimonies will help you claim the peace and joy of the holidays, in Jesus' name. God bless you and pour out his love, and the love of family and friends upon you during every holiday! In His love,
Sister Renee and Sister Denise
***For more on this subject, please visit the Sections on THE EFFECTS OF ABUSE, THE SILENT PARTNER & THE SILENT MAJORITY, SETTING & ENFORCING LIMITS & BOUNDARIES, REBUKING, REPROBATES & CUTTING TIES, CLAIMING THE VICTORY, OUR REAL FATHER, JOY IN JESUS, THE FREEDOM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, and FINDING PEACE .
Copyright 2002-2016.-All articles on this site are copyrighted. Permission to copy is granted for non-profit use only.Please help yourself to anything we write if you can use it to help others. A link back to this site is our only requirement. Please contact us for any commercial or other use. All e-mails, letters, and other correspondence become the property of Luke 17:3 Ministries, Inc. Due to the large volume of e-mails, we're sorry that we are unable to personally answer every one, but we do lift everyone who writes to us in prayer to the Lord.
The Lord specifically called Sister Renee to minister to Adult Children, not their parents, estranged siblings or friends, abusive or abused spouses, or victims of other types of abuse, although what we write here can often be meaningful for those folks as well. Because of this, our ministry and website have a narrow focus which we will not be changing. We simply can't cover everything. In addition, it is not our purpose to help you re-establish contact with someone who felt it was necessary to cut you off for the sake of their own well-being. We do not keep a list of resources for estranged parents or any other type of abuse and suggest if you are sincerely interested in making amends with an estranged relative, you do an internet search for a website or group that will be more relevant to you. If you cannot find a group or site that you can relate to, we suggest you start your own, and bless other people in your position as well as find support for your personal issues.
For Adult Children and others as well, please understand that we cannot give you personal advice concerning your particular family relationships. We are not therapists or lawyers, we usually do not have enough information to form an opinion, and time does not permit us to give enough thought to each person's individual situation to do it justice. If you need personal advice, we urge you to contact the appropriate professional, depending on the problem you have- your minister, therapist, attorney, police department, local domestic violence hotline, etc. In reading this site, you acknowledge that nothing you might read here qualifies as or substitutes for professional advice. Please note we cannot recommend or refer you to a counselor and we do not have a list of therapists or recovery groups in your area. The only Counselor we recommend is the Holy Ghost, and we encourage you to read the Bible and learn for yourself what the Lord says about the issues we write about.
Our articles are strictly our personal opinions and testimonies and are not intended to give or offer any advice. All who access this site do so with the understanding that we are NOT professional counselors and we strongly recommend that you discuss your individual situation with your pastor or therapist and pray for the Lord's guidance before acting on anything we write on this site. Unfortunately, the abuse we discuss is all too common, inflicted on countless victims by countless perpetrators. All names and identifying details in our articles have been changed to protect the innocent as well as the guilty. Any resemblance to a real person or persons whom you might know is strictly coincidental.