Tuesday, 18 June 2013

A child witness speaks out about the impact of living with DV

I'm immensely touched by the bravery and honesty of my daughter who has written for me about the ongoing effect of witnessing Domestic Abuse has had on her and her siblings.

People don’t seem to realize that domestic abuse effects the children who have grew up watching it. But as a child who witnessed it myself, I am writing to show it has a big effect on us. 

When I was younger and saw the way my mum behaved towards my dad I would just often go quiet. I don’t know if it was because I didn’t know what to say in fear of what my mum would say or do, or whether it was to try and keep some sort of peace in the house. But whichever reason it was for I know it just kept me out of arguments. 

However being quiet about it and bottling things up didn’t help me. 

When I was 14 I struggled more than ever. By this time my dad wasn’t living with us, and for this reason most people would assume things got better, but they didn’t. I felt like I couldn’t cope with the things I had seen, but also because I felt like I was on my own with a mum who didn’t seem mentally well. On top of struggling with her being ill, my younger brother also seemed just as ill as her. 

I remember one day in which my younger brother became so angry, when it was just me, mum and my brother living together, he became angry to the point where I was trapped into a corner because he was hitting and kicking me and I couldn’t move. This wasn’t the only time he would hit me or be violent towards me. However I didn’t blame him because I knew he didn’t understand it and only did it because he has grown up with it being the ‘normal’. 

So as I have said, I struggled and didn’t know how to cope. This resulted into me becoming very unstable and eventually, very suicidal. I began to self harm almost every night, not for attention as people think you do it for, but because I really thought my life couldn’t get better, and this would be the only way out. On top of this I began to have stomach cramps, this resulted in me having three weeks of school because most days I didn’t want to or feel the need to get up. I was given pills to help my stomach cramps which resulted in me taking the whole packet one night, as well as taking different paracetamol with them.

 I also remember wrapping a wire around my neck one night before I slept in hope that one morning I just wouldn’t wake up. Eventually I told my friend what I was doing and she soon told school. I don’t blame her for telling school because it was certainly the best and only thing to do. I ended up having to see the nurse once a week where she told me I was suffering from stress, anxiety and depression. With the help of my friend, the school and finding God through it, I soon got better.

Two years on I can say I no longer hurt myself like I did. However that doesn’t mean I am not still hurting deep down. The only reason I am hurting now is because I don’t have great childhood memories where as it seems everyone else has. But I’m coping so well now because I know I can’t change anything. I also know that without this happening I wouldn’t be as strong as I am now. 

So surprisingly I’m glad all this happened and I’m grateful for having such good people around me who were, and still are willing to help me. However just because I’m now coping so well doesn’t mean my brother isn’t. Which is why my mum needs to admit things and eventually help herself and my brother. Because right now the biggest effect of the whole situation is the one it has had on him.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us all. When we have spent so much of our life guarding secrets, thoughts and feelings; particularly those which are so closely connected to difficult emotions and make us fear exposure and vulnerability; it takes incredible strength to voice our experiences, as you have.

    Best wishes as always