Reprinted by permission from BellaOnline
By Jeanette Stingley
BellaOnline’s Domestic Violence Editor
During November and December, stress runs high in most families. Finances are stretched to buy gifts or to travel to see family members. Seeing those family members we don’t quite get along with or not being able to see relatives and friends can add even more stress to a relationship. Excessive alcohol consumption is usually an added factor at this time of year. Sometimes our expectations of what should happen compared to what actually happens can give us the holiday blues. Many of us try to out do ourselves during the holidays and arguments happen. But what about abuse during the season? How can it be prevented?
Thanksgiving and Christmas are prime times for abusers who use control over their victims. The abuser knows the victim wants to be with family and friends but many abusers use this to get a tighter grip on their victims causing even more stress. One lady I spoke to about this said, “The look of satisfaction on his face as I cried on Christmas Day because he took the car keys from me so I couldn’t go to my parents house made me sick to my stomach.”
Communication has to be on the top of everyone’s list. Talking your feelings out in a calm manner is the most important thing to remember. If you feel a situation is going to get out of hand, try to excuse yourself from the other person to have a cool down session then agree to come back together when things are calm. Planning ahead can also help tremendously. Set a budget and stick to it. If you have kids, money is always tight.
If you do find yourself in an abusive situation, it is critical that you stand up and get help. Go to a relative or friends house. Using the seasonal stress as an excuse to have to withstand a beating or verbal assault is not right. Abuse is abuse no matter what time of year it happens. So many women will defend their abusers because “the holidays just get to him” as one of my friend’s told me.
There are many resources out there to help especially during the holidays. Churches, shelters, and even you local police department are there to help.