A Hollow Christmas

Have you ever noticed that around October, the shopping season actually begins to take off.  It starts off slowly and it starts to slowly build up to the major shopping event of black Friday.  Black Friday has become a separate and almost religious holiday in and of itself.  People go to the stores and fight to the death over the most coveted items just to hurry and wait in line.  I don’t have to mention that people are waiting in line for almost four hours and some times even longer.  This is all part of the holiday frenzy and once the black Friday holiday phenomenon is over, a quiet and stillness sets in.  The stores quiet down for a temporary lull until the day after Christmas.  In which, that day people flood the stores with their gift receipts to return the things they don’t want for the things they do want.  The sad thing is that most of these people will tell the person that gave them the original gift how much they loved it; too ashamed to admit that they returned the original gift.  What happened to giving and receiving and being thankful?  For it to mean something?
I remember being a kid… seven or eight years old on Christmas morning sitting in front of the tree opening Christmas presents.  I guess I received something that I didn’t like.  I believe it was a sweater.  I remember saying thank you without any real enthusiasm, setting it down, and moving on to opening the next present.  Things became quiet.  The next thing I knew was that Jack A. was standing over me.  He questioned me.

What, you didn’t like that present?

He said it calmly and quietly and I knew by his tone of voice that I had made a mistake.  Scared, I did my best to sink into the floor and disappear.  Of course this is impossible.  He went and sat back in his chair and told me to open the rest of my presents.  Which I did.  It was hard to get excited about any of the other presents because, as I opened them, they all felt like a bomb ready to explode.  After all of the presents were opened, Jack A. got up and came to tower over me a second time.  He handed me an envelope and told me to open it.  It was a polaroid picture of a fluffy golden retriever puppy.
I got all excited and jumped up and down squealing like little girls are prone to do.  Jack A. smiled and said:

We’re supposed to go pick him up tomorrow.

He proceeded to walk out of the room and came back to the living room with the phone in his hand.  He made motion toward the picture of the puppy which I handed to him.  He turned the picture over and dialed a phone number listed on the back of the polaroid.  It took a few rings before Jack A. gave his greeting.  All I heard from his end of the conversation was that we weren’t going to be picking up the puppy after all.  When he hung up the phone and said:

Until you can learn how to appreciate what you are being given, you will not be given any more presents.  So don’t expect anything for your birthday either.

I was sent to my room.  Kim and Jack A. took all of the presents I had opened back to the store.  I was left at home while they went to my Grandma and Grandpa’s for Christmas dinner and gift exchange.  I was not told what happened to the presents that I was given; nor did I ask.  I wasn’t brought home any dinner and I went to bed hungry.  Jack A. held true to his word that I wasn’t going to get any birthday presents.  I don’t even remember being told “Happy Birthday.”
From that point forward, I know that I was overly enthusiastic about what I got.  I stopped believing in Santa Clause that year because the Santa Clause presents that I opened that year were returned to the store.  Something that I took notice of as well was that my mother stopped getting in between my step-father and myself… It was almost like she started being a spectator at a bull fight.  I cried myself to sleep that night.  I cried until I could see the early rays of dawn peaking through my window.  Only then did I fall asleep.


22 thoughts on “A Hollow Christmas

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  1. Your post brought back memories. I know the feeling of having an indifferent audience to my abuse. It was as if they were watching a play that had no meaning to them. I actually believed I deserved what was happening to me because they were giving tacit approval by their silence. Even now, I ask why? Why they didn’t do something. anything to protect me? I’d wade through hell to protect a child. Why didn’t they?

    1. We would all like the answers to the why’s but sadly most of us will never get them. What I have determined is that anyone that abuses has severe problems of their own. Problems that were created by their parents or within their selves. Abusing is like Alcoholism, it’s a disease.
      These aren’t acceptable answers by any stretch of the imagination. We still have pain to overcome that will always be with us.

  2. Your hearbreaking story will touch many. What adults don’t seem to comprehend sometimes is that painful words hurt more than physical abuse because you can’t run away from your mind.

    I can relate to your story, because in an instant I can be transported back to moments in time. However God took me out of that environment and strengthened me in His loving arms – God doesn’t make junk. I’m sure He has you as well. I took the worse that man can hand out and I’m still standing! God is good and made me a counselor to assist others.

    1. I am glad to have met you because that shows me that recovery is possible. It’s amazing that you have been able to turn all of the negative to something positive. I actually would love to write a book about abuse recovery but am having a difficult time deciding where I’m going to go with it. There are so many ways that I could do this.
      Thank you for your support.

      1. There is certainly a book of redemption in this heartbreaking story and perhaps one of “why do bad things happen to good people” because it made you stronger and successful if you allow it! I urge you to write, write, write! It’s great therapy and Yes, I am successful because God blessed me when I failed to let someone’s “stinkin-thinkin” false beliefs fester inside me. Just because someone says it doesn’t make it so, unless you believe it. You know you are special simply because God made you! (Go for it and don’t expect the first draft to be perfect just write from the heart.) God bless!!

