Marital abuse isn’t just physical. I grew up with a father who attacked my mother physically, but never left scars, never broke bones, never put bruises in places others would see. Now I realise that the abuse wasn’t just physical, it was psychological. My mother wasn’t allowed to work, she had no girlfriends. Every evening before my father came home the house had to be vacuumed and she had to be wearing lipstick for him. We never knew what kind of mood he would be in, but I could tell when he was home with no external signs – I didn’t have to hear his voice, see him, smell his cigar smoke or see his car in the drive. I could just feel he was there.

My mum knew she was being abused but stayed to give us a stable family home. She feared if she left and took us with her, he would follow and “throw a brick through the window”. She only had the means to escape when I was 18 and she inherited some money. When she left, she went into hiding. My brothers didn’t know where she was but I did and was able to contact her through a friend my father didn’t know she had. 6 months after she left, I found my father dead on his bedroom floor from an overdose. I believe he was like he was because he felt insecure from issues in his childhood, which explains a bit but in no way excuses his behaviour. I was never close to my dad, we were all scared of him and his temper. To this day my youngest brother refuses to learn to drive because he is scared he will drive my like dad did. When he died I felt relief. We could live normally and not in fear of doing something wrong. Unless you have been in this kind of situation it is very hard to imagine what it is like.

Querencia

“He always apologized, and sometimes he would even cry because of the bruises he’d made on her arms or legs or her back. He would say that he hated what he’d done, but in the next breath tell her she’d deserved it. That if she’d been more careful, it wouldn’t have happened. That if she’d been paying attention or hadn’t been so stupid, he wouldn’t have lost his temper.” 

– Nicholas Sparks (Safe Heaven)

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This post in inspired by an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, where a little girl shoots her father multiple times to save her mother from being physically assaulted and how a particular doctor at the hospital gave the mother courage to leave her husband and get out of the marriage, to save the little girl from further trauma.

This is something which happens on a daily basis in families across the world and more so in…

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