08 Nov Holiday Humbugs: Dealing with Holiday Stress
Dealing with holiday stress is no joke. Who is looking forward to the holidays? They are quickly encroaching… I mean, approaching. Who is looking forward to seeing family? If you are, you are one of the lucky few. And you’re probably not in my counseling office (at least for that reason!).
Many people have developmental trauma from their childhoods. Growing up is not an easy task, especially if your parents or family were abusive, emotionally neglectful, or if there was physical abuse, sexual abuse, or divorces, remarriages, or new partners and half siblings. There are so many different types of family situations and none of them are easy, which can make the holidays a stressful period of time.
Many of our parents also grew up in different generations where their parents were principally concerned with survival. In psychology, this is the lowest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: basic survival (food, clothing, and shelter). Based on Maslow’s hierarchy, once you can provide for your basic survival, you can move on to security and social needs, belongingness and esteem needs, and finally to self-actualization. Most of our families didn’t have the “luxury” of working on themselves or pursuing their own emotional growth to arrive at self-actualization. Therefore, many of us are in therapy now to undo trauma like agreements and strongholds from many generations back.
Not quite sure what I mean about generational trauma? Here’s an example.
Did you know that in the study of epigenetics, scientists have studied WORMS that have the same DNA and traits of their ancestors up to 14 generations back? If worms can have similar traits, imagine what humans carry in their DNA and brain chemistry.
For instance, Jewish clients whose families immigrated to the US before, during, or after the Holocaust have generational trauma from that time period stored in their bodies. To release the trauma and begin to heal, I use a variety of techniques. One type of spiritual energy work that I use in my practice is called Splankna (Greek for body-mind-spirit connection). Through muscle testing, we can find generational curses, agreements, or strongholds (traits you also carry), and clear the emotions energetically, and then seal it with prayer at the end. As an example, a Jewish client may have taken on the emotions of one of their parents – let’s say dread, shut down, depletion, powerlessness, and abandonment. Because of the trauma they grew up with, the client then makes an agreement to shut down their heart permanently or not trust people. These are the types of agreements that we can find and break to help you manage holiday stress.
Once we have begun the lifelong journey of learning to set healthy boundaries and committing to emotional growth, we often outgrow our families of origin.
You might be the only person in your family who has been to therapy! This can lead to some interesting family dynamics around the holiday dining room table. It can also be very painful and difficult, and can lead to pre- and post-holiday stress.
We get wounded in unsafe relationships, but we heal in safe relationships. Many people have the false belief that we heal “over time” and that they can power through it and go it alone. However, our emotions stay frozen in our bodies, and then we stay stuck in time with those emotions. If someone has a trauma at age 6, then part of them will stay frozen at age 6. We need to bring that part of ourselves into a safe relationship in a non-judgmental, therapeutic setting, in order to heal.
Healing and getting well is usually a lifelong process, and I would be honored to be part of your healing journey. Please reach out through the Contact page on my website if you would like to work on your family dynamics, boundary setting, family-of-origin trauma, or overall holiday stress and cure your Holiday Humbugs!