When People Choose To Spend Holidays With Your Abuser Instead Of You

Probably no one wants to create the appearance of a big happy family more than the most dysfunctional families.  Holidays give them the opportunity to pretend that is what they have by inviting everyone to some big hoopla & pretending everyone gets along.  These families ignore the fact that someone in this family has abused someone else, & they invite both people to their get together.

This big happy family charade forces many people to make an awful choice – be face to face with their abuser or spend holidays alone.  Neither is a good solution for the victim.  I know, because this was my life for many years.

My in-laws always had huge get togethers on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mother’s day, Father’s day… you name it.  I ideally wanted to spend holidays with my husband rather than his family who clearly hated me, maybe at best spending some time with them on another day near the holiday.  This wasn’t acceptable, however.  Holidays were to be celebrated on the exact day, no exceptions & no excuses for not being there.  Until my husband’s parents died, you probably could count on one hand how many holidays we spent together because I quit going.  Sadly, spending holidays alone was a better option to me than spending it with the people who treated me like dirt, even though it ultimately resulted in me detesting holidays.

I believe many other people are in this same boat or at least a similar one.  You want to spend the holidays with someone but they want invite your abuser to the same gathering, or they refuse to stop attending the gathering that your abuser attends.

You need to know today that your feelings are valid.  In essence, this person is choosing your abuser over you, & you have every right to be angry & hurt about that.  Accept that your anger & hurt are valid emotions!  Cope with them however works for you.

Maybe this person feels it’d be rude not to invite the abusive person or for them not to attend the same gathering.  In dysfunctional families, in particular narcissistic ones, it’s all about appearances.  No one wants to shun someone even if they are abusive.

Most people also don’t want to face the fact that someone they care about is an abusive monster.  For them, it’s easier not to acknowledge your claims of abuse.  Out of sight, out of mind, basically.

There also is the possibility that you’re the safe one to make angry & the other person isn’t.  Abusive people often get their way because others know that making them angry means they are going to suffer badly.  Some people don’t have the inner strength to stand up to people like this.  It’s easier for them to give the abuser their way.  Sure, you’ll be angry, but your anger isn’t as painful for them as the abuser’s anger.  Your anger may be unpleasant but at least it’s not the sheer torture of the abuser’s anger.

By saying these things, I’m not making excuses for those who choose abusers over victims in this manner.  I’m just offering some explanations as to why people behave this way.  Maybe it will help you not to be as hurt & angry when you see that it’s nothing to do with you.  A person who does this is the one with some issues!

As for you, if you opt to avoid these gatherings, try to enjoy your day somehow.  Take it as a day off for doing whatever you like.  Indulge in a favorite hobby, watch movies, or even clean out the closet.  Or, spend it with close friends.  Do whatever will help you to enjoy your day in a healthy way, & leave the dysfunction to those who are comfortable with it.  xoxo

 

6 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

6 responses to “When People Choose To Spend Holidays With Your Abuser Instead Of You

  1. martijwis

    Very good article, Cynthia. I especially liked that you pointed out that some people choose to make the nice victim angry and hurt rather than the abuser because of the cowardice of these people. This is SO true. Sad, but true.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ibikenyc

    “There also is the possibility that you’re the safe one to make angry & the other person isn’t.”

    This realization makes me IRRATIONAL. MAN!

    For some reason, I’ve got Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry” running through my head now; in part:

    “Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em when they’re down
    Kick ’em when they’re up
    Kick ’em all around. . . ”

    Screwed if ya do; screwed if ya don’t: If you’re “the nice one,” you get spit on. If you display your perfectly-reasonable displeasure, you’re “crazy.”

    GRRRR!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I know!!! When I first realized this was years ago & with my husband. The thought went something like, “Wow.. so he feels safe with me. That’s great! But but but!!! It’s not right that makes it ok to make me angry instead of his mother or sisters when they’re the ones in the wrong!!” My head almost exploded that day… lol

      Liked by 2 people

  3. ibikenyc

    PS: A variation on this happens in dysfunctional workplaces. There is usually one person who redefines the concept of “Walking On Eggshells” and whose doing so is excused by / laughed off with, “Oh; that’s just how s/he IS!”

    Liked by 1 person

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