Another 4th of July. Another painful weekend.
For me, in addition to July 4th, I find Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays equally as painful. And yet, probably due to the lack of traditions I’ve had on other long weekends throughout the year, I am sure other victims have other weekends that instantly flood them with painful reminders of the past.
It has now been ten years since I separated from my abuser. It occurs to me that he’s not bothered by the painful memories at all. Nope. Chances are if he does think about July 4th holidays that we were together, he probably remembers them as great times.
It’s truly shocking that the pain my abuser put me through can still impact my world so many years later.
I hate to admit defeat, but I think that is how I will handle this painful holiday. Here is another July 4th weekend and I am avoiding the world. I see too many firework vendors in parking lots if I drive anywhere. I see too many red, white, and blue outfits if I venture into the grocery store. It’s hard to find anyone to call; the few people I would turn to are busy enjoying family gatherings. It’s painful enough trying to fight off painful reminders of the past; it’s also hard when envy overtakes me when I listen to other people’s ability to enjoy this great weekend.
During previous July 4th weekends I have kept busy by painting a room in my house or by working on a project in the yard. Some years, trying to spend the time doing something that improves my living space has been a productive way to counter the pain. Some years, like this year, I am remaining indoors and waiting for the weekend to end.
Holiday Reminders are Painful
What I do know is that trying to enjoy the holiday is too painful. I can’t possibly continue with traditions from when I was with my abuser for the benefit of the children. I tried that for a few years thinking that was the best thing for them – keep their world stable as possible. It was and remains too painful to try to give them that.
It is discouraging to realize that I may never enjoy another July 4th weekend. As each year passes, I start accepting my limitations further. I am starting to embrace the fact that sometimes it is okay to do what is easiest for me to do. I have to listen and respect my triggers. Not respecting them often brings me anxiety. Learning how to work around them, including avoidance, may not bring me happiness but often spares me anxiety and pain.
I believe it is okay to put plans in place to minimize my triggers. The less I open myself up to anxious situations, the better I feel.
Hi, I'm Sue
Welcome to my blog! I served twenty-one honorable years on active duty, living a double life of capability and accomplishment in the service while enduring brutality and abusiveness in my twenty-one year oppressive marriage. Today I'm happily married and have three children who are my inspiration and motivation.
My goal is to help combat the lies of abusers with the truth of God. I hope you find my words to be healing and helpful through your own life experiences.
Being separated from my abusive husband didn't make me a domestic violence survivor. It surely didn't release me from the grip of his brainwashing control and the innate power he had on me.
Read the full raw story in my new book, Rock Bottom and Faithless.