The holiday season is often described positively and wonderfully. Abuse survivors often know the dark side of the holiday season. I know that I have often been on the dark side of the moon when it comes to associating with my family or origin relatives during this time of year. It’s a cold, oxygen-deprived, hostile environment incapable of sustaining life or joy.
My mother was heavily invested in me being the scapegoat, first hers and soon after everyone else’s in the family. Having a mother who sexually abuses you and feeds you makes food all enmeshed up in her parenting and abuse. Being served and fed by your mother when she is your sexual offender taints food. It taints everything.
As a child I liked the holidays in a large measure, because there were big meals where I could choose the food that I wanted to eat, because I was out of the watchful beady eye of my mother. I could eat what I wanted. I didn’t have to eat what I didn’t want to. And I could eat as much as I wanted to until I was full. Full what a wonderful word. What a wonderful feeling.
There is too much shouting and loudness at family gatherings. Too much derision and nastiness. Too many insults, screams, hatred, and free-floating anxiety and rage. It’s good that there was food. Because there was nothing else good there.
Over the years there has been a kind of attrition going on with my relatives. I would stop seeing certain relatives who were still emotionally and verbally abusive to me. After years of trying to change the way that I was treated, I would stop seeing one and then another.
Eventually I stopped seeing my sister. All the family holiday gatherings centered around her and her home. No one else made efforts to see me privately. I would try, but found that others were not interested in extending themselves enough to do a holiday activity with me around the holidays. I used to be so sad over that. Now I am mostly okay. I don’t feel sad about it when I think of it anymore. Mostly I feel okay and happy that I am finding my own way in the world away from their abuse.
Holidays have always meant so much to me and our system. We love holidays. They are one of the things that we are truly connected to, that bring a lot of love and meaning into our life.
I tried to go it alone and see how that went for several years. I felt alone, but I also knew that I was better off without family that were not loving, good, or kind to me. I believed that those were minimum expectations. I think that was a healing choice.
We can change ourselves, we can heal, but we can’t change or heal others. We can’t make others treat us respectfully, functionally and appropriately, but we can learn to treat ourselves that way. Walking away from others isn’t easy. It’s one of the hardest things in the world, but it was necessary.
Learning that I had value, increasing my self-esteem, establishing boundaries, and trying for years to encourage non-abuse in my family of origin had it’s value. Just not any value in changing others. It had value in changing me.
Last year and this year I am spending the holidays with a friend and some of their family. There is one person that I don’t like or trust involved. I wish that this person was not involved at all in my life. Associating with a pathological liar, user and abuser who is derisive to me is not what I want to do any day of the year. I don’t want to have anything to do with him, ever again.
This person was very nasty and abusive to me after I moved home. This person manages to keep his behaviors tamped down for the most part now, mostly because I have only allowed this person to be peripherally involved in my life at a few gatherings in the last year, but still gives me looks and snorts about things I say. No one could act like this and think someone is going to like or trust them.
I’m asking you, what kind of person snorts after someone says something? An ass. That is the kind of person who does that. I keep asking myself; what, are they everywhere? Yes they are. They are everywhere.
I didn’t want to do Easter with them because of this, so spent the day alone. If the problems persist I will have to decide again what to do. Most likely next year I will be spending the holiday dates alone again. It could be good for me. It could be a healing thing. Choice is good.