Top Tips for Surviving Christmas If You’re An Emotionally Abused Woman

by Annie Kaszina on December 17, 2013

 

  1. Don’t make the Christmas hype mean something about you. So, you don’t have the perfect, fantasy family. That was never your fault. You did the best you could. That’s a lot more than could be said for your emotionally abusive partner. You tried doing two people’s jobs. You actually did it rather well. It’s just that your abusive partner has been a lead weight around your neck – a wonderful lead weight, as he doubtless sees it. But, as Gertrude Stein didn’t say: “A lead weight is a lead weight, is a lead weight.” 

  2. Forget about perfect. Hollywood’s perfect: the perfect illusion. You don’t have to be perfect to be lovable. Not in the real world – as opposed to Hollywood, or Abuse World. The rules of Abuse World are toxic, and just plain W-R-O-N-G. Had you achieved perfection, all your efforts would not have been crowned with glory. Your emotionally abusive partner would have used that as another reason to punish you. Nothing you did was ever going to be right. That’s his problem. Don’t make it yours. 

  3. Give Trying a rest. Working your socks off trying to achieve more than you possibly can is a hiding to nothing. People either don’t notice how Herculean your effort has been, or else they don’t care. Did nobody ever tell you that Trying only ever teaches you how to get better… at Trying? It’s guaranteed to created more thankless work for you. But it’s never going to produce the results you want. Let it go. Make that a Christmas present you give yourself, this year. 

  4. Remember, you exist, too. Stop being the Selfless Spirit of Christmas. Nobody needs you to be selfless. The world may obsess about Father Christmas through December – maybe even through November – but, for the rest of the year, he’s redundant. Surplus to requirements. He’s just a small, exhausted, forgotten heap slumped in a corner somewhere, in Lapland. Don’t let that be you, too. 

  5. Show yourself a little kindness. Now, that one’s seriously scary. It’s not something you normally do, is it? In fact, chances are, you don’t even know where to start.  Showing yourself a little kindness has nothing whatsoever to do with the way you live in your emotionally abusive relationship.  So,let me give you a clue: shoes, handbags, clothes, or even a holiday, aren’t the same as true kindness. Kindness starts when you start seeing the best in yourself, wanting the best for yourself, and nurturing yourself. 

  6. Stop telling yourself the “It’s-Only-Ever-Going-To-Be-Awful-For-Me” story. That’s already happened, remember?It’s been awful – for a reason. Stick with that two-legged, abusive ‘reason’ and nothing good will have even a fighting chance of happening to you. So, let go of the Christmas fatalism. Where there is Life, there is the possibility of change. You just have to believe in it. 

  7. Dare to dream. Your life can always improve. But if you have your gaze firmly fixed on the worst, you that’s what you’ll keep sleepwalking towards. Dream, and let those dreams start to propel you forward into your brighter future. 

  8. Spend time with people who truly love you, instead of people who hurt you. And if that’s impossible, right now, because the person who hurts you the most is perched on top of the Christmas tree, wearing his ‘Kiss Me Quick’ hat, and sporting a prize-winning mistletoe plant in his mouth, that’s no reason to give up on yourself. Instead, commit to putting the change you want in place before Christmas 2014 comes around. 

  9. Change that “I can’t because…” story, to an “I CAN because…” story. And if you find that challenging, that’s because you’re not focusing on what you want. We’re not talking George Clooney gift-wrapped under the Xmas tree. (Santa tells me he’s out of stock of George.) That’s not what you want anyway. What you really want is freedom, peace of mind, and feeling safe from attack. All of those things you can, most definitely, still have. Just not with an aggressive, controlling, negative, emotional abuser. Post-Christmas is the perfect time to send him back to Santa for re-cycling. 

  10. Take the first step. Back in the bad old days, Christmas and New Year were the saddest times of all, in my thoroughly unhappy calendar. Every year, I’d tell myself I couldn’t take anymore. But I did. Because the only action I took was trying to change my emotionally abusive husband. Change starts with the first step you take to put your happiness, your life, and your freedom on the agenda. You have no idea of the power of that first step to turbo-charge your journey to happiness and wholeness. You’re worth it. Promise yourself you’ll take that step.

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