In my Twelve Days of Christmas series, I’m sharing tips on using the festive season to progress in your journey out of abuse. This time, I talk about packing an escape bag, and treating yourself to a special Anti Christmas.
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 TWO if you are living with your abuser
You may be gathering your strength to leave the relationship, or perhaps you’re anticipating having the flee the house in a hurry the next time you leave. Either way, there are a number of items that will be very helpful to you if you need to get out in a hurry.
WHY NOT do this today?
Now that you’ve unpacked the Christmas tree, it’s time to consider packing an escape bag – just in case. Include these essentials:
- Birth certificates, passports, and identity documents for you and your children
- Driving license and registration papers, as well as insurance documents
- House keys
- Any documentation (or evidence) you have of the abuse
- Your tenancy agreement or mortgage details
- Money, or credit and debit cards
- Any small sentimental objects – such as family photos and mementos – that you wouldn’t want to lose. Your abuser is not Father Christmas: if you leave, expect never to be reunited with anything you leave behind
Hide the bag somewhere where your abuser can’t stumble across it – ideally at the house of a trusted friend or family member. If you are afraid of him discovering a bag, get yourself a box file and put all your vital documents in it. If asked, you might tell him you’re simply getting the family paperwork better organised.
DAY TWO if you have escaped your abuser
With the festive season now in full swing, chances are you’re wishing the whole thing would just GO AWAY, already! With gifts to buy and then to wrap, children to be corralled out of hyperactive excitement, an enormous dinner to cook, and guests to entertain – even at the best of times Christmas can feel like you’re forced to compete in an Iron Man contest wearing only a stupid big grin and a party hat.
Add to this the complicated emotions and painful memories swirling around in your head, and stresses of the abuse recovery process. Everyone else seems deliriously happy. You bottle up your misery. You grit your teeth and try to get on with it for the sake of the kids.
WHY NOT do this today?
Hold an Anti Christmas. Call it the prequel to the mammoth event that is scheduled for 25 December. The five rules of the Anti Christmas are:
- You can have it on whatever day, or night, you want. No need to wait for a bright star to appear in the sky.
- Invite only people who make you feel good. Your difficult Aunt May need never know. Or, if you prefer – have your special event in blissful solitude.
- Cooking is banned. Takeaway menus are in.
- Ask guests to leave gifts at home – but instead, to bring along a photograph, a cutting – anything that makes them laugh, and to share it with the room.
- Choose the music you love – rebellious rock, classic country, or smooth pop – just as long as there’s not a jingle bell to be heard.
The most important rule of all goes without saying – have fun and relax!
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 https://avalancheofthesoul.wordpress.com