What it’s like growing up in a violent home and why I call bullshit on staying “for the kids”

What it's like growing up in a violent home and why I call bullshit on staying %22for the kids%22 | Tyranny of Pin

I’ve avoided talking about this topic for the longest time but the niggling feeling that I need to won’t go away. I guess it’s a tough one to address when it’s so personal but I’m hoping that sharing my story can help others.

During my perfect childhood, I was surrounded by not so perfect abuse. There was so much of it in my family. You see, when you come from a country dominated by patriarchy, men seem to believe that they own the rights to everything, including the women in their lives. If you don’t fall in line with their expectations, then you pay the price.

While I myself was never even really given hidings as a child, I watched fights go violent in my family day in and day out. I watched ugly things happen. There was abuse, both physical and emotional all around me. I watched it and I knew, this was never going to be the way I live my life. I was never going to let this cycle continue.

I love the male figures in my family with all my heart but I am disgusted that this is who they could be. That rage would show itself and things would turn so ugly.

My earliest childhood memory, age 3, is of abuse and violence.

Also read: A child of divorce

I don’t talk about it very often but I’m scarred and damaged by the things I was exposed to. I suffer from severe anxiety and depression. I spent my life being told I have a short temper and so now I do everything in my power to not be that person. I don’t want to be like them so I make sure that I’m not. It’s a choice!

I see a lot of women saying they don’t want to leave their abusive husbands “for the sake of the kids” and I call bullshit. I say, you don’t leave because you’re afraid to leave. I say – don’t stay for the sake of the kids and don’t claim that’s the reason because that’s a fucking terrible reason. Do you think your children want to watch you be abused? Do you think your children want to pick sides? Do you think your children WANT to see the violence? Or have nightmares? Or grow up wondering what the fuck a normal childhood would be like? No! They don’t. I can attest to that! I know it’s hard but you can walk away!

No woman or man should have to live in an abusive situation. There are no excuses.

You do not own another person or their body.

You do not have the right to abuse and hurt another person.

You don’t have to stay and be abused.

You definitely don’t need to stay for your children. I can promise you, they’d be better off without it.

Violent homes have the same effect on brains of children as combat does on soldiers! 

I know it can be hard but if you’re in a situation where you are being abused, LEAVE! It doesn’t change. It doesn’t get better. It just gets ugly. Yes, some people change but do you really want to stick around to find out that most don’t? Do you really think it’s worth it?

The thing about abusers, is that they make you feel like it’s your fault. Like as if you deserve it. You don’t! No one does. Don’t let them tell you that you caused it, or that you are the reason it is happening. This kind of thing is no one’s fault but the abuser. Don’t let them make you believe it’s your fault.

I swore I would never tolerate it in my own relationships and I haven’t. I had one relationship which had symptoms of going that direction and because I could recognise the behaviour, I got the hell out of there. I am worth so much more than being a punching bag. I will never ever stand for it. I will raise my child to understand why it is so wrong and I will share my experiences with anyone who needs to hear the truth. It’s not you. It’s them! Don’t let them tell you otherwise.

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Get help! 




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28 Discussion to this post

  1. Shiral says:

    Your honesty and openness is a healing platform.. thank you Jonelle

  2. No one deserves abusive relationships. I pray that we all set the intention to create deeply kind, inspired and respectful relationships that offer safety and goodness.

    • I agree fully! No one does deserve to be abuse! I just hope that anyone who is stuck in that path and feels like they can’t change direction, gets the strength to leave! It’s so hard.

  3. Casey says:

    I love that your Mom commented above 🙂 Sorry you had to experience this in your life, but I agree…don’t let your child think this is the norm and that it is acceptable!

  4. Powerful words. Thank you so much for sharing this as it’s not easy to talk about. I think it’s great that you say “it’s a choice” to not repeat the pattern.

  5. Chevone says:

    This post really resonates with me. I have this one memory of me as a young child, waking up and reading a letter from my father, and my understanding of the words were that he intended to leave us. The rest is a blank. At the time I drank a lot and my parents often argued, much of my childhood is a blank. But I do remember crying and asking him not to leave, that’s as much of that moment that I remember. It’s a weird memory to have and I may even have it all wrong, but I’m sharing this because I understand how powerful childhood experiences are that even when we don’t remember the detail, we remember the emotion as if it happened now.

    Thank you for sharing this story of yours, it could not have been easy. Thank you for opening up your world to us. Xoxo

    • Thanks for sharing this deeply emotional story! I think blocking out the past is a coping mechanism too and sometimes we look back and wonder if things really went the way that they did in our memories. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just forget the sad memories and replace them all with happy outcomes. I suppose though, then the lesson would be lost! xoxo

  6. Cassey Toi says:

    This, so this a thousand times. I’m also someone who had to grow-up with this…and to this day I feel that I failed for not protecting my siblings from hearing the slaps and crying. For not calling someone, anyone to make it stop. It did stop, but man the pain and hours in therapy I’m spending on dealing with it. *sigh* And now I’m inspired to write my own post on this. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Cassey! I hope you do write that post! I hope you share it for the world to see because the more of us that speak up, the more women will stop staying for “our” sake! I too have lived my life in therapy dealing with issues from my childhood but I’ve decided that enough is enough. They don’t control me, I control them and I’m done! Thanks for reading and for your comment. I completely understand that you feel so much guilt but please let that go – it was never your job to fix anything. It was never your job to stop anything! We are not the ones to blame here! xoxoxo

  7. Kirsten says:

    I’ve been reading your posts for a while and the last few have really resonated with me, but no more so than this one. I appreciate you sharing something that I know is difficult to share. Hugs!

    • Hi Kirsten, thanks for your comment! I must admit that it saddens me when people can relate to situations like this but then I remember that one of the reasons I blog, is so that others feels less alone in what they are going through. The world is hard enough without us thinking we’re alone. Thank you for reading and for taking the time to let me know that I too, am not alone! xoxo

  8. This blog its brilliant because it deals with reality. No one comes out of childhood unscathed but you can make the choice to do better and be better. Great post. I think a traumatic childhood leads to insight, wisdom and a will to survive. At least thats what I got out of mine!

  9. Totally agree with you! It’s difficult to leave, but the only one who can help you, is yourself. By deciding to not tolerate it and leave! I am so glad I did! My daughter first blamed me (she was 6 and being manipulated), but from age 15 she also severed the ties with her dad.

    • Hi Karen, thanks for sharing your experience. As children we don’t get it but as parents, it’s so important to get out and show our children that this kind of behaviour isn’t okay. I’m so thankful that my mother left but obviously as a child, I resented her. I’m glad you had the courage to leave! xoxo

  10. Karin says:

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  11. Bonnie says:

    Well said! It rarely gets better and in my/our experience it just got worse and worse. Never stay for the kids sake. It just does damage and no good. Well done for speaking out about it and for never accepting it. So many get trapped in the cycle but you’ve broken out. Very proud of you. Love you xoxo

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