Two weeks ago, a friend of mine was excitedly talking about the upcoming 4th of July weekend. She smiled nonstop talking about how her and her family love the 4th holiday. She started reminiscing about some special family memories. Even with Covid restrictions, she had a wonderful weekend planned for this year. As we get closer to the 4th, the same conversation plays out again and again.
Painful Holiday Triggers of Abuse
As I bite my tongue and raced painful thoughts quickly through my brain in hopes they didn’t stick around long, I try to be positive to those who share happy memories. Unfortunately, though, here I sit another year in a row, blogging about how the 4th of July is nothing but a huge trigger for me. I remember pieces of the past due to the familiarity of fireworks, fake family cookouts, and other things connected to the forced fun days. For me, Memorial Day and Labor Day don’t have quite the same triggering effects; without distinguishing markers like fireworks, I really can’t tell the difference between the two long weekends that start and end the summer. But, driving around seeing firework vendors on the side of the road for days on end (not as much this year), starts the visual effect for me well before the traditional 4th actually gets here.
When I opened up to my friend last weekend about the painful triggers, she recommended I try to switch up the day to independence from my abuser day. What a wonderful suggestion!
Honestly though, if I knew how to do this I surely would have already cut ties with this holiday wouldn’t have I?
After some soul searching and prayer, I’ve decided on the following for my new holiday: Independence from My Abuser Day which coincidentally falls on July 4th. Here’s how I am going to celebrate the day:
1. Serious mindfulness focus: Every time a painful thought comes to my mind instead of just sending it out of my mind, I am going to process it. I am going to remind myself that my abuser no longer exists in my world; my world is no longer dangerous; and the pain of the memory can no longer hurt me.
2. More serious mindfulness focus: I am going to stay home and avoid all references to a family traditional weekend. To do this I am going to avoid any pool or water activities, I am not driving past the mall and potential firework tents, and I am going to avoid walking later in the afternoon when there seems to be multiple cars parked at certain houses.
3. Even more mindfulness focus: I am going to avoid Facebook and social media. Honestly, I am happy other people are able to enjoy this holiday! But I don’t need to be reminded of their happiness all day long; I should just take a day off of Facebook.
4. Obtaining mindfulness strength through prayer: The ultimate mindfulness focus comes from my activating and relying on the holy spirit to give me the discipline to be cognizant of my PTSD while allowing myself to be focused on being in the here and now of my safe environment.
I am relying on lots of intentional focus on my thoughts this Saturday to get me through the day emotionally safer than previous years. This year is going to be different! I am going to control my thoughts and actions; not vice versa.
Please share any strategies you are using to get through this weekend,
Hi, I'm Sue
Welcome to my blog! I served twenty-one honorable years on active duty, living a double life of capability and accomplishment in the service while enduring brutality and abusiveness in my twenty-one year oppressive marriage. Today I'm happily married and have three children who are my inspiration and motivation.
My goal is to help combat the lies of abusers with the truth of God. I hope you find my words to be healing and helpful through your own life experiences.
Being separated from my abusive husband didn't make me a domestic violence survivor. It surely didn't release me from the grip of his brainwashing control and the innate power he had on me.
Read the full raw story in my new book, Rock Bottom and Faithless.