Growing up in a violent home took an effect on me that I am still working out to this day, and I’m 40 years old!!! So when I say that domestic abuse affects children, listen to my story. Read my books. Listen to my radio show. I share openly, with the consent and approval of my family, about the toll domestic abuse has/had on my entire family. The reason why I am able to speak out about it now is because it is a part of my own healing journey. There is power in my voice. There is healing in my words. And there is deliverance to those who may find themselves where I have been, or even where I am now. We are not alone!!!
There is someone out there who needs to know they can survive what has happened to them. There is life after death, and I am referring to spiritual death. Domestic abuse eats away at the victim’s soul, at their self-esteem, at their will to live…it’s deadly emotionally, spiritually, and eventually, physically. The graves are full of victims who never left their abuser. There is a saying that he loved her to death. This is real. And this is my story.
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90 percent of parents who are currently experiencing domestic violence within their relationship believe their children don’t know what’s happening. But when researchers asked the children, 90 percent of them were, in fact, well aware.
During my research on children and domestic violence, I came across this video of a 911 call made by a six-year-old girl. Warning: this video is filled with emotions. If you are a victim of domestic abuse, you may want to skip this one. But honestly, we don’t really realize the effect domestic abuse has on our children who witness it.
While I was listening to the fear in the little girl’s voice, it brought back memories of when I was witnessing my then stepdad hit my mother as if she was not even human. The anger in his eyes, the smell of whiskey on his breath… triggers I deal with daily. And I have to constantly remind myself that I am no longer in that situation; my family is no longer in that situation; we have been removed and are on our healing journey. We are safe. We are safe. I have to constantly repeat to myself, especially after the nightmares… WE ARE SAFE!
The effects of domestic abuse to children who witness it can be long-lasting. A previous post talked about how we, as the children, can even pick up some of those abusive habits (Day 9). Even though there was physical violence in my childhood home, there was also verbal abuse. Being called a bitch as a young teenager, or being told that I’m not shit, or being told that my real daddy don’t want anything to do with me, or being called stupid or dumb…. words that hurt to the core of my soul! And words that I began to believe. If you hear it so often, you begin to believe it’s true. And you begin to take on that behavior.
1. Adversity faced in childhood is very different from adversity faced as an adult because of a child’s underdeveloped brain and nervous system.
**No matter what you may think, kids cannot handle the same things adults can!
2. Children with CDV, once they reach adulthood, are six times more likely to commit suicide, 50% more likely to be addicted to drugs and alcohol and 74 times more likely to commit a violent crime.
**I spent a lot of time in therapy unlearning what was learned from violent people growing up! When I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, I was ready to break the abuse cycle.
3. Experiencing CDV in childhood means you learned a lie—that anger is a good way to teach others a lesson so they’ll do what we want them to do.
**You are a product of your environment, until you change your environment. If you can’t change the people around you, change the people around you.
4. Those who experience suffering in childhood truly know what suffering feels like.
**My friends come to me when they are experiencing hardship because they know that I understand what pain feels like. If I don’t know anything else, I know pain. And most importantly, I’ve learned to navigate my way through it.
5. No obstacle you will face as an adult can compare to what you faced in childhood and have already overcome.
**Once I realized how strong I was, nothing seemed too much for me or impossible. My motto is “my past does not define me, it refines me.”
One thing I’ve shared from the stage before, and every chance I get to share, is that we spend a lot of our adulthood trying to get over the sh*t that happened to us in our childhood! I hope something was shared in this post to help parents understand how their actions affect their children. It’s not all about you. It’s not just about you. It’s not just happening to you. Even if you convinced yourself that you are protecting your children from the physical abuse, consider the emotional, psychological, and verbal abuse they also suffer as a result of witnessing the abuse!
If you have experienced childhood domestic abuse, here are two articles that I want to share with you: One Truth to Know and Open Letter to Young People Growing Up With Domestic Violence
If you, or someone you know, are a victim of domestic abuse, please reach out for help! Call the confidential and anonymous National Domestic Violence Hotline, available 24/7, at 1-800-799-7233; or visit www.thehotline.org/help/.
Love you to life,
Founder of Matters of My Heart, LLC
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“My past does not define me, it refines me.”