It’s hard to believe we need a place called Hell when we live in it here on Earth. The holidays are over. Gregorian chants resound heavy in my heart for family dear gone by.
As that day of Russian Christmas memories flooded by and washed over me with a sense of urgency I could not stop them. Like the legend of Hans Brinker with his finger in the dike, I tried to stop the thoughts of my heritage during this holiday. I no longer have family to celebrate a holiday memory with and smile happily. Does this make me a miserable person? No. But it makes the holidays a miserable time for me.
My father died in my arms on December 24th several years ago. Christmas has never been the same since that occurred. I don’t blame him. I’ve just never been able to resolve his death. That’s on me. He was the last of the elders to pass, leaving me the Matriarch of my family. That’s why resolution has been so difficult. Facing mortality in the eye.
Then I think of relentless spending on ridiculous gifts that no one really wants. Over the top decorating your house with ridiculously cheap decorations for a short time for a holiday that has lost its true meaning for so many people. Good money spent for too many frivolous items that could be given to charities, the homeless, abused women, abused children, homeless animals, the list is endless. My first year alone I brought gifts to a children’s shelter party and spent my time there. I won’t say it was fun, it was heart-breaking fun if that is understandable, but I will say it was more fulfilling.
During the years of my marriage, my ex-husband (not Daniel) never thought January 7 was a “real” holiday so he would put everything into the 25th and say “do whatever you want” on the 7th. Thus, the 7th became inconsequential in his eyes, and to the children, also, through their father’s eyes. When the 7th rolled around, he would claim there wasn’t enough money for gifts again. One of his abusive traits was through financial control when he could manage it early in the marriage when I wasn’t working and staying home taking care of the children. I’ve since learned abusiveness rears its ugly head in many forms and they aren’t always apparent in traditional forms. I’ve learned to spot controllers and their traits.
When the holidays are supposed to interpret good will and peace towards others, I often think of the internal cacophony that occurs within households because of varied backgrounds. But it’s always hidden, isn’t it? And this is where the psychopath twists and turns his funnel of destruction into a wicked path that leaves you empty and desolate.
Hidden behind those pretty christmas lights, those blown-up santas and snowmen on the lawns, hidden behind the christmas tree sparkling with tinsel and lights in the picture window. Hidden behind the credit cards and the ladders that we climb to string those lights to make our homes the best on the block.
And then comes the let-down. After the packages are opened. Perhaps the children didn’t get what they thought Santa would bring them. And there just wasn’t enough money to go around to buy the fanciest diamond jewelry for her. And it starts. That feeling of emptiness. The hole inside that wasn’t filled that was supposed to be because after all, this is Christmas, and you’re supposed to be happy and joyous. But you’re not. And maybe he’s not. Who is to blame? Does he blame you? Does the aftermath of Christmas morning become a showdown? Does he shut you out? Do you feel alone? How did he make you feel?
The big, black hole. Inside of you. It’s an empty feeling that you cannot fill. No matter how hard you try. It won’t fill. It stays empty. Because something is wrong. Something emotional is wrong. Something that you can’t quite put your finger on but you can feel it. It’s an empty feeling. An empty feeling that grabs hold of you and seems to wrap its black arms around you squeezing you so tightly it seems to extinguish the life out of you at times. You wish you had something to take it away. Perhaps if you tried something that made you happier, such as shopping, gambling, or drinking, or sex, or drugs, or any of the addictive personality traits they would fill that hole. And miraculously, they do. But only for a short time. Because the hole always comes back.
Now here’s the kicker. That hole that you are feeling because you aren’t being fulfilled? So is the mate you are with. The person that is abusing you, whether physically, mentally, emotionally, financially or however they are perceived to abuse you. They need something to fill their own black hole to fill. Just as you are trying desperately to fill your needs and desires with something good to please yourself in a good way so is your psychopathic mate in a pathological way. They are using you in ways that are not pleasing to you, that are not feeling right to you, that in your gut you know aren’t right. They are being abusive, controlling and demeaning to you. That’s how they fill their own void and try to close their version of their huge black hole.
This person that you built a life around, that you believed you loved, has created a situation where you feel less joy than before in events you used to be happy about. That’s what they do. They take your life, build it up and tumble it down to pieces. And those pieces? They’re scattered in the wind, blowing around, sometimes touching each other remembering what it used to feel like before the abuser came in and tore your life to pieces.
Sometimes two people are in a relationship that isn’t helping itself to grow in a positive way. One person may not see the how the other is using them, or controlling them because they have been controlled or submissive for most of their life and this is a place that feels very comfortable for them. When the controlling becomes abusive, when the abuse becomes overbearing and dangerous, when the abuse is simply there, it is time for the relationship to be overhauled. It is time for the abuser to stop.
But how? How do we name these emotions, these feelings? How do we identify ourselves?
We work on finding ourselves. We work on finding the person in the mirror. And when we find that person, we tell them we love them. Why? Because that person in the mirror is a good person, a loving person, a genuine person. That person in the mirror wants to survive. Survive with integrity intact and good will, knowing they did the right thing. That’s what a Survivor is. Someone who can look in the mirror. A person who can lay their head down on their pillow each night with a smile knowing they did not hurt anyone intentionally and did something good for this world and themselves. They’ve survived and will continue to do so.
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