Surviving the Holidays While Healing from Betrayal Trauma

Written By Jessica Lamar, Psy.D, LMHC, CPTT

The holidays are a time of joy, warmth, and laughter, and for many, they can also trigger feelings of sadness, isolation, and disappointment. If you’re working through betrayal trauma, the season can be especially challenging, as it may bring up painful memories, trigger anxiety, and disrupt your healing process. With some preparation, self-care, and safe support, you may be able to enjoy this holiday season.  Let’s explore some practical tips and strategies to help you prepare for the holiday season!

  1. Prioritize self-care: The holiday season can be a busy and stressful time, making it hard to prioritize self-care. However, taking care of yourself is vital to your healing journey and your mental and emotional well-being. Make sure to carve out time every day for activities that recharge your batteries and bring you joy. This could mean taking a relaxing bath, going for a walk-in nature, reading a good book, or practicing meditation or yoga. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something that nourishes your soul and replenishes your energy.
  2. Set boundaries: Boundaries are crucial when you’re healing from betrayal trauma, and even more so during the holiday season when you may be exposed to triggers or situations that make you uncomfortable. Setting boundaries means knowing your limits, communicating them clearly, and being willing to enforce them if necessary. This could mean saying “no” to events or activities that don’t align with your values or priorities, asking for space or time alone when you feel overwhelmed, or speaking up when someone crosses a line or disrespects your boundaries. Remember, boundaries are not selfish; they’re essential to your healing and well-being.
  3. Find support: Reach out to your safe friends, family, or a therapist who understands your situation and can offer empathy and validation. You may also want to consider joining a support group or an online community where you can connect with others who are going through similar experiences. Having a safe and supportive environment to share your feelings and struggles can be incredibly healing and empowering.
  4. Create new traditions: The holiday season can also be an opportunity to create new traditions and rituals that align with your values and vision for your life. This could mean volunteering at a local charity, hosting a friendsgiving or potluck, or taking a solo trip to a place you’ve always wanted to visit. Creating new traditions can help you reclaim your agency, reconnect with your sense of purpose, and cultivate joy and fulfillment in your life.
  5. Practice gratitude: Finally, practicing gratitude can be a powerful tool to shift your mindset from scarcity to abundance, from fear to love, and from pain to hope. Take some time every day to reflect on the things you’re grateful for, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant they may be. This could mean appreciating the warmth of a cozy blanket, the taste of your morning coffee, or the smile of a friend. Gratitude is a practice that cultivates resilience, optimism, and joy, and it can help you navigate the challenges of the holiday season with more grace and ease.

When you priotize self-care, set your boundaries, find support, create new traditions, and practice gratitude, you can feel more grounded and emotionally safe during this process. Remember to be kind and patient with yourself, honor your feelings, and  celebrate your resilience and strength. May this season be a time of healing, connection, and renewal, and may you find joy and peace.


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