During Christmas and New Year holidays, countless people go to family gatherings. Many travel back to their family-of-origin homes. If you were able to remain a serene, emotionally mature adult during those visits or dinners, you just demonstrated “mindfulness training!” You’ve grown.
For 45-year-old Steve, it was a huge challenge or mess. Heading back to his parents’ home and reuniting with his siblings for the holidays, he felt he’s in a “black hole” again. After a few minutes under one roof, he started pouting and shouting angry words at his Mom and sisters. He was back into his childhood family role and wound from decades ago, unhealed.
Holiday age regression is a universal experience individuals and families face. The concept of age regression is a sort of poetic metaphor given down from Freud to modern psychology. You may be a wealthy CEO of a company, a well-functioning member of society, and still regress. You can forget all the progress you’ve made many years between birth and fleeing the nest. For a week or so of the holidays, you can be age 8 again!
Is there anything that can be done? Lightening up can be helpful. Commit to an adult posture. Find out if you’re over-personalizing. Be mindful about potential replication of childhood hurts or scenarios; see them as they are and resolve to heal them soon. Stand up straight. Take deep breaths. Fold your arms in perseverance. Use the mental voice that you use in your daily adult life. Pray. Remember the real reason for the season. Plant your feet and you’ll have a happy holidays!