Whether or not this is your first Christmas "post-d(iscovery)-day", Christmas is a hard season for those walking a betrayal journey. The emphasis on family, love, intimacy, Christian values, etc. can be jarring, given our losses in these areas. As part of your self-care this season consider making space to reflect... and possibly grieve.
Gaelyn Emerson, of Women Ever After, frequently runs a group for divorced/divorcing PSAs on Christmas Day. This year she has made her reflection exercises for the group available as a free downloadable pdf. Even if we are not in the space where we are divorcing, we may benefit from reflecting and journalling on many of the points in the PDF. If you have a therapist, support group or just good supportive friend/family member, consider sharing some of what you've written with them at a later time.
Ghosts & gifts of Christmas past
These points, from Gaelyn's PDF, have been modified slightly with the assumption they will be used in a personal, rather than group, setting.
- What is one holiday memory or encounter that fills you with joy and invites you into a place of happiness?
- What is one holiday memory or encounter that fills you with pain and invites you into a place of sadness?
- What unresolved challenges are you facing?
- What losses are you feeling?
- What is one specific regret you’ve been carrying, and how is that impacting your life during this holiday season?
- What is one mistake for which you can (or can’t) forgive yourself?
- What is one holiday symbol that once held meaning or significance for you? How has that changed? How has it remained the same?
- What holiday tradition, activity, or sensory trigger (sight, sound, scent, touch or taste) do you find (a) triggering or (b) soothing?
- What is one meaningful gift you have received?
- What is one special something you can share with your loved ones this week?
- What is one meaningful gift you can ask others to give or do for you this week?
- What is one gift you can lovingly give to yourself?
- What new holiday tradition can you start for yourself and/or your loved ones this week?
- What is one specific action you’ve take this week that has brought you peace?
- When I am alone and aching this week, I will remember the following affirmation...
- When I am alone and struggling this week, I will reach out to others who...
- Especially this time of year, I give myself permission to care for myself by...
Be sure to use your grounding tools or your first-aid kit as much as you need while you do this work (and throughout the season). If you don't have someone you know you can safely share your reflections with in the coming weeks, consider that one gift you can lovingly give yourself is the gift of professional or peer support. If you've not looked for support before, consider starting your search at the APSATS website, the Whole Hearted site, or Gaelyn's Women Ever After site.