I’m lucky. So lucky.

Nobody threw anything. Nobody yelled. Nobody told me I should have been aborted or that I ruin everything for everyone. Nobody twisted my arm behind my back, slapped me, pinched me, throttled me or used a belt on me.

Instead, my phone was full of happy texts and my inbox was full of emails from people who, despite everything, apparently like me. My children are both healthy (well, they both have a cold, but that’s small potatoes) and affectionate, and they deliberately spent the after-dinner food coma time in the living room with me. The dogs were ecstatic at the advent of ham in their dinner bowls. There was enough food, it was quiet and calm, the roof kept the rain out, and when I went to bed, shaky from residual holiday stress, I knew I’d survived another one.

Not only survived, but actually had a pleasant time. Each holiday season that passes, the stress is a little less.

If you’re in recovery from toxic family, you’re not alone. It’s okay to protect yourself, and arrange your life so the toxicity won’t overwhelm you. You’re not required to give your attention and emotional energy to people who behave badly.

Over and out.