An Introduction to “But What Did He Do?”
So… This blog post is going to be a little different than what is normally shared here. It’s not an article or an interview or a book review.. It’s more of an introduction to a creative writing piece. It’s too long to probably be a poem and reads more like a story or an essay, I would say.
I had started writing this piece because I wanted to talk about how victims of abuse often feel miserable during the holidays because it’s like, you want to reach out and tell people how things really are but also there are traps lying in wait for you if you do. Especially children in a household of abuse, it can be so easy for family members to assume that children are grumpy or even happy when in reality they are truly suffering and could never actually explain that suffering because of so many varying factors…**
I know this first hand. I have experienced years of holiday get together where I was threatened into “behaving” and keeping my mouth shut… Even if people were to ask me what was wrong, I would not speak up. These situations turn into trauma… These experiences create shame, guilt, depression, etc. Even into adult life for children or later in life for adults. So when around people who have difficult family relationships, please be gentle and understanding. I have experienced many people in my adult life who would carelessly ask me, “You don’t spend the holidays with your parents?” When I would say that I spend them with my mother and siblings… They would ask about my father and when I would try my best to leave it vague and comfortable, they would dig deeper… “Oh… But what did he do? Ya know… My father died last year and I’d give anything to spend time with him again.” The triggers being set off again and again because of a question that is not so simple but people find acceptable to ask. A lot of the time they don’t want to hear the real answer or are unsure how to hear these dark but real truths.
Even after getting out of these situations going home to family for the holidays can be hard. It can be stressful, it can be anxiety ridden, it can be almost unbearable and if you don’t go home, you can feel large amounts of grief and anger that are so heavy… It can be hard to breathe. Holiday seasons are not happy for everyone. In fact, they can be absolute hell. I hope that those people who are struggling have at least one person who understands. I hope that some victims are able to take this holiday season to reach out (if you can) and get out of their horrible situations but for those who can’t and won’t… I hold my hands out for you. Know that you’re not alone. Hang in there.
You can click here to read “But What Did He Do?”
**Also know that if you are a family member of an abuse victim, it is not your fault. Often times abusers hide their situations very well but if you have a family member that seems “off” please pay attention to red flags and warning signs and be very careful of how you approach a situation. Do not risk putting your family member’s life in danger by making a scene or creating a power struggle between yourself and the abuser. Often times, the abused will also try to hide the situation out of shame as well as fear of the consequences if things do not work in their favor. Some red flags or warning signs of an abuser include but are not limited to:
- Extreme jealousy
- A bad temper
- Cruelty to animals
- Verbal abuse
- Extremely controlling behavior
- Antiquated beliefs about roles of women and men in relationships
- Forced sex or disregard of their partner’s unwillingness to have sex
- Sabotage of birth control methods or refusal to honor agreed upon methods
- Blaming the victim for anything bad that happens
- Sabotage or obstruction of the victim’s ability to work or attend school
- Controls all the finances
- Abuse of other family members, children or pets
- Accusations of the victim flirting with others or having an affair
- Control of what the victim wears and how they act
- Demeaning the victim either privately or publicly
- Embarrassment or humiliation of the victim in front of others
- Harassment of the victim at work
For anonymous, confidential help available 24/7, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) now. Source.