‘A Christmas letter to my mother’

Many survivors find Christmas a difficult time of year. Here a survivor writes a letter to her mother about the abuse she suffered, the Christmases she wishes she could have had and how she has now moved on in her life.

Dear Mum,

It’s so much harder to deal with our estrangement during the festive season. I think about you all the time at this time of year, and fantasise about the mother I wish I could have had.

The other day I had dinner at a pub, where a family were sat down together. A mother was lovingly sharing a moment with her daughter and gave her a hug and kiss. She picked up her baby and they enjoyed a close, family moment. It left me feeling warm… then jealous, and then… crushed.

You see, I would have loved to have a mother like that. If only you could have been her. Someone who held me when I grazed my knee. Loved me when I was sick, and kept me safe from harm. But you did the opposite.

I wish I could tell you how I’m reclaiming my Christmas, creating new traditions and surrounding myself with a new, loving alternate family. But I just feel heartbroken. That you never protected me from abuse at those big family Christmas parties. That you beat me into unconsciousness when I was a child (did you even notice that you almost killed me in your rage?) That you gifted me to your own paedophile. And the rest…

And yet I long for a mother. But I know now, it’s not actually you who I am craving. Our horrific history rules that out. You were never a mother. Never caring, nor maternal. Why I am so sad is that I never had a tribe, a protector… people to care for me… a place to turn to in my hour of need. Or a family to do the things normal family do together, like have a nice Christmas dinner (without the ‘trimmings’ of abuse).

But I know I need protect myself, from you. And the others, who are just as sick. I need to stay away from your hurt souls who can only hurt others. Who I fear would kill me, given half the chance. A wrong look, an incorrect glance….

So I keep myself busy in December so that it keeps some of the sadness, and the longing, at bay. This year I’m volunteering for many charities. It keeps me from feeling sorry for myself and wishing for the family that I never had.
I try in small ways to celebrate Christmas on my own – get myself a small sack of presents, watch Christmas movies sat on my bed with my dogs, focus on bringing Christmas cheer to others who are not as fortunate as me. This alleviates my soul somewhat.

I’ve promised myself that, despite the many “happy family” pictures that are forced into my face in restaurants, bars, and on social media throughout this month, I will not focus on grieving something that I never had to begin with.

I will focus on the incredible life I’m creating, in spite of what I never had.

The NAPAC support line is open until 6pm on Christmas Eve. We’ll be closed from Christmas Day until New Year’s Day. We re-open at 10am on Tuesday 2 January 2019. We’re hoping to be able to expand our support line service in future, but while we are closed, you may find our series of 6 booklets helpful to read. You can also listen to them in audio. NAPAC’s booklets 

The Samaritans are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so if you if you need to talk, you can call them free on 116 123.

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