Holiday Myths Held by People with Trauma

This page of holiday myths is for everyone who finds Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day an unhappy experience. I listed this series of false beliefs about the holidays because false beliefs tend to act as self-judgment. They often end up as an abusive stick to criticize yourself with as you try to live through a difficult time.

Most of my life’s work has been spent with people who experienced abuse, trauma, grief and tragedy. I worry that someone with unhappy, abusive, and traumatic histories might feel isolated and alone during the holidays.

It is my hope that you challenge these beliefs or at the very least remind yourself that they are false. In the Holiday Art Coaching Group we will be talking about tools to use for this.

Watch this space. I’ll be adding a myth daily. There are 2 other holiday pages: Quotes and Self-Care Tips.

Holiday Myth 1

This is a myth that you can walk into a space that reminds you of unhappy memories and just block it out. Not only is that not good for you, it hurts more.

I remember the first year of holidays after my late husband died. As I lived the year’s cycle of holidays, I was hit with such grief.

Instead of blocking the memories and feelings, think about them. Think about what you need. Then find a way to give it to yourself.

Holiday Myth 2

I’m not sure this is true for anyone anywhere. It’s harder for people whose life experience tells them that holidays can be tragic, painful, and scary.

I’m probably repeating myself over and over, but no one nowhere eliminate unhappy feelings.

Accepting your feelings and comforting yourself is key.


I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing this was actually true. But you cannot. This is especially painful during holidays. Instead, if you can remind yourself you are normal, this will be a tiny bit easier.

Instead, if you can remind yourself you are normal, this will be a tiny bit easier.


The cruelty of this belief is that people really try to get into the swing of things no matter what has happened to them. And because it’s impossible to do without some deliberately acquired  skills and actions, they fail. Then their inner critique makes lots of noise. In coaching we call this self-criticism, gremlins. This myth gives your inner gremlins lots of permission.



This probably is self-evident. No one always loves everything. The oppressiveness of this belief is that it can leave you feeling out of step.

Even worse, you might falsely believe that if you cannot love the holidays, you deserve to be unhappy. In this way, people deny themselves the comfort they need.

I remember the Easter I was chased and attacked by a gang of roudy boys. They hit me with bricks and threw me down in the mud. I think, at ten years old, I was most offended by the fact they ruined my beautiful lavender organza dress.

I find Easter uncomfortable. The candy is problematic for me. I get to comfort myself and make regular plans for how I will cope with this holiday.

Your get to do the same for yourself.


If you have a chronic illness and research does show that early childhood trauma increases lifetime illness, then you might hope this belief is true.

Chronic illness has it’s own special considerations. Self-care, pacing, and realistic expectations are all part of living day-to-day with chronic illness. Unfortunately, not everyone in your life will have reasonable expectations of you. This requires much self-honesty and assertiveness. And that is difficult.

Your solutions begin with gaining your own realistic expectations of yourself during the holidays.


Again, if you live with chronic illness or have multiple demands upon you, this myth can be brutal. I live with chronic illness and find it difficult to do everything my mind can think of. Sometimes I visualize a fancy holiday party with foods, decorations, and such. Or making a creative costume for myself and my husband. Instead, I have to stay within my energy envelope. I only have so many energy marbles in my jar before I ‘lose my marbles’ to my chronic medical conditions.


When I wrote this one, I thought, “Well, that’s rediculous!” Then I remembered how many times I tried to please everyone in my life. It’s quite difficult to challenge this one, because the people who want you to please them will argue about it. It might help to realize that the only person who can change this burden on you is you.


I’m not certain I can write anything wise about this. I do remember years I’ve thought, “it’s okay, it’s the holidays” while I ruined whatever healthy eating plan I was following.

Your feedback is important! If you have holiday quotes that are meaningful to you, please add them to the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the page.

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