Personal Account of Witnessing Domestic Abuse

One of the worst life experience that anyone can live through is being in an abusive relationship. It is toxic and destroys your soul and the essence of who you are as a person. Only the strong minded are able to do a self analysis of their situation and eventually make the decision that enough is enough and its time to walk out and move on.

As a young child I witness the abuse on a emotional level and on rare occasions the physical abuse that occurred between my parents. One incident that vividly comes to mind is having to witness on numerous occasions my father coming home usually after midnight from work, my mother serving him food, and then my father having an outburst saying “This food is terrible, this taste like a piece of garbage,” and then he would proceed to throw/slam the plates to the floor with the food making a mess and breaking the plates. I witness many times my mother crying while she quietly went to clean up his mess and pick up the broken dishes.

Another incident that comes to mind was when I was about 15years old- I remember hearing my father yelling at my mother, he was in her face, calling her a whore, telling her that she was a piece of garbage, I remember coming out of my room feeling so angry at my father that I confronted him-this was the first time that I dare talk back to him-he was taken aback for a few seconds and then my father slammed the crystal dining table and broke it into pieces saying to me “Who do you think you are?” You are a piece of S****, You are a piece of garbage, You are nothing,” I remember staring at my father directly and said to him “I dare you make one more threat against my mother-I will call the police” then I remember looking at my mother and then back at my father and saying to him “And don’t you dare think that my mother is going to pick up the pieces of crystals on the floor, you broke the table, you pick up the broken pieces, enough is enough.” I remember that this incident had occurred around noon and by night time my father had not picked up the pieces. I remember my mother making several attempts throughout the day to pick up the pieces, I kept stopping my mom and telling her no. By next morning, I remember waking up and witnessing my father picking up the pieces and then hearing him make an apology to my mother and then to me for his behavior-he was great at this-apologizing with such humility. I remember feeling like I just won a small victory against my father. This was the first time that I felt that I could stand up to my father hoping that I could make him change his abusive behavior- of course this was only wishful thinking.

By the time I was 16years old I confronted my mother and I asked her “Why are you so weak, why don’t you just walk out and leave him, why do you allow him to treat you this way?” I remember my mother just breaking out into tears and said “You don’t understand, I stay for you and your brothers, family need to stay together, I am committed to your father, he is a good man, he is a good provider, he just stresses out because he works long hours; We are Catholics, I married your father, we had a church wedding, I have committed myself to your father until death do us apart.” I came to realize quickly that I could not fight her battle for her, all I could hope for is that one day she would wake up before it was too late. I remember praying to God at night and asking him to please give my mother the strength to fight her own battle so that she and my brothers could be safe. At that time, I could not process my mother’s sentiments about insisting in staying in an abusive relationship, to me it was irrational and unforgivable.

When I was about 17 years old, I’d like to say that the universe or fate intervene to end this abusive cycle, my father was arrested for violating a parole. He had been arrested before due to carrying a weapon without having a permit, driving drunk with a minor (my brother was about 8 years old) and resisting arrest. As a result, my father was deported back to his country and he has been there for the past 25 years or so. Even after my father was deported it took my mother about 22 years later to finally divorced him. The final straw that led to this decision was finding out my father’s betrayal with another woman who had a child with him and his family’s betrayal for covering this situation for many years.

I am now 38 years old, I have 2 beautiful children, and have been married for 15 years to an extraordinary man. Having witness the abusive relationship between my parents I made a promise to myself that when the time came for me to marry I would choose wisely. I would choose a partner that would respect me and would never intentionally harm me or seek to make me inferior to him. I made a promise to myself that I would never allow or give power to anyone that could destroy my self esteem, that would seek to de-value me as a person. I kept that promise.

In retrospect, I was able to have this strong and personal insight at such a young age because of the experience that I witness through with my parents. Having witness this, made me become wiser and mature much sooner than the rest of the kids my age.

It is important to note, that I now see my mother in a different light. I have come to view her circumstances from a more non-judgmental stand. By this I mean the following: I have come to understand that my mother was not weak. I have come to understand that it takes an enormous level of humility, courage, and sacrifice to decide to stay in an abusive relationship for the sake of children, it takes a selfless person to decide to stay loyal and committed to someone who continuously breaks you down in all aspects-emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Above all, it takes a strong-minded person to decide to break away from an abusive situation and find the courage to walk away when as a human being you are feeling that you have no support economically, when you feel that walking away means going against your religious belief, when you feel at your lowest, when you feel inferior, when you feel that you are not worthwhile, and when you are just plain scare.

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