DASH-ing through the snow… it’s the time of year when the joys and cheer of the holidays are upon us. But for those in abusive dating relationships, the holidays can mean fear, pain and danger. Although not faced with the same stress as adults, even teens can feel the pressures of the season. Any kind of stress can cause abusive partners to escalate their abuse. Stressors include tension in the family, money problems, depression and drinking.
For some the holidays mean more arguments within family about holiday plans, how much money is being spent, curfew times etc. If an abuser is stressed because of what is going on in his/her own family that stress can express itself in more abusive behavior toward a partner.
Be on the look-out for the following behaviors during the holiday season:
- Keeping you from spending time with family and friends
- Showing up uninvited to family gatherings or special events; stalking
- Checking up on you via text, phone, or social media at all hours
- Not believing what you tell him/her
- Drug and/or alcohol use
You may notice that a friend is not her usual self. She may cancel plans with you suddenly or seem depressed. She may avoid holiday parties, shopping or hanging out. If she is in a relationship, these may be signs that she is being abused. If you can talk with your friend be supportive. Tell her that she is not alone, the abuse is not her fault. You may want to share your concerns with a trusted adult. Let your friend know that help is available from www.datingabusestopshere.com and the National Teen Dating Violence Helpline at 1-866-331-9474. You can find more tips on our website in our 4 Friends section.
Do not excuse abusive behavior due to the holiday stress! No matter what time of year, abuse is unacceptable.