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True Life: Growing Up a Child of Domestic Violence

This post is part of our True Life series where OKC moms are sharing real trials & tribulations they have gone through as mothers, as wives, and as women. 

True life- depression

There are words that will forever remain etched in my memory. Words that a child can’t fully comprehend and words that can never be undone – even as an adult. The words my dad yelled as he held my mom against a wall choking her, “I will drown you in your own blood”. These words weren’t the only hurtful things yelled over the years and they weren’t as physically painful as all the punches and pushes I’m sure but they were by far the scariest.

Growing up I didn’t know a life without violence. I knew it wasn’t normal – but it was my life and by this point my mother had little control over it – let alone myself or my siblings. But before I go on, let me tell you what an amazing mother my mom was. She loved without boundaries, gave without expectations and maintained a strength beyond what was imaginable for most. All of those qualities made her an amazing mother but they also made her more susceptible to the cycle of domestic violence. My dad’s temper teeter tottered based upon how much alcohol he consumed but the reality was he was never an upstanding father or husband… ever.

The secrets we had to keep made things even more difficult. People would ask – but mama begged us not to tell. Family offered help – but mama always rejected it. Excuses were always made for the holes in the walls, broken dishes, torn papers, tears and bruises. It wasn’t that people didn’t know, it was that people didn’t want to know. Life was hard. When you’re at school wondering how mom is, if she’s hurting or even alive while the other kids are playing because that’s something they’ve never had to worry about – it’s lonely.

Standing in front of mom as dad yells in anger – begging him to stop, huddling in a room with my siblings hoping the fight would end soon, driving around in the middle of the night trying to find dad, standing in the grocery store parking lot as they yelled and dad took the vehicle leaving us behind, running to the neighbors house crying while waiting for the police to arrive – all for mama not to have him arrested. These were frequent occurrences and even when they weren’t fighting, they were arguing – I can’t recall a time when they were ever truly happy. The coercing, belittling and control never stopped even during the “happy” times.

My siblings and I could put shoes on, pack our overnight bags, grab our favorite toy and be ready to leave within the few minutes it took mom to call a friend to pick us up – day or night – because once again daddy was drunk and it was all too much.

If you’re reading this and you’re that friend, please find the resources they need to safely and effectively leave the relationship and pass them on while continuing your support. Everything about domestic violence is taboo and rightfully so to some extent but the safety of the victims is of utmost importance and no child should ever have to live that life.

If you’re reading this and you’re a victim of domestic violence, whether a mother or not, please take advantage of the resources available and once you can safely do so, leave. It doesn’t get better, ever. He only gets worse. Leaving can and will be a blessing to yourself and your child(ren). Staying together for the kids isn’t worth it, your partners financial assistance isn’t worth it, their “love” isn’t worth it, they aren’t worth it.

You are loved, you are worth more, you are brave and you can be safe and life will get better. As a child who survived, I’ll tell you that growing up living in poverty would have been a dream come true most days because the words, threats, beatings and control were consuming. If you’re in an abusive relationship, whether it be physical, emotional or psychological, I beg you not to stay together – even for the kids. Leave – especially for the kids.

Local Resources

YWCA  24 – hour Domestic Violence Hotline 405-917-9922

Women’s Resource Center Domestic Violence Crisis Hotline at 405-701-5540

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