I hope everybody enjoyed their Halloween. Now we are on to Thanksgiving. This is a good time of year to count our blessings. The more we count our blessings, the more blessings we seem to have. When we count them we notice more, especially the blessings that we have been taking for granted.
We might not think to be grateful for water, electricity or even sunshine and don’t think to appreciate them until it’s not there. We have a quote on the wall that says, “It’s gratefulness that makes us happy, not happiness that makes us grateful.”
This column is about domestic violence, so I will take this opportunity to talk about victims of domestic violence. There are a lot of things that victims are not able to take for granted. It is sad how grateful they might be for what others might take for granted.
Imagine for a minute how it would feel to be grateful that nobody hurts your feelings on purpose for a whole day. We often talk about the fact that some of the worst abuse does not cross the line of the law.
Some don’t think of some things as being abusive because there is no physical violence. Imagine being disrespected, not heard or ignored, unsupported or not being believed in, misunderstood, unappreciated, not trusted or believed, not validated, not cared about, not cared for, not valued, not complimented or admired.
Yes, these are very abusive things. Name-calling and regularly being put down, constantly defending yourself – none of these things are okay and take their toll. It can be a miserable existence, expecting so little from our partner and our partner expecting so much.
Family holidays could be made very difficult and stressful when everybody is waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak. I could tell you a lot of stories about very sad holidays where the whole house was filled with people fearful of what was going to happen next, fearful that somebody was going to say or do the wrong thing. Fear should not be around the table or the Christmas tree and if that’s happening, I would definitely consider that a red flag.
Not receiving or giving basic kindness and understanding with people we say we care about is unacceptable. If a person is an abuser or a victim, these are very important issues to recognize and to deal with appropriately. Most of the time, these kinds of things are not obvious in the beginning of a relationship. These may happen slowly but surely and become a part of everyday life, and that too is unacceptable. Physical violence will come later if these things are accepted. This is part of the escalation that we often talk about here.
Everybody needs to know that there is help. Nobody has to just accept things that make them unhappy. I hope that your Thanksgiving is the best ever and that you can be thankful for loving and being loved. I know the holidays can be stressful for some and a lot of effort goes into making it just right. Try not to stress too much and enjoy yourself even if the turkey is a little dry or you forgot the cranberry sauce. Do your best within your in-laws or family that you just see once a year. Most of all, count your blessings or start recognizing them.
Mark your calendar! The Dickson Christmas Parade will be at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2. Then the Downtown Dickson Christmas Open House will be Dec. 3 from 5-9 p.m. We will be celebrating our 22nd anniversary at the same time. We would love to see you. Lots will be going on with most stores having events. Santa will be in one of the stores. There are usually horse-drawn carriages, carolers and a live nativity. We will have our own music too. I will personally sing you an original song.
Our next Coalition meeting will be held at Main Street Interventions at noon on Friday, Nov. 17.
Patti Flores-Pugh is the Founder and Director of Main Street Interventions. For help or to help you can call the following numbers: The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233); Women Are Safe’s crisis line 1-800-470-1117; Dickson Area Crisis Line – (615) 740-8329; Main Street Interventions (615) 740-7100; National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).