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An Abusive Partner – Not For Christmas, Or For Life!

by Annie Kaszina on December 19, 2016

Not just for Christmas

Here in the UK we’re frequently reminded, at this time of year, that “A Dog Is Not Just For Christmas”.  True enough, decent, responsible people don’t buy a dog just for Christmas.

However, the fact that we are constantly reminded that a dog is for life suggests that a lot of people must be very short-sighted, and easily swayed by emotion.

What has that to do with emotional abuse recovery?

Simple really: an emotionally abusive relationship is not for Christmas.  Still less for life.

An abusive partner is not for Christmas – or for life.

An abusive partner isn’t For Christmas” either.  Let alone for life. 

At this time of year, the temptation to play Happy Families and Happy Relationships  is almost overwhelming.  So, it’s really important to know that the choices you make now are not just for Christmas.  Choices you make now will affect the whole year ahead, and may well impact on future years as well.

An abusive ex-partner may rear his head again, for Christmas, with tales of being a reformed character, and Fresh Starts, and all the usual clichés (all to be found in the Christmas section of “The Abusive Man’s Hymn Sheet”, p.49-52).  Chances are, he has spent some time practising his best lines. So, they may sound sweet to your ears.

But are they true?

What makes the best con men utterly convincing?  Is it that they totally believe whatever they happen to be saying at the time when they say it?  Or is it that they are just extremely good at noticing and storing what matters to you so they can come out with it, with a straight face, when that serves their best interests?

In the end, there’s no more point worrying about that than there is agonizing over whether an abusive man does what he does deliberately.

More useful questions include:

  • What do abusive men want over Christmas? and
  • What are they prepared to do to get it?

What do abusers really want over Christmas

So, what do they really, really want over Christmas​?

Is it really you?

Have the Christmas lights, and carols, and Santa Claus suits everywhere triggered new pathways in their hearts and minds?

Do they really, sincerely want to make it the most wonderful Christmas ever for YOU?  And are they prepared to do back flips, ‘sleep out in the rain, and trade the world for the good thing they’ve found’?  In short, is your emotionally abusive (ex)partner finally having a Percy Sledge moment? 

I didn’t think so.

Are you merely their Feel-Good-Factor Provider

Or do they want you to provide the feel-good factor for them at Christmas?

Do they want you to provide all their creature comforts, yet again?

Can they use you to make themselves feel important, and powerful, and… well, lovable? 

Can they get a festive high out of seeing themselves at the centre of your world, yet again, and, ultimately, treat you however they please?

That’s heady stuff for an abuser.

You may be thinking ‘love’, ‘happy families’, ‘happy ever after’ and finally getting the validation you deserve.  What they fancy is giving themselves a good emotional tonic. They may be dimly aware that they are less than perfect human beings. But being around you -and comparing themselves to you – makes them feel like gods.

What do you think they would be prepared to do to get that high?

  • Tell a few lies?
  • Make a few glib promises?
  • Play Mr Nice Guy for a while.
  • Turn over the New Leaf that has a very short shelf-life.
  • Take their hand off their heart long enough to buy you something to put you in the Christmas spirit – and their power, all over again?

If you look at it from their point of view, for once, that sounds like a pretty reasonable trade off. Sometimes an abuser just has to speculate a few ounces of charm in return for a ton of convenience…

Christmas is not an easy time to get through.

We’re all familiar with the sentimental hype around Christmas.

And then there’s the commercial stuff…

Underlying the frenzied consumption is the message that Christmas will only be a wonderful time if we deluge loved ones with a mountain of gifts, and stuff our faces with more food in one day than we would normally consume in a month…

And, as if that weren’t bad enough, Christmas makes increased demands and expectations on you.   For a lot of people Christmas means being closeted for a mini-eternity with people who either you can’t stand, or who can’t stand you.

And then we wonder at our failure to make the whole thing perfect for the people around us!