  3. Ellie is right Phoenix,and your story has touched me, as do all your writings about your “life” as a child.
    I cant help but think of you there as a little girl crying your eyes out because of Jack A.. again…
    You should write about abuse recovery.
    Your strength is immense and your example phenomenal.
    I sincerely hope that you had a great christmas, ( i know your children and husband will have had, because you will have made it so for them) and that you have a fantastic New Year, that brings you the answers to some of the questions that need answering.
    Happy Christmas and happy New Year to you Phoenix,if anyone deserves it, you most certainly do.
    Love n hugs and all best wishes for the coming year

    1. As always, I enjoy reading your comments. Our Christmas has actually been delayed until after the new year since my husband is out of town. I don’t want him to miss out on the girls’ opening their presents.
      I hope that your holidays went well and best wishes!
      With much respect,

  4. I agree you should definitely write a book about abuse as it happened to you and your road to recovery and your wondrous ability to “break the pattern.” Hope you will write that book– could help many and yourself as well. I wrote a memoir of my breakdown and eventual road to recovery and it was painful to write and made me paranoid and vulnerable, both writing it and publishing it but it is my hope that it will help someone and actually has offered hope in the way I intended to a limited degree. But the mighty ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. My book is outing myself and subjecting myself to the stigma of mental illness but I am glad I did it.

    1. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. It really does mean a lot. I actually started a rough draft today for a book. I don’t know how far I will go with it since I have a hard time sticking to any one project.
      WordPres is the first major project I have stuck with for any extended amount of time.
      Thanks again!
      With much respect,

      1. You poor honey. My heart empathises with what you went through so much. It is often the emotional abuse and words that hurt the most. Physical abuse, although tough and painful eventually heals but its the words, phrases facial expression, lack of love, affection or protection that hurts the most leaving you as an innocent child to feel the blame and shame. We then grow into adults littered with false belief systems, “I’m not worthy,” “i don’t deserve good things. I don’t deserve Love.” We go on to attract the same painful patterns and negative relationships until we learn to let it all go. Forgive. Breathe. You absolutely must write the book. Like me, your purpose is to empower and inspire. I would love to know your journey. How did you overcome this? Attract a positive and healthy relationship? I would read it! I am writing a book called Mr Wrong, “a humorous but insightful exploration into why some women continually attract “Mr Wrong” and how to set out on a positive path to Mr Right.” Check out my about page and Sept post Chapter 2 Start With You. I have never written a book before but I’m loving the process. You and I are absolutely qualified to tell our stories and inspire others. Put pen to paper and make a start. If you need any advice (not that I’m a pro) but drop me an email at dingdongitsmrwrong@yahoo.co.uk. Best advise I can give you is to put pen to paper and begin. Have a vision of how you imagine the structure of your book and begin sketching/jotting down ideas. You’ll be surprised. Good luck! 🙂
        Jack.A may have take your presents back to the shop but the best gift of all to people who have and are experiencing the same type of abuse could be your book

      2. You honor me with your words. Thank you so much for comment and for following my story. Life has definitely been rough but I have a very happy life now. I tell a lot of my readers that I am well, happy, and loved. I have two beautiful children and the most supportive husband… I couldn’t be happier. More money would certainly help but with all I have, it isn’t a necessity. I am definitely working on the book idea and have found a foothold of a start. It’s just a matter of the middle stuff and an ending.
        Thanks again for all of the support.
        With much respect,

  5. I wanted to simply thank you for liking one of my posts but when I returned to this blog, it was so wonderful to see how much love and support you have from friends! We are all behind you as you write your memories and create your novel of redemption. It’s excellent therapy and I know you’ll continue to grow and blossom through it all. For you are truly blooming where you are planted. Much Christian love to you my new friend!

  6. Welcome! Thank you for subscribing to follow my blog. I hope you are encouraged, inspired and enjoy the photos I take of life’s events as seen through the lens of my camera.

  7. WOW, that was harsh. So sorry, what a childhood. For me, if it were my daughters or grandson I’d have to say “grounds for divorce”. But maybe there’s something to pity in your mom. I remember my mom and stepdad. She couldn’t leave, I think she was afraid to and afraid of him. Perhaps your mom was scared. I’m so glad though that you have and are working through this pain.

    1. I know that I would protect my girls in whatever way I had to. In this effort to heal and through writing and blogging, I have come to understand the objective side to who my mother is. She is extremely co-dependent. She can’t function unless she has a man in her life (even if he’s as toxic as Jack A.). She has had a substance abuse problem since her teenage years. Knowing this, I’ve become indifferent to her and her problems. I have severed my relationship with her for the sake of my girls. Thank you for reading. 🙂

  8. My heart truly goes out to you. This post especially stirred up a lot of emotion in me. My dad was very similar to Jack A. I wish I could have been there to rescue you from it all.

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