Christmas is here, and I am now one of the lucky ones; for whom Christmas brings love, laughter and good times. I am extremely grateful for this.

Here is the top five things I am grateful for this Christmas:

  1. A safe place to call home.
  2. The financial freedom to feed my children and buy gifts without needing Charity support.
  3. Not have to walk on eggshells and be scared of saying or doing the wrong thing.
  4. For people who care about me, who actually have my best interests at heart.
  5. Freedom of autonomy

I am aware as I write this list; many people these things for granted. It is not unless they have been missing in your life you truly realise their value.

They have been missing for most of my life. In fact, for much of my life Christmas brought on a feeling of dread and fear. Because when you live in an abusive family you know however bad things have been all year; with Christmas time here they are sure to escalate.

I remember as a child starting every Christmas full of hope only to have it dashed before we had even started opening presents. Silently hoping for things to be jolly, like the movies I saw on TV.

The pressure of Christmas was palpable you could feel it in the air. When as a grown up I was in my own abusive relationship I was so used to it, and I accepted it as normal. A Happy Christmas was only a myth.

After escaping decades of abuse; it took me a long time to embrace the festivities because of the trauma which had been a reality for so many years. But, now I do, I will never take having a happy and relaxed Christmas for granted.

However, I cannot help but spend time in quiet reflection for those still living in the dark shadow of abuse and poverty. I hope they don’t like I used to, feel shame over their circumstance, because the shame is not theirs to feel. Staying safe and protecting yourself and your children is tough work. Add to that the pressure of creating happy memories and it is an unachievable task.

Christmas is going to be far from happy and safe for many, and that is a sad reality.

It is hard to know what to do or say when you suspect somebody you know is living in an abusive relationship. A start is to know where they can go for help: Here is the link to the Resources page of my website where you will find some helplines:

My wish is for everyone has a safe Christmas. But, sadly I know this wish will not come true for too many this year.