Triggers In Toxic Abusive Relationships (TAR) During The Holiday Season

TAR Pit is an endless hole of shame and distress, if we are not mindful and true to ourselves we lose our values and are prone to becoming the victims of toxic abusive relationships and falling back into toxic behaviors.

The holiday season can be a joyous time, but it can also be incredibly stressful. Between family gatherings, financial strain, and coordinating travel plans, the stress of the season can make anyone feel overwhelmed — especially for survivors of TAR – toxic abusive relationships.

Navigating a TAR can feel like walking on eggshells any time of the year, let alone during the holidays, where money skirmishes or tense family get-togethers can be particularly triggering.

If you’re in a toxic relationship, here are some common triggers to be aware of this holiday season:

Financial strain.

The financial strain of holiday shopping only exacerbates this stress, increasing the likelihood of arguments and other forms of relationship violence. Try to take a more relaxed approach towards gift shopping and prioritize your mental health over somebody else’s expectations.

Child visitations.

If you have children with a toxic partner but are separated or divorced, making visitation arrangements can be an emotionally charged ordeal. You strive to make the holidays special for your children. Still, with an abusive partner involved, it can be extremely stressful to leave your child with the abuser — especially if it’s an unsupervised visit. If you can go no-contact with the other parent in other instances practice modified contact.

Time spent alone with your partner.

The need for power and control is what drives abusive partners. A common way abusers try to exert control is by isolating their partners from their friends and family. Even if you’re traveling to visit family during the holiday season, the time you spend alone with your partner may make you feel concerned for your safety.

Family gatherings.

Whether a holiday gathering is with immediate or extended family (or both), get-togethers like these can place survivors of relationship violence in precarious positions where conflict is an all too real possibility.

We wish everybody a safe, non-toxic holiday. Don’t fall for holiday gaslighting. The greatest gift you can give yourself after emerging from a toxic relationship is a healthy relationship with yourself. Unfortunately, the first toxic relationship we usually tend to have is the one with ourselves. Practise self-love and self-acceptance.

You are not alone

Image from Anthony Tran on

About the Author



TAR Network™ is a 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to bringing worldwide awareness and treatment to those whose emotional reality has been distorted by narcissistic abuse. The mission of TAR Network is to support men, women, the LGBTQ+ community, tweens & teens, families, parents who are alienated from their children, workers, and caregivers going through or emerging from TAR. With subject matter experts, affiliates, organizations with supportive resources, and our individual donor community our programs will help you out of the fog and into the light. TAR Network is currently developing several innovative projects: TAR Tales – a safe place to share your truth TAR Centers – a safe place to get vital CPTSD treatment TAR Anon – a safe and nonjudgmental worldwide support network. There is strength in numbers. We’ve all suffered from trauma and abuse at the hands of someone close. Please join us in this worldwide effort toward recovery.

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