Christmas and Domestic Abuse.
Christmas is often a time for the family to get together, a time of cheer and joy. What happens though if the family is an abusive one? One where domestic abuse occurs. Often such a season is one where there are high levels of stress. Buying a gift in such families is one where there is a lot of resentment. If the gift is not liked and the person is abusive, sarcastic comments may ensue. The sit down dinner can be one of intense stress. A meal that is not ‘perfectly’ done can find itself thrown against the wall. Plates shattered and on the floor. Meal times can be one of pure home and domestic terrorism. In the UK a new domestic abuse law has been announced – that of ‘coercive and controlling behaviour’. You don’t have to suffer physical pain to experience domestic abuse, it can also be psychological.
Christmas dinner can be the worse of all meals. Then there is the added financial stress that adds even more to the domestic terrorism that can go on within a household. People needing to walk around on eggshells for fear of ‘provoking’ an outburst by even the most mildest of comments or ‘looks’. Often those who grow up in domestic abuse also continue to marry and partner with future domestic abusers. The lessons start now. Look at where you are. Who you are with? Where do you want to go? Do you have an escape plan? How is money? Is there someone you can discuss this with? Therapy to stop this constant re-enactment? How do we break free of such abuse?
One myth is that you need your family. But what if that family is not good for you? Most times they are good but for some they are unfortunately very harmful. Not everyone grew up in a family where there was love, understanding and growth. Some grew up in places where there was and still is, abuse and contraction. When I first started training as a therapist many years ago – I never understood that concept but after a few years of working as a therapist I discovered otherwise. I grew up in Malaysia and there they often talk about ‘Family Values’. I hear it here in the UK too. But what if your family was one where abuse often did and still does occur? I have heard of people being a target, of exclusion, of systematic beatings, berating, shouting and even rapes. What do you do? Often it is hard to extricate yourself, but to stop abuse, you must leave. Growth will not occur as long as you are within the control and influence of such an environment. As long as you see the family members involved you will revert back to that 4 year old or that 9 year old. As long as you see the other family members who say, what is happening, isn’t happening – then you will also shut your ears, eyes and mouth to what is going on.
There is something attractive and very alluring in the familiar. Even patterns that are abusive can still pull us back. What is the answer? Therapy, going to groups that help you. Moving your energy out to friends and others who will be more helpful to you. What a thought, others outside your family unit might actually be kinder and nicer people. Were you not told for years and years that the ones you had to be afraid of are outside the family unit? Ironic isn’t it?
I advise codependents anonymous and other groups run by the AA. Remember, if you stay and keep staying there, the patterns of abuse will go on repeating like a broken record in you. Many who have been abused find it difficult to maintain relationships and to also earn a living. This all keeps you from being able to leave the place of abuse. Long-term studies of abuse have shown that those who have been abused have poorer mental and physical health in the long-term. Abuse does not stop suddenly because you say it does. It has to be constantly worked at until a new pattern forms. 60 to 70% of those who have been abused in childhood often find themselves also facing domestic abuse with their new formed families. The old patterns if not worked on will be maintained and carried to the children of the abuser and their children’s children too.
George The Royal Baby
So we now have a new Royal baby. This usually is a situation which brings up such happy feelings for many people. Many wish the best for this baby and their family. For some though this is not a happy event. It is a reminder of feelings of abuse and neglect. It is a trigger. It can bring on depression and anxiety. How does a seemingly innocent little baby bring up those feelings?
Firstly let me go into what abuse is? Something like 1 out of 4 people have been abused. If you are in a room full of people, the statistics are 1 out of 4 have been abused. If you are in a family where there is abuse generally then – many of them have been abused. They will certainly be 2 out of 4 or 4 out of 4. Abuse is not just sexual, it is physical, mental and emotional. Many who are in abusive families and relationships do not recognise the signs and patterns of abuse. To them it is normal, and if normal, it cannot be anything but a normal family relationship. – ergo it is not abusive – but reality is that it is. Those who have not been abused can seem to those who have been abused; like aliens from another planet. Many who have been abused learn to walk and navigate in the world of the 3 out of the 4 unabused people. It is just navigating and is not really living a full and complete life…..
