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    • #94294

      Hi everyone,

      I hope your Christmas has been ok. It is a really difficult time for a lot of people especially people living with abusers or in the aftermath.

      It was another Christmas alone for me, mostly out of choice. It was better than last year, which was better than the year before, but still yesterday was quite hard. I’d felt ok in the run up to Christmas which really surprised me as I’d expected to feel sad, but yesterday it hit me again that I’m pretty much estranged from my family. Despite how they have treated me over the years and how many confusing and painful Christmasses I had with them it still feels really sad because there were a lot of things about Christmasses with them that I liked too such as living in a nice warm clean well furnished house, nice food in the fridge, good tv on etc. That feeling of being part of a family. Being invited to the big extended family meal which I used to enjoy before the dynamic became kind of toxic and I felt cast aside. It also occurred to me that the dynamic in the family, where my brother was the golden child who always mocked and mimicked me and I was bottom of the pecking order, actually felt comfortable to me so I even miss the dynamic if that makes sense. Not that I liked the dynamic, I hated it, but it’s familiar. I think KIP mentioned this a while ago. I guess it’s Stockholm syndrome. I only realised that my family dynamic was dysfunctional/abusive a few years ago and it still confuses me a lot because it was my normal and actually felt comfortable a lot of the time.

      It was mostly emotional abuse but I do remember my brother squaring up to me one time and saying ‘if you EVER say that again’ when I’d called him a rude name because he’d done something horrible. Another time I remember my father chasing me up the stairs in a rage and having to lock myself in the bathroom. I basically learnt to watch what I said and did to not make them angry and the worst part was that when my mother was around, she always sided with my brother and condoned his behaviour.

      Every Christmas the dynamic was always nice-nice-nice-cruel in a sort of Russian roulette, ‘not sure when they are going to drop the bombshell or ruin things’ kind of way. I’ve thought about this a lot and my theory is that they don’t seem to like me being happy, or happy for too long. They always seem to somehow want to ruin that, but they do it with plausible deniability. Sometimes it would be just a narrowed eye glare, or mocking me, or mimicking me, or telling me the film I was watching was ‘rubbish’ with a look of utter contempt. Other times it was them all choosing a film to watch and saying I could join them if I wanted but my film choices were never honoured or respected. One Christmas my brother suddenly shouted at me when I suggested we watch a film together and they all disappeared and went to sleep for the afternoon, leaving me staring at the Christmas tree wishing I had my own family to spend the day with. Then they all came back downstairs and watched a film together acting like nothing had happened, with no apology.

      Another time I offered to cook a meal over the holidays, a big dinner that took a lot of effort and time. They said that sounded great and we agreed on a time it to eat. Just before the time came my brother suddenly disappeared. My mum said she’d go to find him. They returned a few hours later gushing about how my brother had gone to do some good deed in the community, with no acknowledgement about how cruel and strange it was to go just before he knew I was serving dinner. Never in a million years would any of us do that if one of them was cooking dinner. It seemed such a deliberate act of cruelty. I took my dinner upstairs and ate it alone in my room, crying. Incidents like that have happened repeatedly. It’s usually some kind of cruelty towards me, which they then turn around to look like I’m some difficult daughter and they are guilt free. It’s a cruel act + blame deflection + no apology + acting like they have no idea what I’d be upset.

      Yesterday was hard, I went for a walk but felt angry thinking about all the things they’ve done and all of the lying and gaslighting. I made a dinner but had a few disasters because I was upset.

      Today has been better, and I decided to make it like a second Christmas Day. I heated up the dinner I made which meant I didn’t have to spend hours cooking, watched a film, listened to the radio and did some of my hobby. I also booked onto a short course in the sale about time management and organisation to help me reach my goals this year.

      Every now and again I have these glimmers of hope. I don’t remember having them last Christmas, so that’s an improvement. I feel like it’s the universe or my soul or spirit whispering to me that things can get better, in fact my life can be a lot better without my family. I just got so used to the dynamic, so comfortable within it, so convinced of my inefficacy and place at the bottom of the pecking order that it feels strange and scary the thought of being alone and independent.

      Thanks for listening and let me know if you can relate.

    • #94304

      Hi SRF, smiling thinking of you reclaiming the day, heating your dinner and booking your courses – this is the good stuff hey. We cant help but reflect this time of year, but with this also comes the affirmations that what we are doing is best. Keep going, get the life you want, create a new family, there are folk out there who will love and accept you just for being you – your people – just need to find them and where you belong. It will come.

      I’m another year or two down the line from you and this year can honestly say I felt peace and content in my choices when spending time alone this Christmas – was bliss. Yes there are things I have missed over the years for sure, not having these people in my life – but this no longer effects me at all because I am happy with my choices, can see that making the best of it is sometimes as good as it can be – I know that with these people also comes toxicity – not just for me – for the whole family as everyone gets involved or is effected in some way – I’m thinking of those in the family who do really care. I have removed myself, like you, and so I have put an end to the next drama, new problems, more trauma that involves pain and difficulties for me and others when I am around and used as part of the apparent problem – used as the its her – used in the manipulation of others – if that makes sense to you – I’m thinking of my bro particularly as we have a good relationship – so putting a stop to this feels pretty good – no more drama hey. It’s not me is it, because I am gone, yet pretty sure they still have the same fights and ongoing problems with the others hey because that is what these people do – more of the same wherever they are and whoever they are with – only it does not effect me now.

      Keep building support and your new life – wishing you peace and contentment x

    • #94328

      Hi SRF, your background and family sound very similar to mine. I am also estranged and miss them sometimes then I remember the sickening gut twisting tension as they turned negative towards me and blamed me for ludicrous ridiculous things. It was a training ground for being a victim of abuse. You give a good analysis. The behaviours tend to be cyclical, which I experienced and you have described. When I miss them I realise I only miss the idea of a happy family Christmas as we never had one but I always longed for it. Well I can still dream! The difficulty now is allowing myself to be at peace and not constantly alert to tension and abuse, and constantly having to placate and please others. My journal is the most important thing to me. I write down what is really happening and what I really feel, not someone else’s idea of it.
      Your Christmas Day has inspired me to try and be more constructive with my time. X👍

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