The holidays seem to be a time for couples, according to most marketing campaigns. Several car, food, and jewelry commercials remind us multiple times a day about the significant other in your life or the lack of one. For most people, these commercials or marketing campaigns might just be annoying, but for someone who is breaking away from a violent relationship, these commercials can be harmful.
If you have just separated from your abusive partner, it can be hard not to let these marketing campaigns get to you. You see the couple kissing in the jewelry commercial after a beautiful piece of jewelry is purchased and it makes you realize how alone you are. You are tempted to call your abusive partner and work things out because maybe they will change. Do not fall for this. It is important to stay “no contact” as much as possible with your abusive ex for the sake of your own healing.
Yeah, you can call your abuser back and things might be great for a day maybe or even a week, but those type of people do not just change and the same old pattern of mistreatment will re-appear. Also, do not fall for your abuser’s apologies and heartstring-pulling gifts. They may try to show up at your door and give you a gorgeous necklace to tell you how sorry they are. Do not fall for it; they are trying to get you back under their control. It is not worth it, stay strong and mentally slam the door on them, do not let them in.
It hurts to be alone and especially during the holidays but there are plenty of other activities to occupy your time and keep you on the path to healing from that abusive relationship.
1. Pamper Yourself
Pampering yourself can be just what you need. This is the perfect time for self-love in your time of healing. Spend a day at the spa getting a massage or get your nails done. If the spa is not your thing, there are other ways to pamper yourself, like enjoying a day of window shopping or looking at holiday decorations. Just do what you love to do. Remember this is the perfect time to love yourself because you are important and you deserve to be spoiled. Plan it with a friend or spend some time alone if that’s your thing.
2. Call a Friend or Family Member
The holidays do not just have to be about a significant other, they are the perfect time to connect with your friends and family. Call that friend you have not seen in a while and plan an outing or a night in with them. Spending time with a friend can help ease the loneliness and help you reconnect if you have lost touch. If you do not want to call a friend, call a family member and talk to them or plan an outing with them, if possible. Spending time with those who love you can help the healing process as well.
It is easy to get so involved in our own lives and hurts that we forgot about those who are less fortunate. Several volunteer groups and organizations out there need help during the holidays. Google volunteer groups and organizations near you or use sites such as Volunteer Match to match you to an organization. This can be healing to you, as well, because not only are you helping others, but you are also building new connections and friends. Volunteering can also keep you busy and there is less time to be lonely when you are busy.
4. Do Not Follow Expectations
Just because the standard is to share the holidays with a significant other, friends, or family does not mean you have to. If you want to “Netflix and chill” all day, there is nothing wrong with that. If you want to travel and get away, that is fine too. You do not have to go to a family member’s house or go to a holiday party if you do not want to. Some families are toxic and it is best to stay away from them for your healing. If you want to spend the holidays with only your pet, there is nothing wrong with that. Just do what makes you happy and what will allow you to heal.
5. Just Make it Through the Day
It is okay to get through the day. If you do not have a family member’s or friend’s house to go to, that is fine. You can get caught up on sleep, a favorite television show, or your favorite book. You can use the day to meditate and release all the toxins you feel. A walk or a hike might be the perfect activity for you. Do something you love to pass the day or days. Remember tomorrow is coming and everything will be okay.
Whatever you do just make sure it is healing for you. Even if you get lonely, do not reach for your phone and call your abuser. This is your time to heal. Take it day by day and remember to breathe. It is okay to be single right now and it is the perfect time for you to get a new start on your life. If you feel tempted to text or call your abuser, write them a note instead and once you are done, destroy it. It will make you feel better. This is time for you to learn how to love yourself. Remember you are important and deserve to be treated with respect.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is help. You can visit the Break the Silence website at www.breakthesilencedv.org or chat with one of our helpline advocates at 855-287-1777.