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The Holidays with Complex-PTSD – Part 1

Updated: 2 days ago

Happy Holidays! (Big, deeply warm hug),

I hope you have plans for the holidays, I hope you’re throwing a party, or you’ve been invited somewhere. If this isn’t the case for you and the nagging ache of being or feeling alone on the holidays is beginning to set in, I want to remind you that you’re worth being around, you’re enjoyable and you have so much value. The Holidays with Complex-PTSD can be hard.

You’re not alone in the ache…I used to feel it too, often when I was in a room full of people. However, as I began to acknowledge my worth, the lonely ache started to dissolve and what was left was a realization that I had been waiting for others to determine my worth and their invite or non-invite was the determining factor. If I was invited, I was lovable; if I was invited, I was important; if I was invited, I had value. But if I wasn’t, well…

Once I began finding my worth and value in what Jesus says about me, I began believing I deserved my own traditions, I deserved to look forward to the holidays and I deserved to celebrate regardless of the human invite.

Ezra, my husband, sometimes works on the holidays so when we aren’t able to travel to see family, the kids and I have our own tradition. I buy a pre-made holiday meal, we see a movie at the theater, and we visit Ezra for a short time at his work. This tradition has become a major hit! Since we don’t normally spend money to go to the theater, my kids see it as a treat and love it. And, if you haven’t noticed, there is always a new movie out during the holidays. We also sneak candy into the theater, which kills Sienna because she’s a rule-follower. However, because I don’t remember many family traditions that weren’t tainted by screaming, hitting or anger, sneaking candy into the theater (although a silly tradition) is an activity from my childhood that brings good memories. We visit Ezra so that he also doesn’t feel alone while he works, and we love to see him. Then, we go home and I heat up a yummy meal that I didn’t have to make! We not only enjoy this tradition, but we look forward to it!

Out of knowing our worth and out of the belief that we deserve to celebrate, we deserve to enjoy the holiday and we deserve to look forward to the holiday, we live it up in safe and healthy ways!

Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life and have life abundantly” (John 10:10b). Jesus created us as image bearers wanting us to know and believe that our identity is rooted in Him. With our identity in Christ as our foundation, our worth doesn’t change based on a holiday invitation.

I hope this holiday season you know your worth and, out of that knowledge and belief, the ache starts to dissolve. I hope you celebrate in a way that’s safe and brings you joy.

If you are just realizing you deserve to enjoy the holidays and are starting your journey of discovering traditions you love, I’m so happy for you. The process can be fun and memorable, but keep in mind it may take a few years to determine what feels good and works best for you.

Comment below with your favorite holiday traditions that others could do alone. I can't wait to hear your ideas!


I hope you have a safe place to sleep tonight and a full belly. Praying for your mental health.


Trees covered in snow framing a red cabin
Merry Christmas


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