As far as anyone knows we are a nice, normal family ( that's me on the end)
(2) Don't make eye contact
(3) Be a good girl
(4) Beatings happen at school too so it must be normal
(5) How to read body language so you can gauge the mood of everyone in a room
(6) How to read the vibration in the home so you know whether to venture out of your room
(7) Be quiet
(8) Make yourself small
(9) The house feels different when dad is not around
(10) Anger is not ok
Things I learned in in my teens:
(1) Leave home as soon as you can ( my brother left when I was 13 and he never had much to do with the rest of us after that)
(2) Leaving can be dangerous (when my eldest sister tried to leave home Dad broke her boyfriends nose - she left anyway)
(3) Even if the guy looks and seems nothing like you father, he might be exactly the same
(4) Emotional and psychological abuse leave no physical marks
(5) Being called a "whore"by your father never really leaves you
(6) Marrying a guy covered in tattoos, wears leathers and chains probably not the smartest decision you'll ever make.
Things I learned in my twenties:
First child before I was 21
(1)Moving away from home is still not far enough
(2) Moving to be near his family not a great idea
(3) Isolation means you have no escape
(4) Being called a "bitch"often enough bounces off you after awhile
(5) Just because he married you doesn't mean he will stand up for you against (a) his family or (b) his friends. You really are on your own
(6) When you finally leave him your father will say "I never liked him anyway" and "All (insert husbands surname here) are bastards anyway" in front of your children who bear that name and when you point this out replies "Well we'll just have to see how they turn out"
(7) You are stronger than you realise
(8) You are more like your father than you realise
(9) Apologising to your kids when you yell to loud or (still makes me cringe) when you hit them (only once but still makes me feel ill) means you are actually better and more loving than your father ever was
Things I learned in my thirties:
(1) even after you leave he will make you feel small and useless as a mother
Me with my three sons
(2) All the justifications that you have made for the violence when you were young are not true - it wasn't just until I was8, it affected all of us and lots of fathers work hard but aren't violent
(3) All the anger you have stored inside you will start to leak out and your kids will say you are an angry person
(4) Your kids will also know how much that they are loved because you will tell them daily and hug them too
(5) You can find love again , with a great man
Things I learned in my forties:
(1) Healing takes time
(2) Embracing your shadow, realising that you are angry too takes all the power away from it
(3) Letting go of anger and resentment and forgiving yourself is a lifetime of work and is totally worth it
(4) Facing up to your family and letting them know how the violence affected you will mean that you lose your family of birth because they are still totally immersed in denial. Getting ok with that will take time.
(5) Finding your soul family will be the most healing of all
(6) Loving yourself is vital
My wedding, with all of our kids (one missing)
(7) Blending a family together takes time but is worth it.
(8) Seeing your kids grow into awesome men and beautiful women means the cycle can be broken and that LOVE wins
Things I know:
(1) - (10) Violence is never ok.
If you are experiencing violence in your home please take action. Talk to someone, anyone because it is more common than you realise and people will help you if you let them. There is no shame involved, it happens in all walks of life and it can be life threatening. Nobody deserves it, no matter what the perpetrator says.