Twelve Days of Christmas with Avalanche #1: staying safe and recovery

Welcome to the first installment of my Twelve Days of Christmas series! Here, I’ll be sharing quick tips about staying safe if you are living with an abuser, and exorcising the Ghost of Christmas Past if you have escaped abuse.

Avalanche Community call: Friends, what has worked for you? What are your highlights, lowlights and must-avoid pitfalls? Please share your own tips and experiences, and hopefully together we can help others to enjoy a safe and merry Christmas!

DAY ONE if you are living with your abuser

Photo by brokenarts

Photo by brokenarts

Living with an energy-vampire makes it so much harder to enjoy the small things that make Christmas magical. You try to make the most of the season – for the sake of the children or because that’s what so-called ‘normal’ people do. But it is unbearably hard, because everyone else seems to be having a much more merry time than you! You continue to put his needs first, as you try to cope with the extra demands and pressures of the yuletide.


Do something for you. A small (but safe) rebellion against the Bad Santa in your life. Don’t do anything that may put you at greater risk, but pick out one thing that you used to do for your ‘me-time’ – and do it.

Great secrecy is advised – your abuser is designed to prevent you from any action that seems like you are carving out some independence, even if it’s just taking 20 minutes out of your schedule for a luxurious bath. So, if you can, choose a time when he is not around.

For some ideas, check out my Safe Christmas Me-Time sheet.

DAY ONE if you have escaped your abuser

Photo by kalilo

Photo by kalilo

If the wounds are still fresh, you may be feeling conflicted: grieving over the loss of happy Christmases with your ex (back before he turned into the soul-stealing Grinch) and probably suffering flashbacks to the festive times that he merrily destroyed with his chaos and abuse. Acknowledge that what you feel is absolutely normal. Everyone feels philosophical at yuletide, as we reflect on the year gone by. And, if you’ve escaped an abusive relationship, you often have far more on your plate than turkey with all the trimmings!


Go buy the most beautiful greetings card you can find. Look for one with wording that resonates with you. Have fun picking out a funny picture, or design that best fits your quirky personality.

Now, do you have a half an hour to spare? Well, I want you to grab a cup of cocoa and a pen, and curl up on your sofa to write out the most important Christmas card of the season. And, guess what? It’s for you! Use the Reclaiming Christmas_Avalanche Christmas card to fill it in.

What you do with the card is up to you. Whether you put it in pride of place above the fire, or store it safely in your bedside cabinet – open it up and read it at least once a day, as a reminder of how much you have achieved and how far you have come.


Photo by a_glitch

Photo by a_glitch

Check out my post, An Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Christmas, for more tips on keeping safe and happy this festive season.

© Avalanche of the Soul, 2013-14

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