Why Christmas Is The Toughest Time For Abused Women

by Annie Kaszina on December 12, 2009

Christmas is, allegedly, The Most Wonderful Time of the
Year.  But is it for you

If you are struggling in an abusive relationship, or if
you are processing the breakup from an abusive partner, Christmas can feel like
the loneliest, saddest time of the year. 

Why? 

Because society and the media propagate a myth of how
things are meant to be at Christmas, and your life doesn’t look like that.  Nobody is meant to have emotional wounds or
scars at Christmas.  We are all meant to
conform to the fairy tale.  

It’s a time to spend money we may not have for presents
our loved ones almost surely don’t need, and probably don’t even want.  

The pay-off for doing that is the wonderful smiles of
gratitude they will give you – the same smiles of gratitude that your loved
ones, and especially your loving partner, will lavish on you for the enormous
effort you have selflessly expended to create the perfect holiday.  

Yeah, right! 

Let’s have a reality check here.  Being free of your abusive relationship over the Holiday Season
can feel lonely.  However, it is a lot
less awful than enduring the Most Wonderful Time of the Year with an abusive
partner.  

Why? 

Do I even need to tell you?  

The holiday season is like a
searchlight that highlights on all the cracks and faults in your
relationship.  You spend the time
desperately searching for any shred of proof that the relationship is – or
could be
– better than you know it to be; while your partner is enraged,
beyond all measure, by the seasonal expectation to play Mr Nice Guy.  

Combine that with seasonally
enforced ‘closeness’, alcohol, and the stress of the holiday season, and
you have a time bomb; a time bomb that you simply cannot defuse. 

Denial alone will not be enough
to save you from the inevitable explosion. 

Of course, if you’ve been out of
the relationship a little while, this is the time of year when you could start
to remember ‘The Good Times’. 

If you find yourself doing that,
please, please, take a moment to stop and think: 

  • Which
    good times?
  • How
    long ago did they happen?
  • How
    often did they occur?
  • How
    did they end?
  • Who
    got the blame for ‘spoiling’ them?
  • What
    did your abusive partner do to make you feel good over the
    holidays?
  • What
    price did you end up paying for ‘the good times’? 

An abusive ex-partner may use
the Holiday Season for leverage.  Given
that he is very good at exploiting your vulnerability, he may use the Holiday
Season as a time to get back together with you.

Wouldn’t it be nice if he
suddenly reappeared, tail between legs, to tell you he has finally ‘got it’,
finally understood what a treasure you are and, from now on, he will be a
reformed character, aka The Man of Your Dreams? 

Wouldn’t that be the best
Christmas present?  Ever? 

Actually, it wouldn’t.  I’ve no wish to rain on your parade, but
this is the time of year to exercise extreme caution.  The bottom line is this: 

Abusive men do not change their
spots.  

They may need you.  They once really liked something about you –
something they could feed off.  You were
really useful to them in lots of ways – maybe you still are.  They get their feelings of power and control
from putting you down.  They may even
have their occasional tender moments – they have needs, too, after all.  

But your wellbeing is never
anywhere near the top of their agenda.  

The truth is that it is not on
their agenda, at all. 

If they don’t care about your
distress – and they don’t – then your wellbeing does not even figure on their
agenda.  

How would you know that your
wellbeing really did figure on their agenda? 

The short answer is probably
this: they would be willing to offer you their consistent, generous help
and support so that you could achieve what you really want to achieve, in
your own way

Oh, and they would behaving in a
loving manner also.  Consistently. 

That would be the ultimate
giveaway! 

But that is not going to happen,
is it?  Either during the Holiday
Season, or at any other time of year.

The worst of it is that he
taught you even to stop expecting to be treated in a loving manner.  

This Holiday Season there may be
many things which you would like, and cannot have.  On the other hand, this is the perfect time to start treating
yourself in a loving manner.  

Not sure how?  Find just two things that make you feel
good, things that are cheap and cheerful, like a hot bath, filled to the brim
with bubbles, or dancing in your bedroom to your favourite music, and make sure
that you commit the time to doing them every day over the holiday
season.  

It doesn’t take much to make you
start to feel better. 

Try
it!  You’ll soon see that it works.  

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