Holidays can be tough on those without engaged families. How can we best support them?
Mother’s Day is a day that bestows celebration and praise to those who have done so much to earn it, the mothers of this world. That praise and celebration should have space in our mind and time more than once a year. That being said…What happens to those who had abusive, or deadbeat mothers? Is it a privilege to have a mother there that’s worth the praise?
The holiday is like a gaping wound for me (just like many family-based holidays) which close friends poor salt into unintentionally. Days such as those are massive suicide risk days for many of us. Days lacking in support due to where people focus their energy on that day. Which tends, though unintentionally, to leave those of us without mothers or in a lot of cases without families out to dry. Causing us to be utterly isolated which can trigger re-living troubled childhood trauma. It can be a very dark day for so many.
… A day that’s a constant reminder of love you never received…
… Love that other’s take for granted, a recognition in and of itself that can leave people with abandonment issues, chronic depression, and low self- worth. Facebook, with its endless parade of personal photos, has a crucial impact on the emotional and mental health of many facing life with an absentee mother.
All the photos of your friends spending time with families, inspire feelings of loss and despair rather than warmth, or love. Not to mention, that your support networks are not available just like most other holidays, days that are some of the most painful times of the year for you. Am I asking you to forget about celebrating your moms, for my benefit? Of course not.
What I will say is take time to reach out to the loved ones who do not have moms or families to praise on those days. It only takes ten minutes to reach out and ask how they’re doing and let them know you care for them. It Can Make a world of difference.
… the impact of this can literally save lives…
It must actually be acted on, however. In this day and time, action seems to be a rare occasion, due to people being overworked and stretched to the limit. Which is why days like Mother’s Day are so important. They allow us to slow down and recognize the those we care about, including those we know, have difficulty during the holidays.
That difficulty is even more intense for those of us who had toxic family units that were abusive while they were around. I remember a time in which I was at the brink of suicide. I was dealing with the death of the only family member who ever loved me, which also triggered me to reflect on the suicide of my very abusive grandmother. I was left conflicted, and destructive. I had lowkey made a suicide plan and was trying to figure out how to accomplish it.
… Then the phone rang….
It was a former lover who called to tell me they appreciated and cared about me a lot. They told me that they were glad I had come into their life, even though we were no longer together, nor planned to reconcile. This was enough to make me feel worthwhile, which made me reconsider suicide. It literally saved my life. Because someone reminded me that they cared about me.
It can really be that simple especially during holidays. However, there is one thing I must caution, be careful about inviting people to hang out with your family for the holidays. It can actually be counterproductive and harmful.
No matter how much you might accept a friend, your family is not theirs, and it can be extremely clear to them. In my experience, it leaves a very empty feeling. It’s kind of like starving, until you’re finally invited to dinner, only to discovered you’re not allowed to eat.
Now, I’m sure for some folks it isn’t like that, however, if you do extend an invitation to hang with your family, make sure it’s a soft one. It is really easy for that invitation to seem obligatory which may very well compound their feelings of despair instead of alleviating them. However, the most hurtful thing to do for us forsaken children is nothing.
In conclusion spend time with your bio family, especially your mom and show them they’re valuable, and irreplaceable. But just remember to care for your chosen family and friends as well. Life is hard, and we make it easier for each other by loving each other.
Bypolar is a Seattle based musician and activist. He can be follwed on Twitter and Instagram @bypolar_tc