Surviving the Holidays after Domestic Violence

What is holiday music? Famous holiday songs no longer have a decade attached to them. That’s why they’re universally nostalgic. The mixture of instruments and vocals causes listeners to think, “I remember…”

Hearing holiday music causes joy in most; however, when you you come from an abusive environment and hear the music as a survivor the experience somehow differs.

Abusers force their own false personality onto you. They want to appear like the perfect family member, friend, or boss. Only you know what they’re like behind closed doors. Goddess forbid the rest of the world know it, too.

An outsider may imagine that this means a break from the abuse, if the abuser is so focused on appearing healthy…

They’ve guessed wrong.

It’s worse.

The abuser fights their hardest against being revealed to the world as they actually are. The abuser fights harder to keep that real identity a secret.

If their victims could manage to show everyone who and what their abuser really is, that would be death for the abuser.

How is this accomplished?

Any sign of the victim’s knowledge of what’s going on is hushed and/or twisted into confusion. Kill the victim and get rid of the body. If you cannot physically kill them, at least make the victim disappear in time for the show to begin.

Start yet another fight out of thin air and use it as an excuse to tell the victim not to be present. Make up a story to tell everyone else that appears like they themselves are the victim and the target is the one who crossed the line.

With their target gone, the abuser is free to live in their own fantasy world, away from the reality of who and what they are.

Everyone will tell them, “It’s okay. We love you. It’s a shame that you were treated in this way. Tonight is about you.”

After all is said and done, when everyone has left and you’re alone with your abuser once again, they may apologize without an actual apology: “I don’t want things to be like this. Next year, I want you around.”

Then, comes the abundant presents. This is when you are expected to kiss the abuser’s ass, validating their false identity: “Yes, these purchases make me forget that I was left outside because of your mental illness. All is forgiven because you have supplied material things.”

A simple half-assed “Thank you,” while you comprehend your reality, will not do. Make a spectacle out of it: “I love it. You are the best (boss, parent, friend..) because you bought this for me.”

Swallow your pride. Save your own ass.

As soon as you can, run!

Holiday music plays.

You’re safe, now. You’re away from it all; and yet, memories still flood your mind and your body. Yes, your body still remembers the trembling fear for your own life, while the abuser and everyone else blamed you for all of it. Everyone still asks: “Why are you so angry all the time? Why aren’t you more social and full of energy?”

Are you supposed to act normal? How can you? Who could go from feeling like a hostage to feeling normal and free?

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