Signs of possibly being abused – are avoidance and not getting on in the world. Not being able to maintain long-term healthy relationships, note I write ‘healthy’. Long-term ill health. Addictions – drink, drugs, co-dependency. Repeating patterns of abuse onto future generations.
This is where the Royal baby trigger is about. It is here when such abuse festers and stays on. Without training an abused mother often repeats the patterns. The mother marries an abusive husband, is possibly directly abusive themselves or is avoidant and neglectful. Some children who have grown up in such households have told me – they never wanted to repeat the pattern only to find themselves having repeat it. It is very hard – not to repeat a pattern. it is inbuilt for us to do so.
I have lived near abusive families. They shout and scream at each other, some hit, some shout words which are emotionally set up to bring about maximum pain. Then when these families go out into the street, they are the height of decorum and good behaviour. I remember when I was growing up, I lived near someone whose father often beat up his wife. You would hear the screams for miles around. (Decades ago it was not illegal to hit your wife -or husband. Now it is so, not that that makes much difference. So many still do not report it). Then his son who I knew and played Cowboys and Indians, Astronauts, climbing tree houses with; grew up and then also hit women too. The pattern thus repeats itself. I have met many women who say they will never have children because they never want to repeat their childhood. Not having a child does not stop the abuse from repeating. Not having a child may be the best thing. What many do not realise is that it is possible to change such behavior but it does take hard work to break a pattern. It starts with awareness. It starts with therapy. It requires more then just crossing your fingers to stop many lifetimes of abuse……..
I thought the badminton teams being disqualified for intentionally losing their matches was interesting. The players involved were China’s world champions Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang, Indonesia’s Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari and two South Korean pairs – Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na, and Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung.
If you watch the matches on video you will see it is as though they have never played badminton before. They keep serving into the net and their rallies (if any) are short.
The crowd are booing and telling them to go off. Anyone who has gone to the Olympics in London knows tickets are expensive, it takes a lot of effort to obtain a ticket, then to travel and make your way there. I know I would have been very irritated and upset to watch a match I could have myself played far better at.
But why lose a match on purpose? Here there was a benefit in losing to the other team. All had qualified but the winner would then play China which was the stronger team. This was part of a strategy in the round-robins which had been newly set up and the teams were trying not to play China and were working to be relegated to a match with a less superior opponent in the semi-final. Continue reading
I was so sad to hear of Whitney Houston’s demise. I would love to see people who are talented but are also addicted to drugs, living a long and productive life, but that rarely is the case. It would be nice to beat the odds. What was noticeable was Whitney having said that she is “the biggest devil is me, I am either my best friend or my own worst enemy”. There are rumours that her former marriage had rumblings of domestic abuse. Her past seems to suggest the pain she was trying to run away from. If you have pain, it is so important to try and face your own pain. Many people who take drugs and/or who are involving their time in unhealthy behaviours are doing just that, masking their pain, allaying their ‘enemy’. Continue reading
I read the sad news about Amy Winehouse’s death this week. I have felt the pain of working with people who live as addicts and those who love them too.
It is so unfortunate and in the life of someone with an addiction there is always the positive going on. The belief that things will be allright. Often permission giving messages are going on. Thoughts such as “I will be OK”, “Just this one time”, “I’ll stop tomorrow”, “I am in control of it and not it in control of me”, “It helps me create”. These messages and more keep going on. Then there are those who are around them who also unwittingly enable the addiction to continue. Addicts are like children who really want to have their next fix. The brain has surrendered to the substance. Continue reading
Addictions are pernicious and do take over the lives of addicts. If someone you know or love is an addict. Beware. Tread carefully. It is easy to forget in the laughter. The sweet nature of who they really are is down there somewhere but the addiction hangs around like an overstaying guest. If the addict is you, really do see to it. The first step is always to become aware of it and and how it is affecting yours and others lives; then taking the steps to make it more and more conscious. If it is someone you love, a friend, relative, your partner, your child. It takes a lot out of you. From all the many people I have met, that tends to be harder then if the addict is yourself. We can sometimes get used and addicted to the addict remaining an addict. An addict is always dependent. Never free. The addiction takes a lot of time out of their lives, finding the cash, the search for the object, the secrecy and hiding, the relationship with others who maintain it; all adds to a way of behaviour which keeps it oscillating. Continue reading