October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month, yet domestic violence occurs globally 24/7, 365 days a year. What is considered violence? What do parents teach their children?
John Bradshaw, author of “Homecoming” and “Creating Love ” says: “I consider anything that violates a person’s sense of self to be violence. Such action may not be directly physical or sexual, although it quite often is. Violence occurs when a more powerful and knowledgeable person destroys the freedom of a less powerful person for whom he or she is significant.”
Bradshaw also writes that “Anyone who witnesses violence is a victim of violence.” Do you think children under 5 are not traumatized by seeing violence? Can a 4-year-old girl really erase this scene as if it never happened?
Here is an excerpt from “Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor’s Story.” ***My father opened a kitchen drawer and pulled out a knife. That’s the knife my mother used to cut bones from chicken. He was holding the knife over his head with the sharp blade aimed at my mother. She looked so small compared to his large body, and his rage was larger than life. My father noticed me long enough to stop killing my mother.***
Be aware that when you fight in front of your children, you are degrading their sense of self, developing their perspective of an unsafe world, and diminishing their respect for you. It takes decades of affirmations, meditations, medications, and celebrations to dry the tears of children whose parents fought while swearing to one another “one day you’ll be the death of me.”
Whose fault is it when one of the parents commits suicide the night after a fight? Who takes on the responsiblity as surely as if it was a homicide? Children typically take on the blame for what is broken, for what they cannot fix. It takes forever and a day to undo the damage done to a child who witnesses the violence of parents who verbally, physically, mentally, and emotionally abuse each other. Be careful of what you allow children to witness, because all the time in the world does not heal all wounds.
Post completed by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor’s Story
The wounded children left behind when family violence ends in death has always bothered me. You don’t hear about them after initial news reports, and they usually aren’t even mentioned by name, only by age, a number.
Who will they become? They are the lost ones in turmoil they never asked for. The lost innocence of childhood is the worst thing to steal from a child. We have nothing in place to serve the needs of these children, and if they don’t have surviving family members with enough resources for good therapies, they are put into a system which generally perpetuates the cycle.
We all want to stop the cycle of violence, but if we leave these kids hanging, they know no other way. They live what they see.
Great article, Lynn, thanks so much for sharing.
Very sad and a great wake-up call. Thanks for sharing.