While it is nice to associate the holidays with peace and tranquility, the holidays come with stress. The pressure to keep up with the ideals of the most wonderful time of the year can be overwhelming. For families living in an already-strained situation with an abuser, the holidays are one of the most feared times of the year.
Often, family members tiptoe around the volatile and unpredictable individual, trying their best to avoid hidden triggers, which are often harmless or unintentional offenses that set the abuser off on a tirade. Families living with such tension on an everyday basis see an uptick in violent and abusive behavior around the holidays for several reasons.
Common holiday-related triggers include:
Money: In families where money is tight, the financial pressure of the holidays can become a major stressor. In families that are dealing with an abusive parent, money issues can become the impetus for a blow up.
Alcohol or drugs: Getting into the spirit of the holidays can become a real problem when alcoholism and abusive tendencies mix. Intoxication is a factor in a significant portion of spousal and child abuse incidents.
Pressure to keep up: The tendency to attempt to keep up is most evident during the holiday season. When children begin asking for gifts that are over the family budget, a frustrated parent may try to defeat feelings of inadequacy by reacting to an innocent child for being selfish or greedy. Such emotional abuse can be very damaging to a child.
Guests: Dealing with a house full of guests can be overwhelming for an easily agitated abuser. The presence of guests may keep the abuse at bay until all the guests leave and a late-night fight results from the day’s aggression.
Other’s expectations: The pressure to please people and do what is expected is common, especially during the holidays. However, for someone with an abusive personality, the inability to control the situation can be an irritant that sets them off.
Time pressure: One of the most common types of stressors that affect the way people treat each other has to do with how much pressure people are under. When running late, people are more likely to lash out. For an abuser, those tendencies are more extreme and much more dangerous.
While most people navigate the pressures of the holidays with relative composure, abusers are likely to succumb to the stress and allow their abusive instincts to take hold. For families living in crisis, unfortunately the holidays intensify the unhealthy inclinations of an unstable or impulsively violent abuser.
New Jersey DYFS Attorneys at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker Advocate for Those Accused of Child Abuse
If you are under investigation for child abuse or neglect, speak to a New Jersey DYFS attorney at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker to learn about your rights as a parent or guardian and to receive the help your family needs. Contact us online or call us at 856-795-9400 for an initial consultation. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Haddonfield, Marlton, Medford, Moorestown, Mount Laurel, and Voorhees.