It is hard to writing and reliving my past. Many things I would rather never revisit.
Christmas slowly became a painful and exhausting time over the years with an abusive partner in the room. It must also be born in mind that it was not until we divorced, and I was living independently, that I finally opened my eyes and recognised the narcissist that had influenced and manipulated me.
As with much of life on the farm, Christmas was a busy time. The extra work of organising the plucking, dressing and delivery of all the poultry. There was also the day to day work on the farm to do.
The month's highlight for me was Connor's school activities and the anticipation of happy Christmas holiday's. Unfortunately, William made excuses and was always too 'busy' to take time out and go to the school plays and other activities. I made the most of it as it was the most socialising I did.
As William called it, the routine or tradition meant that we were expected to go to his mother's house with the rest of the family for the Christmas dinner. As this was a huge event, I was expected to go along on Christmas Eve and join in with the next day's food preparations. I didn't mind, except that I was always exhausted from working 18/20 hours a day all month long.
As is often the case with financially abusive partners, what I wanted to spend on Christmas gifts was always restricted. He would comment that our son wasn't worth it; instead, the money was needed for other farm expenses. I wanted to buy our son & family gifts, so instead, I used my credit card and kept quiet about what I'd spent. This was the start of my getting into debt. However, he was happy to take credit for gifts when they were given out.
Christmas morning was always the same. Whatever the time was that Connor woke up on Christmas morning, excited to see if Father Christmas had been, William always made him wait, interrupting the process by going off to feed the farm animals first. I complained that just for one day, the animals could wait a little while, whilst we enjoyed our sons excitement. Still, I was always ignored and instead, Connor would have to wait for what seemed like an age for his father to return and allow him to open just a few of the present as we would then need to leave to go over to his mother's house to continue helping with the preparations. Fortunately, Connor enjoyed his day as he had his cousins to have fun with.
After dinner and the Queen's speech, the kids were finally allowed to open the remaining gifts. But before they could, they were forced to perform a song or recite something to open a gift. I absolutely hated the whole scene. I was always glad to leave. Back at home Connor, and I would enjoy playing games together.
The whole Christmas routine, Boxing Day and New Year's Eve, were always exactly how William wanted to spend his time. Not once did he ever change his routine, and if I ever mentioned changing the routine, it was always rejected.
New Years Day, I would cook Turkey dinner for all 30 of his family; my family were not encouraged to be invited. As a result, I would organise my own festive celebrations with my girls, sometimes later in January or even February, to avoid the unpleasantness.
One year I had the opportunity to go to the USA for Christmas. Connor and I were so excited, and for once, I had a wonderful time; I was able to relax, we all helped each other with the preparations, and we had quality time together without any atmospheres. These memories have been a lifesaver for me; when times were tough, I would send my mind back to those happy Christmas memories.
I did my best to be jolly and happy and make the most of life, but over time I felt beaten. There was never any respite, just hard work. There was never a 'date night' or change of scenery. The excuse was it 'was too expensive and I was not worth it. These were the 'chips' that got to me, ultimately making me feel unacknowledged and worthless.