During this holiday season, we at CPAF would like to send our friends and supporters a gentle reminder that the holidays can represent a difficult and vulnerable time for survivors. Let’s try to remember to be compassionate and empathetic when sharing the holiday cheer.
Many survivors associate the holidays with increased stress levels and negative memories. This time of the year can be an emotionally taxing and painful time when survivors visit and spend time with family and friends. Some family members might ask “Where is your partner? How is your spouse doing?” — not aware that the survivor is attempting to flee an abusive relationship.
For undocumented, immigrant, or refugee survivors, the holiday emphasis on family togetherness often magnifies the absence of close family and loved ones. It reminds them of their lack of freedom and inability to travel home for the holidays.
In solidarity with survivors, be mindful and make your holidays wishes/messages informed, understanding, and kind.
Below is a short list CPAF compiled to help practice mindfulness this holiday season:
- Put yourself first. Though we appreciate and encourage sharing the seasonal cheer, be mindful of whether your message is inclusive to those who may have toxic relationships with family members. Remember, we all walk different paths in life, none of which are the same.We encourage everyone to pause and take a break during tough conversations.
- Be aware of messages you give. As your family is gathered together, give examples of how they can share messages of empathy and kindness. Instead of assuming others have family members they are close with, you can ask “do you usually like to celebrate the holidays?” Educating family and friends of how their messaging can be more inclusive and impactful.
- Reach out. Should you or someone you know need support, there is help available. Please reach out to us at our 24-hour multilingual crisis hotline at 1-800-339-3940. We want you to know that you are not alone. Don’t forget to practice self-care and healthy love this holiday season.