Dec. 22, 2020

E45: Being triggered, dissociated, and setting goals during Christmas

Today I talk about being triggered, dissociated, and setting goals during Christmas. To take the free course "Is CPTSD Controlling My Life" at Think Unbroken Academy click here:

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Today I talk about being triggered, dissociated, and setting goals during Christmas. To take the free course "Is CPTSD Controlling My Life" at Think Unbroken Academy click here: To listen to The Michael Unbroken Podcast Click here: Follow me on Instagram @MichaelUnbrokenThis episode is Sponsored by Think Unbroken Academy.

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Part of me wants to scream fuck Christmas. The other part of me wants Christmas to mean something more than presents and stuff. Christmas is so triggering in an already toxic society that says it’s our duty to keep abusive family members in our lives rather than seek peace and health, and it is because, by that understanding, we find ourselves at battle with ourselves over our sovereignty. 

I think we need to hit the pause button and recognize for a moment that right now, and no, I don’t mean in the times of Covid, but now as in the holiday season, is the most challenging time of year for so many of us. I include myself in this. That is not to say that other parts of the year are not equally as difficult but simply to say this — in a society that ignores its people’s needs because commerce is more important than love — shit breaks. 

As trauma survivors, we are asked to wear masks to hide the pain that we feel inside during the holidays. We are told not to be aGrinch and to be in the spirit. Why? Why should we adhere to such heresy, considering that we have been dismantled and not yet put back together? We have been stripped to our core, bare naked, and shivering, wondering why me and told to put a little glitter on it — that new toy will fix the other 364 days of pain.

I often think about being a child in a home of abuse on Christmas days and feeling like God was somehow taunting me. For one brief moment in time, I would feel peace. I could never sleep as a child, and the slightest rustle would wake me. I would wonder if maybe Santa had time to come by. I would dream all the dreams that children like me would dream: Maybe this will be the day that my real dad finally comes back, I sure hope our electricity works this month,or the all-time classic maybe mom will finally stop using those pills to hide from the world, in the dark early hours of morning little girls and boys like me only dream of peace and safety. 

Dealing with CPTSD during the holidays

4:30 am is far too young in the day for an eight-year-old to be awake. It wasn’t curiosity that had my attention but fear. How do you sleep in a house of torment?  But in this one quiet moment, as I stepped into the hall and looked down the long corridor, there would be a tree covered in lights and tinsel and bulbs. And in those steps towards the tree, I would feel a sense of awe and happiness. 

Then reality would return. Only hours later, I would find myself on the ground screaming in agony from another belt or fist against my flesh. I would feel the fear of words resonating within my soul — no wonder your real father left, oh you think you are the man of the house, stop crying, or I’ll hit you harder.But for one brief moment, as I walked down that hall and stood in front of the tree and saw what presents Santa may have brought, I felt like a child. I felt that feeling of something beautiful, like someone cared about me, like life wasn’t torture or a trick wasn’t being played on me. Then I would be back in the reality of hiding bruises, blacked eyes, scorched skin, and secrets. 

I don’t much care for the idea that Christmas is the time of year for family and friends to come together in the cause of exchange and in the often dimmed light of truth. It’s a hard pill to swallow, yet we are sold the idea that now is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s the time that we come together, pretend that life is some wondrous bit of joy, and leap into another year of sweeping reality under the rug. 

For some, Christmas was not filled with trauma and abuse, and I am not envious of them. No, quite the opposite. I am thrilled for them because that means that someone in their lives took the mantle of peace, understanding, communication, and love. For the rest of us, I only hope that we can step further into our truth and seek not only safety but hope that one day we will no longer be on the backside of holiday cheer but instead be at the forefront of happiness. 

No gift will replace what we lost, and that’s the truth and one that I wish we did not have in common, but I know that in the reality of loss, there is potential for gain. There is always the potential for hope, love, happiness, and peace. There is still potential for creating the family that you want, the relationships that you deserve, and the holiday spirit as defined by you. 

Until next time my friend…

Be Unbroken,


Michael UnbrokenProfile Photo

Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.