Sunday, February 21, 2010

Purim and Survivors Childhood Abuse (emotional, physical and sexual abuse)

© (2010) by Vicki Polin

For most people, the holiday of Purim brings up great memories of dressing up in costumes and being silly.  For others Purim is very difficult and confusing time of the year.  It's a time that may conjure up past memories of parents or other adults who cared for them drinking a little too much alcohol and or being drunk.  When this happened their parent, grandparent or another adult care provider  might have lost their ability to control their anger, impulses and or inhabitions. 

For some Purim often mean that families get together, routines are changed, there is also the added stress of cleaning and preparing meals. These issues alone can be extremely stress producing. Unfortunately the reality is that there are parents who are already inclined to use their children as an outlet for emotions and urges. They are even more likely to do so when under the pressure of increased anxiety. Many survivors of childhood abuse report that they were abuse became more intense around and over all holidays (both Jewish and secular holidays).

It is not uncommon for symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) to emerge after times of relative remission and/or intensify in those already struggling. You may experience an increase in disturbing thoughts, nightmares and flashbacks. Thoughts of self-harm, even suicide, may be an issue. The important thing to remember is these feelings are about the past, that the abuse is over, and that it is of utmost importance for you to be kind to and gentle with yourself.

This is written as a reminder to all survivors: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
It's important to remember that whatever works for you is OK --know that you are not alone, not wrong, not bad for having second and third and forth thoughts about how to celebrate and if to celebrate the holidays. Look into yourself and see what you need, then do what you can to do it, and be kind to yourself for needing to make these adjustments.

If you are a survivor of childhood abuse and this is a difficult time of the year for you, please make plans to be with friends or support people. Be sure to call suicide hotlines if necessary.  CALL: 1-800-784-2433 and you will be connected to a crisis center nearest to you.

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