Spot These 4 Common Holiday Season Triggers
Updated: Apr 11
and learn 4 strategies to navigate through them
The holiday season is often seen as full of joy, peace, and happiness. Moods and emotions can appear elevated, and at the same time depressed due to stresses that can occur. Some of us look forward to the holiday season, while others just try to find ways to get through it. Something often not talked about are the triggers during the holiday season for survivors of domestic abuse and ways to cope with the feelings that develop.
4 common holiday season triggers
1. ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Gatherings of friends and family typically involve at least one relative asking when you will be married, or where is so and so (the last relationship), or when there will be children. For DA (domestic abuse) survivors, such questions can easily cause feelings of shame or even guilt - especially if the answers are not what the one questioning wants to hear.
2. RECALLING MEMORIES
With the holidays, memories are created and even reminisced upon. But for survivors of domestic abuse, these holiday memories could be traumatic instead of nostalgic. Interacting with specific people, places, things, or even specific smells can bring these painful memories flashing back in the survivor's mind.
3. OTHERS SHARING YOUR STORY
Another trigger may be others telling your story with or without your permission. For instance, this could be a family member discussing your personal story with someone or a close friend telling one of their friends all about your journey. One way to handle this is to set boundaries and to explain that these are out of respect for your personal wishes. Such boundaries could be stating that you are not comfortable with your information being talked about without your permission.
4. CHANGING RELATIONSHIPS
Memories of previous holidays can come up, whether it was good either positive or negative can cause stress due to things being different now than in the past. Changes in relationships can be stressful, especially while attending events that the significant other typically attended with you. This could also be a change in a relationship such as cutting out family members (Thompson, 2014). No matter the relationship it is a loss, and “it’s important to allow yourself to grieve this” (Thompson, 2014).