Here we go again *insert eye roll* All those who have come from dysfunctional families, narcissistic parents and/or abusive childhoods will relate on some level to my take on Christmas. Going Home doesn’t always make for a fabulous Christmas. As adults, although we have done the work, are still doing the work, know there is work but are trying to avoid the work; the same old questions from others always pop up. ‘Are you going home for Christmas?’ UGH!
I have used a number of techniques over the years when faced with this question. For the first decade I said NO! in such a fierce tone that the conversation came to a screaming halt. Then I thought, why am I embarrassed and ashamed? I was the kid, not the abusive adult. For the next few years I decided to try a different way of answering the same questions. I tried No, I don’t go home, I came from an abusive family and I stopped contact with them 2 decades ago. I thought if I gave the person questioning enough information maybe they would stop prying. Nope, my honesty met with responses such as you only get one parent/you’ll be sorry once they are gone and any combination of ill-informed response you can think of. So I would try to explain further and here’s what I learned, it’s really hard for some people to wrap their heads around you not wanting to be within a cooee of your abusers.
These days I use the standard, No, they are both dead. Most people go quiet and opt out of the Spanish inquisition; others say “I’m sorry to hear that”. For the sorry to hear that situations, I say quietly in my mind, “don’t be, I’m not”. Although not entirely true, they are dead to me. And this response has always ensured my privacy is maintained. Not all of us want or have any desire to drag up those years we endured abuse, especially with colleagues or acquaintances.
Christmas with my husband is quiet, peaceful, happy, loving and scream-free. I do go home for Christmas, but the home I have now is my home; the Monster house was never my home, it was merely where I lived for 16 years.
The work I have done over the years has been phenomenal; there is no anger, there is no emotion attached to the abuse or the abusers at all. There are, however, very clear and non-negotiable boundaries in place. Most of us that came from childhood trauma have no contact for a myriad of reasons and most of us are truly very happy with that arrangement. To those Children who are now Adults, I wish you peace in every area of your life. I am proud of you for getting to this day, to this moment. I am in love with who you are and how hard you have had to work at learning to love and nurture yourself as an adult. Remember, they did not break you, they do not own that kind of power.
And to those who keep rapid firing questions; please pay attention to people’s body language. Home is where the heart is, home is where you feel safe, secure and loved and sometimes that is nowhere near the house you were dragged up in.
With love, hugs and a giant high five
Johnita Francis xx