Not everyone has a wonderful family gathering during the holidays; even if they try. Some people get into arguments that tear the family apart permanently and some go so far as to commit murder in a moment of rage-usually fueled by excessive alcohol or drugs. Some family members have been abused by other family members and neither has disclosed such information to the rest of the family; which results in torture for the victim, as the family rallies around the abuser-and can’t understand why the victim is behaving so coldly towards that one.
In such cases it is often better to forego the family gatherings, tradition be damned. While holidays are a time for loving friends and family to get together and voice their gratitude for each other, those times can cause deeper pain and alienation for those whose experience has been other than rosy. The bottom line for those who have seriously dysfunctional families has to be the one of safety: if it might not be safe to be there, don’t be there. It sounds simple but with pressure from family it can be hard to decline a holiday invitation.
When informing family that the invitation is being declined one has two distinct choices in the performance of that declination-truth or lies. One can tell the truth about why they will not be attending or one can create a lie about it. Truth works great for some and lies work great for those who won’t take the truth as an answer. There are those family manipulators who are difficult to deal with-the ones who insist that ‘bygones be bygones’ and who preach forgiveness. In certain cases such as abuse, it may be dangerous or foolish to attend a get-together. One can always adopt the attitude of “I forgive them and choose to love them from afar.” One can also state very clearly “it will be a cold day in Hell before I allow them anywhere near me!”
Sometimes it truly is the best decision to stay away. There are countless stories of holiday dinners gone bad, where old wounds broke open and murderous rage ended with one or more family members in the grave. If the family members are prone to violence, holidays would best be spent far away from each other. Stabbing a butter-knife into a brother’s heart to punctuate a point of contention can be rather detrimental to both brothers… and the rest of the family too.
Before giving in to the sappy holiday wishes of the family members who have no idea of the suffering that one has caused to another, ask this question: does this serve me? If not, refuse the invitation and go live life on your own terms. After all, forgiveness is in the heart, not the mouth. Even when one has forgiven an abuser, there can still be danger. If the intuition is screaming “don’t go!”… listen to it. There is no good reason for the victim to have to sit in the same room with an abuser if they don’t want to. Preserve self and go make your own holiday traditions… happy ones.
©2010 Dr.Valerie Olmsted All Rights Reserved
Dr. Valerie Olmsted is an author, naturopathic physician, metaphysician, internet entrepreneur, artist, speaker, and lover of life. Traveling with the Quantum Vortex Experience, she has helped thousands of people reach the inner connection they are seeking and has contributed to the discoveries of manifestation practices via quantum physics applications.