Surviving the holidays with stressful family members

Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

Published in the November 16, 2016 issue of The Bells

For many of us, Belton has become home. From Frosti Cones to Arusha’s to the creek that runs through campus, we can say we’ve built memories here that will last a lifetime. But despite making Belton home, many of us have aching hearts for those we left behind in our hometowns. As a San Antonio native, I miss good Mexican food and my church the most (along with my family). However, some of us at UMHB don’t have the privilege of a heart that beats for two places at once. For some, Belton is our one and only home. But what happens when winter break comes and we have to go home to people that don’t feel like family?

There are a couple of options for those who are unwilling to go home, and the first of which is to stay in Belton.
If you live off campus or in the apartments, this isn’t a problem. Apartments on campus stay open throughout all breaks and holidays, so no alternative housing is needed. If you live in the dorms, however, staying on campus is a little harder.

The Residence Life office does have an option for those wanting to stay on campus, but the process is selective and requires a need.
Those who want to apply can email residencelife@umhb.edu to receive the form that will allow requesting students the chance to choose specific dates to be on campus and why they’re requesting housing. If you must go home, there are some things to remember when your family gets you down over the holidays: your worth is not determined by what they think of you or your decisions.

Your worth is given to you by the everlasting God, who sent His son to be tortured and killed so that you can sit at the right hand of God.
If your earthly father isn’t ideal, you have a heavenly father that provides you with the desires of your heart.
If your home is for some reason unsafe, please see if there are friends and family who will take you in for the holidays.  You don’t have to tell on your family to receive the help you need. In addition, free longterm counseling is offered by the university who can help prepare you for the long winter break. Appointments can be made in the counseling office (Mabee 3rd floor) or at (254) 295-4696. Often, others act out because they never resolved issues that haunt their past.

This could be anything from school bullies to abusive parents. But whatever they have to say, it’s not about you.
Whatever hurtful things they say or do comes from a place of deep hurt, not from your inadequacies.
This is not to say that you have to deal with them because of it. You have every right to remove yourself from damaging situations and take steps to protect your mental or physical well-being. You are loved, you are worthy, and you are enough.  You are exactly what God has made you to be, regardless of those who say otherwise.

Author: Tori Van Hooser

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