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Author Topic: Domestic Violence
Cian
Activist
Member # 44405

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While I have never been the target of domestic violence, save for a failed attempt to slap me by my drunken mother, but have witnessed it in my parents' marriage. This may need a bit of a back story and introduction.

I'm 20 now, my parents finally divorced when I was 17 after domestic disputes, violence and substance abuse reached its peak and so, the breaking point of my family. My parents have been alcoholics for as long as I remember. My mom used to take me to a bar after a normal shopping trip at the age of 5 so she could have a pint or two, and she told me I couldn't tell anyone or else my older sister would be jealous because I got a fizzy drink and she didn't. I bought it, I was always a very gullible child.

Things escalated by the time I was 10 to the point that I was always afraid my parents were drnking, arguing and breaking things. I went on a week long volley ball tournament, and I had a horrible fit of fear when I couldn't reach my parents one day on the phone, worried they might've been drinking and fighting again.

Things didn't get any better the following years, when I was 13 I wished summer vacations would never come again, as it had been a particularly trying summer in regards of my parent's endless bickering, trashing things, drinking and infidelity.

My school performance has always suffered from the situation at home, I always worried about the end of the school day and returning home. By the time I was 15, I was so scared to go home. My mother had attempted suicide several times through substance abuse. I was scared I'd find her dead. She had walked away from my family a couple of times.

16 through 17 was the worst year of my life so far, until my parents finally divorced as my father wanted to remove me and my little sister (my older sister had moved from home years ago) from the toxic environment we lived in.

While I have always, always been mad at my mother for her alcohol and drug abuse and her infidelity to my father, in a sense I can understand how life would've driven her to that point. My father has never been the supportive kind of a partner, I don't find. She had three children. My family has always lived in moderate poverty and debt, scraping together the money to feed and clothe mainly us children-- it leaves little time for achieving personal goals and desires and for nurturing a relationship.

Regardless, because I always felt disappointed by my mother- she was never there for me, and when she was, she was drunk and offering her advice on things I didn't need or want advice in - I always justified my father hitting my mother in one way or another.

Social workers found this very sad that I would justify the violence, that I could say it was deserved. Of course it was not. It never is.
I understand, rationally, that it is never alright, it is never justified to abuse someone.
But I haven't been able to properly forgive my mother for all she did, and especially for all she did not do. And I have never held my father as accountable for his despicable behaviour as I should have.

I guess what I want to know is how to cope with these feelings; I feel angry and upset with my mother, but I want to be able to symphatize with her and forgive her. I want to understand that the man I have ever looked up to is not the best model for a man.

Also, the social workers were worried that in agreeing that my mother "deserved" the abuse, I may also find myself accepting abuse as something that I deserve in my relationships. And I sometimes do notice some aspects of my persona that would indicate so. I feel worthless, and feel I should be treated as such.
Luckily, at least for now, I am in a very loving, nurturing relationship. These are also issues I will likely want to bring up if/when I start counseling.

Is it typical for children who have grown up seeing domestic violence to wind up in abusive relationships, or are they more susceptible to accept abuse as something they deserve, since it is what they grew up with?

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Perhaps it's worth asking this: who deserves abuse?

In other words, if you feel there are people who do and people who don't, how do you define who each group is? And if you do think there are people who "deserve" to be abused, what does that mean to you exactly?

Abuse tends to impact children who grow up with it as adults in a variety of ways. For some, it can influence them in becoming abusive. For others, it can influence them in seeing abuse as normal or a given and winding up being in abusive relationships as the recipient of abuse. For others still, a strong awareness of these dynamics and that they are not okay at all, for anyone, can happen and incline that person to work very hard to wind up in neither position.

For those who wind up in neither situation, it can influence certain interpersonal dynamics.

Someone coming through an abusive household as a child with all of that having zero influence is, however, pretty uncommon, especially if that person didn't get good support or counseling as a child and an adult.

However any of us are reared, and what we see in the relationships around us, especially those closest to us, tends to define our idea of what's normal in relationships, and there's very little escaping that. We can certainly adjust those ideas as we grow, though: they're not set in stone.

But for sure, if you're feeling your mother deserved to be abused, or hold her responsible for her actions while not doing the same for your father about his, and if you're feeling you should be treated as if you have no value, those things suggest you have some work to do.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 67131 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Cian
Activist
Member # 44405

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I don't think anyone deserves abuse. I just used to justify the abuse in one way or another since I was scorned at my mother and looked up to my father. Of course I realize no one deserves abuse.

I feel guilty for never making any kind of an effort to stop the abuse, let it be telling someone about it, talking to my parents or down right intervening when they were having an argument. Of course I realize it's all too late now, it's all past and gone.

I guess what I also worry about is how growing up in the environment I have grown up in may have affected my personality negatively, such as my defeatism, and if it can be fixed. But then again, that'd be off topic for this conversation.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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I hope you can recognize that a minor child in an abusive home is in no way responsible for, nor often has any power to, ending abuse. You not telling anyone does not make those dynamics your responsbility in any way, and those dynamics are some of what keep kids FROM telling.

Your parents bear responsibility here for any abuse they perpetrated or purposefully enabled or allowed. Not you or any siblings. As well, other adults around the family, if THEY did not intervene at all, bear some responsibility. But again, not you.

Any of us can always grow and heal. Even if we start on that process way, way later than you are. It tends to take time and effort, and a lot of reflection (like the kind you're having now), but it's always doable.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 67131 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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