‘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
frozen… In the past I have felt really angry/sad because my kids don’t have
reasonable grandparents, we have very little family to have any kind of
traditions with. I just feel like Christmas is coming WAY too soon and I’m not
emotionally ready for it. I want to hit the ‘ignore’ button. Which probably
means I’m shoving something under. Maybe multiple things under. I feel like I’m
just going through the motions and I really don’t care, don’t feel like dealing
with a tree, or lights, or any of the usual fun stuff. I don’t really care that
my family sucks and husband’s family sucks and husband sucks a lot of the time.
I’m just tired. I’m tired of being the responsible one. I’m tired of being the
one who cares, who thinks, who motivates. I’m tired of having people ask me to
do things they are clearly capable of doing themselves. I’m tired of ‘helpless’
narcissistic people. I’m tired of going to stores and looking over my shoulder
for crazy family. I’m tired of being the one they accost rather than their own
son. I’m tired of hearing that my mother is lying about me, about what I said,
about what she said, about what she did. I’m tired of my husband’s family lying
about me, about who I am, about what I am, about what I have said, about what I
believe, about who they are, about what they have said. I’m tired of stupid
people’s stupid excuses for the mean and nasty things they do and say. I’m tired
of having to explain to my kids that just because we are surrounded by Ns in our
family does NOT mean the rest of the world should be viewed with suspicion. I’m
tired of worrying that my kids will grow up to be like the N family. I’m tired
of being so exhausted I can’t do the things I truly enjoy. I’m just flippin

Wow… I did NOT know all that was in my head.


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’:

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