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I'm back home for Christmas. I regret it and I'm scared.

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. Along with that, I've been learning to accept my mistakes and how not to panic when I've done something wrong. 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.


  • PoppyBPoppyB Posts: 167 Moderator
    Hi @WhatIsThisAnyway welcome to The Mix, you're taking such a brave step by opening up about your feelings on the boards.

    I thought I would check in today and see how you are feeling?

    Firstly I want to say a big well done on working on self-improvement whilst you're at uni to fully experience emotions without shutting down when things get stressful. Given all the transitions that occur during university, it is so important to put yourself first and work out what helps you if things begin to get harder. 

    Christmas can be a difficult time for a lot of people, so you definitely aren't alone in feeling how you do about it - especially when, as you mentioned, there is societal expectation to be merry and get along with your family. Sometimes you can't always feel in the 'Christmas spirit' and that is okay and definitely doesn't make you a Scrooge!

    The Mix has a helpful article here that shares some helpful tips on looking after yourself over the Christmas period which might be helpful if you have a chance to read it. 

    Whilst you are with family for Christmas, have you considered other ways to let out your emotions in a healthy way such as speaking to your uni friends (or other people in your support network) to explain what you are going through at the moment? Even if you don't feel able to speak about your situation, you can just have a general conversation which can help clear your head and feel less isolated. Similarly, going for a walk will give you some physical space from being at home and provide you with a welcome chance to process your feelings and will release some endorphins. 

    I've left some resources down in the spoiler below if you feel you need any extra support :)


    Crisis Messenger are contactable by text, 24/7. You can text 'THEMIX' to 85258 and talk to them about anything. 

    Samaritans are available 24/7 to talk about anything that you are worried about in confidence. You can call them on 116 123. They also have some online services here. 

    Papyrus have a helpline that is open 9am – 10pm weekdays and 2pm – 10pm on weekends. You can call them on 0800 068 4141. 

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  • ValerialettoValerialetto Posts: 87 Miniposter

    Hello @WhatIsThisAnyway,


    I’m really sorry you feel this way, it’s really sad especially considering that it’s a big holiday


    First of all , I want tot tell you that you did really a great job to work on your feelings and it doesn’t sound weird at all. A lot of people do not even understand what’s going on with them and why they act/feel so, but you are mature enough to understand and to work on it. And I can imagine how many  efforts you put to get some progress, how valuable it is for you and obviously how scared you are that you can lose it cause you came home and came back to the atmosphere you tried to get rid of.

    Let’s look at this situation from another had enough strength to work on your feeling, how to express etc. cause you understand everything. So it was your personal choice and your goal. Even if you are totally stressed now no one can change your intention and behavior. You know what’s right for you and you already have some progress, why should it change? Your environment (very temporary environment as for now ) cannot change who you are and your choice, I understand that it’s real challenging for you to be with your family but probably it’ll make you even stronger and more confident about work you do.You know, my brother tells me sometimes that he is glad having our parents as they are, cause now he knows for sure how he doesn’t want to live))) Maybe it’s the same for you)

    There is no reason to regret darling, cause you are already there and cannot change it, so what do you think if you could just get some space for you and to enjoy Christmas by watching nice movies, reading books, writing plans for next year or smth like that?)

    Also I’d like to ask you if you are ready to talk about it….what exactly your relatives do that you decided to hide your feelings, don’t you think that there is probably another way out like to talk to them, to explain what you feel and think about all this?


    Merry Christmas to you!!))Hope everything will be fine soon <3

  • ShaunieShaunie England 🏠Posts: 7,365 The Mix Elder
    edited December 2019

    there definetly things that can make christmas more stressful between families and sounds horrible that can be abusive towards you. And if dont like being home as it is then i can understand how that might feel really awful for you. 

    It really good youve been working on your feelings. Most times its not good to shut down your feelings and it can build up qnd build up if you dont progress it and come in outburst so i think its really good you even recongised that- let alone trying to improve <3

    If being at home "undos" all your progress - you have still learnt it and still at the back on your head. I know you said youll go back to day one - but you wouldnt<3. I like to of progress as being on a car jounrey and theres something in the way - so you get stuck there for awhile. But you dont go all the way to the start because you still got of what was behind you and everything youve achieved. Basically you have grown and if did it once can do it again and i believe in you. 

    How have things been ? &When will you be going back to uni. Hope youre okay & that this site is somewhat helpful to you. Take care!
    “If we could look into each other’s hearts and understand the unique challenges each of us faces, I think we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance, and care” Marvin J. Ashton
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