Premium Podcast Help Contact Dr. Laura Dr. Laura Designs Return to
Join Family Premium Login Family

Email of the Day

Domestic Violence, Through the Eyes of a Child

This is an article I wrote about domestic violence based on my own horrors I went through as a child. It is to any woman who is torn about leaving their "Dear-Violent-Husband."

This is my own personal experiences.
"Up until I was 9 yrs old, I had lived with my dad. He brought me up with the Christian fundamental basics. He also taught me to stand tall, and say what you mean and mean what you say. He was pretty up front about it. And I think that is part of why I am the way that I am, and not some violent abusive drunk. Well when I was 9 I had decided I wanted to know my mother and my dad let me stay with her.

From 9 until 16, I lived with my mother and her husband. During this time they tried to hide/keep me away from my father. I think she was trying to get revenge for him getting full custody of me when I was younger, but I don't know. Anyway, my stepfather was a raging alcoholic, verbally and physically abusive, and to top it off a very heavy pot smoker. (That will be saved for another debate) More times then I can count, I remember being terrified of this guy. My mother was scared of him too, but try being a child, and being BEATEN, PUNCHED, and KICKED by someone who is so much bigger and powerful then you are. Try being a child and watch someone do that kind of behavior to the one who is supposed to protect you, and continues to let it happen. You are helpless. My 3 younger brothers and I were always living in fear of what the next day, hour, and even minute would bring. I remember being forced to ride home, in the back of a pick-up truck WHILE he drove home drunk, yelling and screaming at my mother. When he was mad, he always drove faster, and more reckless and us children were ALWAYS scared for our lives.

One particular moment that haunts me to this day was when we heard him BEATING our mother and throwing her down the stairs, hearing her scream out in pain, then hearing him yell "Get Up! Get up or I'll kill you!" He kept his guns in the bedroom downstairs where this was happening. My brothers and I would be in tears in our room praying that she got back up, and more importantly, that she was ok. But we knew she wasn't. We all agreed if we heard gunshots, we would run and try to hide. And there have been times in his drunken rage he did try shooting at her. She would sometimes take us and leave him, but within hours she would always go back. Just when we thought we would be safe, and not constantly looking over our shoulder to see if he was following us, just when we could breathe in relief, she would turn us around and go back to him, forcing us to face our fears once more. She would always tell us "Oh he didn't mean it." I think that is just what she wanted to believe. She wanted to believe she could change him; that her love and loyalty would soften him, change him, and they would live "Happily Ever After." It didn't happen like that at all.

I would talk to the school counselors, CPS would come out, but there was nothing they could do. It was my word vs his, and of course he would lie, pretend everything was ok, but as soon as they left, I would get beat for saying anything. There was a time, while I was living with them, when I even tried to commit suicide, because I didn't feel as if there was any way out. But for some reason the gun had jammed. There are so many times I can recall where I should have died.

Finally after I was old enough, I left to live with my real dad. I felt as if I had escaped my own house of horrors, but I felt so much sorrow for my brothers. I felt as if I betrayed my brothers because I was the oldest, I was supposed to protect them, but I had an escape while they were left there to continue to go through that hell. And I had some pretty serious anger issues. I would act out, get into fights, I got bad grades in school. I was acting out because I didn't have any other way to express myself of my pain I was feeling because I felt like I had let my brothers down. I am the oldest, and yet while I was finally safe from that horror, they were not.

After I was finally safe with my real father, when I was old enough, I joined the Army. Now part of me was extremely rebellious, and I think it was my way of acting out the pain I was feeling from my later half of my childhood. The Army, my father and I thought, would give me the structure and discipline we felt I needed to get my life back on track. And we were right, it did. But with my childhood, I formed some pretty harsh opinions on certain situations. I, for instance, don't think everyone means well. I think there are some really evil people in this world. I can also be cold hearted in certain situations as that is how I was trained to cope with things With that said, I am also a humble person and when I make a mistake, I will correct that mistake, and apologize when I step out of line.

Today, my mother and this guy are no longer together. She FINALLY got up the courage to leave him for good and move on with her life. But also, today, my relationship with my mother is very damaged. And it is, and has, taken a long time for me to even talk to her without getting upset at her.

My final message to those who are "undecided" about leaving an abusive relationship, I want you to do this, if you have children, I want you to look at them, watch them, then think about my story about how I was forced to watch the horror of my own mother getting beat so badly she now has no teeth but wears dentures. Ask yourself "If I truly love my child(ren), is this what is best for them?" And if you do not have the strength to leave him, then please send your child(ren) away so they can live a happy childhood without having to face those kinds of fears of which I had to endure.

Tags: abuse, Marriage, Parenting
< Back to Email of the Day Archives