The season of relationship breakdown

This is the season of relationship breakdown. And so it should be.  A lot of flawed relationships finally crack under the strain of enforced togetherness, and unrealistic expectation.

HOORAY!!

When bad relationships fall apart, it should always be cause for celebration.  Because it leaves the way open for new learnings, new beginnings, and true happiness.

If Christmas is the trigger for the – hopefully, final – breakdown of your abusive relationship, that is a real gift.  Even though it may not feel like a gift at the time.

And if you feel swept along by the tide of sentimentality, and goodwill to all men (including abusers) to give him and the relationship one more try, please remember: an abusive man is NOT for life, and definitely shouldn’t even be for Christmas.

But if you do get hooked back into that destructive relationship, even if it’s only for a few weeks, it could throw you off the journey back to happiness and wholeness by years.

As ever you have a choice.

If you so choose, Christmas could be the season where you try your hardest to be jolly – especially if you haven’t felt jolly for a long time.

The problem is: it’s a pitifully short season.

Plan for your future happiness

Or else, you could say, “This is the season when I start to plan for my long term future happiness.  Why would I settle for ‘jolly’ a couple of weeks per year, when I can have happiness 52 weeks a year.”  (And, trust me, with him out of your life – and out of your head – you CAN.)

So, here’s the thing, that will never happen for as long as you rely on an unpredictable, self-obsessed, unkind abuser to make you happy.

But I guarantee it will happen when you become self-full, and allow yourself to be at the heart of your own world.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne December 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Thank you and God Bless you.

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Martha December 28, 2011 at 4:36 am

I always love reading your stories. They put me at ease and remind me!!
I have been divorced from my abusive ex huband now for 4 years. At this time of year, I still get anxious about the fact that he has a lady “friend” as he calls her and I am still on my own – still hearing his voice on how I was a cold, unemotional person. Our 3 children never wanted anything to do with him, as he was not only abusive to me but very verbally and physically abusive to them and the main reason for his abusiveness to me was because I always tried to protect them. He has been trying to get my oldest son to meet his new “friend” for a while. The latest manipulative tactic was to tell my son that he was very lonely. My son beig very soft hearted, went to his place on Christmas day and low and behold his “friend” has moved in with him. So much for his loneliness. He manipulated my son in order to show his lady that he is an OK person. She even commented to my son that his father “has a very bad temper but a wide heart”. Her English doesn’t sound all the best and I think that’s the kind of lady he wants. She herself was very abused physically by her ex husband and she thinks the sun shines out of my ex because he only verbally abuses her I suppose. He even commented to me once that I didn’t know what being married to a “bad” man really was and told me the story about how his “friend’s” husband used to bash her up and threw her out of a moving car!! I was so lucky!!
Well, good luck to her I say if she thinks that at least to be only verbablly abused is OK. I was married to him for 20 years and I really know what he is like.
It just now seems like a slap in the face when he has manipulated my oldest son to believe that he is OK now and wants to play happy family in front of his lady. He even tried to contact my other two children through me as he claims he lost their phone numbers (I know his way of thinking. When is gets angry, he tries to delete people from his life by destroying their contact details, etc). They didn’t want anything to do with him and as I promised my ex, I let them know he contacted them at least. If I was a real “b” like he used to call me, I would not have even told them.
Anyway Annie, all I wanted to say that I just think now its unfair for him to try to win over the kids after all the protecting I did for them and I got the verbal abuse from my ex for loving his kids. His jealousy was enormous. How do I stop feeling like he doesn’t deserve them now and trying to win his friend’s love by manipulating my oldest son. My ex also commented one day that women used to ask him “what on earth did you do so bad to your kids that they don’t want to contact you”. Well he sure got over that with my oldest son and this lady he has been with for the last 4 years. Yep, he didn’t waste any time with her. Might I also add that he tried to get back with me while he was still seeing her!!! If only she knew and boy how I wish I could let her now.
Thanks for listening!!!

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