We are fast approaching Christmas and it seems that everyone is out there preparing for its arrival; there is a hint of excitement in the air and an infectious jolt of it coming ever closer. It’s a time that everyone seems to be looking forward to whilst imaging their own little piece of caring sharing and happiness within the company of family and friends. It’s a time of the year that it seems we are told brings peace to all men a time to remember all that we have been blessed with as we look back on our good fortune in the years that have past us by. There is a bustle and the crowds seem to grow bigger with every day that passes everyone trying to get the best deal or that promised present. Hopefully when the time arrives we have either acquired it or it no longer seems to matter anymore because it’s lost within the enjoyment of the day.
Children all over the world seem to be gathering in their excitement which rolls on endlessly until its fit to burst; desperately trying to control their emotions in fact as it draws closer sleeping is even difficult. Everyday asking the grownups “how long is it now” a day seems so long how can they hope to wait all that time? I am sure that everyone reading this piece can relate to all of the above, both as children and as an adult with children of their own. That’s how it’s meant to be right so why am I here stating the obvious? Simply because right now out there in the world some children never experience all that I have infused about in the above.
As an abused child the time of year never seems to matter our abuse never stopped just because it’s Christmas, we never look at the days passing us by as taking us one step closer to a happy event. On Christmas Eve whilst other children lay in their bed trying to sleep with shouts of “I can’t sleep I’m waiting for Santa” as abused children we in turn lay awake waiting so unsure if we will once more tonight hear the noises upon the stairs, that creaking bringing our abuse closer and closer until we see the crack of light as the door opens slowly towards us. Children trying to stay awake they want to see Santa willing their eyes to stay open as they become heaver and heaver, whilst others await a different fate that may visit them tonight and they for sure won’t be waiting for presents. The only thing they asked was another night without abuse because it never announced its coming, each night crawling into bed and trying not to wet it through pure fear of the oncoming horrific act or dream.
I remember thinking as a child at Christmas that I would be safe on Christmas Eve because my abuser couldn’t come; surly he would bump into Santa I had to be safe tonight right? How could he know when Santa was coming no one did or so I was told.
It’s so difficult to try to gain access into the mind of an abused child because through the circumstance of their lives they have built a brick wall around themselves and who can blame them? But when this wall is constructed unfortunately no one can go within that place not even Santa. I say within them because as an abused child we have to create a safe place within our minds where we can go to hide even whilst our abuse is taking place, it’s somewhat like dissociation from our physical body as we create another being within that’s able to take it from us.
Christmas is just another day for an abused child no matter how many toys Santa has left under the tree, the night before brings them or could bring them something completely different and the sleeplessness is for a very different reason. Children waiting for that doll they hoped for or that car they just had to have, can’t release them from the dread of going to bed on Christmas Eve or indeed any proceeding night. They can only hope that one day the coming of a New Year and the promise of a new start in life will mean exactly that, but they have no way of knowing when their abuse will come to its end and when going to bed will not engulf them in fear no matter the time of year.
It’s nearly Christmas but sadly it won’t be a happy a one for everyone……….