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I'm scared being back at home is going to undo all my progress

I hate Christmas. Not because I don't like fun, not because I'm a Scrooge or anything like that. Because Christmas has always brought out the worst in the people in my family. Their behaviour is difficult to deal with (and in some cases straight-up abusive towards me) on the best of days, but Christmas and the lead up to it makes everything 1000% worse.

Because of how they've always treated me, I learned from a young age to "shut off" my emotions as a defense. Over the years it became a reflex; I didn't even need to think about doing it. My feelings would just shut down, and I'd feel nothing until they "turned back on" again.

In September, I moved out to university. I deliberately picked a university that's far, FAR away from home. Being there, away from family, free to be myself and to do what I wanted and needed to do.. it's amazing. Something I've never experienced and never thought I would experience. So since being there, I've been working on... this sounds weird, but I've been working on feeling. Feeling normally. On not auto-shutting-down my feelings when things get stressful or when confronted. This has taken a lot of work and whilst I have improved, I'm still working on it and still regularly have to fight the reflex to "shut down" emotionally.

I made the mistake of coming home for Christmas.

Part of it was expectation. Everyone I know and am friends with at uni is home for the holidays. Part of it was family pressure. Part of it was that some small dumb part of me hoped that maybe things had changed.

I've been home less than 3 days and I am REGRETTING IT. Things haven't changed at all, and as I said, Christmas always makes it worse. I can't go back early either; I pre-booked tickets, and since it's far away and travel from here to there is expensive, I can't afford to change my plans.

I'm scared that being back here is going to undo all of the progress. I've been learning how to feel, how to experience emotion without shutting down. Now that I'm back here I can already feel that reflex creeping back up on me; it's far easier to not feel than to experience all the emotions that come with a family member screaming at you. I don't know how to avoid slipping back into it. I don't want to have to start all over again on my return to university. It took so much work, and I hate that I may have to go right back to day one.

I hate Christmas.


  • coc0maccoc0mac Posts: 1,054 Wise Owl
    Hi @WhatIsThisAnyway

    You did so, so well to share this with us. It sounds like you are going through a really tough time but I want you to know that you don't have to go through this alone because we are right here for you :heart:

    It's really positive to hear that uni is a great escape for you and a place to work on 'feeling'. I really understand what you mean by that, and think it shows so much strength that you are able to make that progress. I'm just wondering how long you have until you go back there? It sounds like a great place for you so please keep that as your motivation to keep going - and know that things will feel better for you soon :heart:

    Even if it does undo your progress, the fact you have made progress before proves that you have the strength and courage within you, and with that I know that you can absolutely do it again :heart: Perhaps you could keep us updated with how you are doing - and if you need any support we can help you with that or to find some specific support for you. How does that sound?

    Take good care :heart:
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