When Domestic Violence Leads To Divorce During The Holidays
When you think of the holidays, what comes to mind? Gatherings with family and friends, good food, the laughter of children, and twinkling lights? For some, though, the holidays bring out the worst. The tragic reality is that some people face the threat of violence during this season of joy and celebration, and the whole year through.
The fact of the matter is, when violence is the pattern in a family, it almost certainly does not take a break for the holidays. Some studies actually point to a rise in domestic violence Thanksgiving and Superbowl Sunday, although data is mixed in this regard. One thing is certain: pressures can increase during the holidays, and that is often the stimulus for violence, especially in homes where violence has occurred in the past.
Factors Impacting Increased Holiday Violence
During the holiday season, several factors that take day to day living out of the norm converge to dial up the tension and fear for families:
1- Economic strain can become insufferable during the holidays, particularly for breadwinners who feel they cannot provide the kind of celebration they’d like for their families. It can be a blow to the ego to have to live with the fact that your kids will go wanting this holiday season.
2- Displaying a sunny disposition when you’re miserable underneath can be exhausting: During the holidays, more than at any other time of year, people feel obligated to display joy and contentment. Sometimes parading that image to family and friends can be grueling when it’s just an act.
3- Family and friends may be underfoot much more than usual. Those holiday gatherings, with all the hustle and bustle, can be overwhelming.
4- Congestion everywhere, from the roadways to malls and shops, can be exasperating. Impatient shoppers bring out the worst in people, and make simple errands nerve-wracking.
5- Lots of alcohol: Because the consumption of alcohol is often a factor in violence, attending parties can be a real stress point.
Safety Plan for the Holidays
For anyone in an abusive relationship, it is critical to have a safety plan in case things get dangerous.
1- Find a way to communicate with family friends truthfully about your concerns. Create a code word that you share with trusted individuals that indicates that you’re in trouble so you can alert them to get help when you need it.
2- Manage issues that aggravate the tension for your abusive spouse. Whether that means fewer or smaller gatherings, or alcohol-free parties, do what you can to keep things safer. Make changes based on what will help your situation.
3- If violence does erupt, reach out. There are local support organizations that are open 24-7 every day of the year.
When You’re Ready to Call it Quits
If you can no longer tolerate an abusive relationship, it doesn’t matter if it’s the holiday season or not. Our compassionate, experienced Springfield family attorneys at Courtney & Mills are prepared to intervene with restraining orders and other legal tools to help you stay safe as you negotiate the terms of a divorce. Contact us in our Springfield office today for reliable, kind assistance today.