The first thing to remember is that you can survive Christmas. Even if you feel you must spend time with someone who has abused you, you can still get through this difficult time by planning ahead and thinking about how you will manage your time.  

So, what can you do when your Christmas is likely to bring you into contact with people you’d rather not see?

  • Remember you can say ‘no’ and that you don’t have to feel obliged to go to family events if they will make you feel worse
  • If you feel you do have to go to family events, limit the time you have to spend there. Arrange to visit a friend or volunteer at an event so that you have a reason to limit the time you’re there.
  • Make sure you include plenty of time for yourself around family events. Give yourself time to register how you are feeling – call a friend or go online to find support.
  • Let your friends or a trusted supporter know how you feel about attending family events. Sharing how you feel won’t change anything, but it will help to know that you aren’t alone with that feeling.

Lots of people have an idealised fantasy of what Christmas should be like and feel cheated if that isn’t their reality.

Allow yourself to feel sad about not having the kind of family Christmases that you should have. That wasn’t your fault and you didn’t have a choice.

Recommended read: Ways for Adult Survivors of Abuse to Cope During the Holidays 

Grounding Exercises