Why do so many people dread the holidays?
I think that the biggest single factor is the dissonance that so many feel at holiday time between the images of loving times with family and friends that pervade the media, and the very real feelings so many people in fact have.
We tend to think that all the world is having these golden times, and it’s just ourselves who face the realities of financial woes, troubles at work, self-destructive kids, pain-in-the-butt relatives, broken schedules, illness and, for all too many, isolation. And when these kinds of things pile on top of being physically fragile, many cannot stand the added stress, and so, yes, more of us do die at this time of the year than at any other.
As if we needed even more to contend with, there is the underlying natural annual cycle of regeneration, renewal, waning and then death, with the big D part coming in December. Holidays at this time of year were meant to be antidotes to the natural cycle, but the commercialization of them, with the images of retail customers brawling at department stores, Walmart and elsewhere, serve only to ratchet up the stress levels.
In fact, as I sit here writing this, exactly these kinds of images appeared on my television screen, as if on cue.
Carl Yung’s research predicted that fully 10 percent of us have real potential for strong neurotic, ranging to psychotic, behavior, and these kinds of times tend to bring these poor folks out of the woodwork as well.
The retail brawls are accompanied by road rage and other public displays as the pressures rise. And, of course, modern technology has given us the ability to record and share virtually every instance of psychopathy.
Do you think the odds are stacked just a bit against us? Well, at least we’re by no means alone. Happy Holidays!