The following post was originally posted to my old blog site back in 2015, I decided to share it again with my new audience and social media friends.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness and I wanted to start the month by sharing my story in hopes of helping other families.
Here’s my experience…
Domestic Violence from the kid’s perspective.
Imagine being three years old and witnessing your father wrap his hands around your mother’s neck and you believing he was going to kill her and all you could do was scream for Daddy to let go of Mommy. Imagine retelling that story to your grandmother. Imagine witnessing your father ball his fist up and try his best to punch your mother dead in her face, but your uncle stopping him and watching those two men, brothers, fight and tug, your mother right smack in the middle of them crying and screaming, and you doing the same, not being able to do anything about it. Imagine being held in a hotel room with your crying mother, infant brother, and your father lying on the floor in front of the door (the only way out) with a knife so you couldn’t go anywhere. Your mother waking you up-you only four years old asking where are we going? Why are we leaving Daddy? Your mother is pleading with you to be silent so Daddy didn’t wake up. Having to jump over him and head for the door so he wouldn’t catch you all escaping. Imagine remembering the day Mommy finally had enough so she grabbed you and your brother and you waited outside (maybe for a cab or bus) and you, a little girl, standing there relieved you weren’t going back into that apartment.
All of these things happened in front of me when I was between the ages of 3 and 4 years old. No one retold these things to me, these are clear and distinct memories forever sketched into my brain. When I was a teenager I told my mother about my memories and she could not believe I remembered so many things so clearly. I think to myself how could I ever forget them? Here I am almost 32 years old and just writing this brings back the same helpless feelings I felt as a child.
Domestic violence does not only affect the women or men being abused, it affects families, particularly children.
For so many years I used my mother’s story, her life, as what not to do in a relationship. What not to put up with. It taught me to fight, to be strong. It taught me to not let ANYONE even attempt to talk to me crazy or even dream of putting their hands on me. It taught me early on to have a way to defend myself. I’ve been called everything from strong, paranoid, an inspiration, crazy, a bully, a tin man-call it what you like I was not going to be a punching bag for anyone. Hit me and there was going be a head up fight. And I’m not fighting fair. For as long as I can remember I thought these things made me strong. Made me able to handle and cope with anything life had to offer. But for a long time it did the exact opposite. It made me bitter, angry, always on the defense, always waiting for somebody to hurt me, and ready to retaliate if and when they did.
As I’ve grown, matured, and studied the word of God I began to realize that this wasn’t a healthy way to live. I didn’t want to live that way anymore. Slowly but surely I let my guard down. It was through my prayers and personal relationship with God that I was able to deal with the things I’ve experienced.
Truth is- I am strong. I was strong enough to deal with me and the issues I endured due to the actions of my parents. You often hear of little girls who witness domestic violence going on to repeat the cycle-I was determined to not let that be me. I went to the whole other extreme of the spectrum. My heart was cold (or at least I pretended it was). Because although my actions said I didn’t care, I didn’t need anybody, deep down I knew I did.
Children don’t get the credit they deserve when it comes to comprehending what’s going on around them. I know my mother would have not stayed for one extra minute if she knew what I knew at just three years old. And maybe my father wouldn’t have did the things he did. I spent most of my life hating my father. Hating him for what he put us through and not protecting us like he was suppose to. They have both been gone from this earth for over ten years, but those days, almost thirty years later, are still etched into my mind.