I have huge blocks of missing time from my childhood. I just don’t remember, but partly I think I don’t want to remember. I do, however, remember spending the holidays (and most Saturday mornings) at my grandparents with my aunts and uncles and cousins. Adults that treated me decently, imagine that! Little, shy, quiet me relished under their attention. It was a great time. I’m so thankful to have those memories! And I wished to make the holidays fun and special for my kids too.
Before I went no contact with my father I tried to do my family and my husband’s family Christmases. That meant going to six Christmases. Three of which were on Christmas Eve.
When you have little kids that just doesn’t work. So I requested that we switch Christmas with my parents to Christmas Day. This, unsurprisingly, didn’t go well. My dad went on and on about how I was breaking tradition. And how what he wanted was always pushed to the wayside. That it didn’t matter to me how he felt. Laying the guilt on thick. Nevermind that I had young kids and staying up late and having a chaotic Christmas Eve just didn’t jive well with their needs. It was about him and what he wanted. He couldn’t see past his own nose to see how it affected his grandchildren. They’re just kids, their needs do not matter to a narcissist. Finally, I had to tell my parents to go ahead and have our family Christmas on Christmas Eve but we wouldn’t be there. We will come over Christmas Day to see them.
As an interesting side note, my brother didn’t care when we had Christmas and my mother understood why I wanted to move it to Christmas day but neither stood up for me. They were both too scared to go against my father.
Making it my fault, saying that I was ruining Christmas, they gave in to my ludicrous, tradition-breaking request and we started having our family celebration on Christmas Day. It worked out better! We had more time. We could have a meal together. Everyone enjoyed it more on Christmas Day. Though he continued to go on and on about how I ruined Christmas.
To a ‘normal’ person with a ‘normal’ family (by normal I mean not abusive and controlling) this might seem like just an older man not wanting to let go of tradition.
To a ‘controlled by a narcissistic patriarch family’, it’s another way he tried to control those he considered to be beneath him. I’m just a daughter, I’m just a woman. How dare I speak up? How dare I do what suits my children. How dare I put their (and my and my husband) needs over his?
I mean, gasp! Just who do I think I am?! Having needs of my own and voicing those needs.
Sorry, I’m diving a bit too deep into the sarcasm pool. But this is just one little snippet of what eventually led me to go no contact.
If you find yourself in a no-win situation this Christmas I hope you are able to speak up and be heard. I hope you can do what’s best for you and your own little family. It’s okay to take breaks (volunteer to get ice from the store and take the long way back!). Set boundaries, (Okay, I can only stay for two hours – or however long). You can do this in a calm, respectful way. And if the other person starts to become irate or mistreats you, it’s okay to leave the situation completely. Just because it’s the holidays it does not give anyone the right to be abusive to you.
It’s okay to protect yourself.
It took me a long time to realize this. It took me looking through the eyes of my children to see it clearly.
A little about the spread…
I saw this technique (burning a hole and stitching a word in the center) from Gailia Alena’s video, Stealth Denial. Something seemed so fitting about the burnt-out hole being stitched back together. Not to be a perfect copy of what it had been but to be mended.
Mended back together to create something new.
Also, I just can not seem to keep anything as it is. I always have to dye/wrinkle/ink it up.
Yep, that’s me with the Steven Tyler mouth and chopped bangs.
Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays! Remember to take care of you.