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This Is Her Story

This month is the beginning of my attempts at a more in depth blog. It felt appropriate to start here.... at domestic violence.

Fifteen years ago this month, a teen girl did one of the bravest, most courageous things she would ever do in her life--she dialed 911.

I've known this girl for as long as I can remember. She is one of my closest, dearest friends and I want to tell you her story.

For obvious reasons, I'm keeping her identity to myself.
I was a little surprised when I realized it was 15 years ago. Can it really be that long? It doesn't feel like that.
 It's all pretty much burned into my memory banks. I remember so clearly being angry. Tired and angry and ready to be done with all the stupid games we played in that house.

My mom warned me not to wake my dad and I just sort of snapped inside. What did I care if my dad woke up!? Why couldn't I just live my life without fear of how he would react. I was so MAD.

So I yelled and woke him up. I wanted the fight, I think, I wanted to dare him to hit me.

It worked... too well.
Far too well, but I wouldn't back down.

I imagine I was having a bit of a rush and I kept baiting him, making him angrier.
That doesn't at all condone for what he did, though, because he was my dad. Dad's shouldn't hit their kids like that. Dad's shouldn't grab their daughters by the hair and drag them up stairs or hit them so hard across the face that it leaves welts. 

So I finally ran up the stairs and called the police. I got the words "My dad's hitting me" out before he tore the phone out of the wall.

The last words he said to me before the police took him away were "Come see what you're doing to this family."
For years after that I struggled with rage. I mean real rage... not the namby pamby stuff people think is rage. Once when I was 16-ish I was really mad at my little sister, so I grabbed her and shoved her behind my bedroom door and slammed it over and over again.
Another time I took a hammer to my mom's windshield because she was trying to leave the house without me.
I got suspended from school for fighting.
I harrassed girls I hated in the halls.

I went where I wanted and did what I wanted.
I was completely and utterly out of control.
It was bad enough that I won't share some of it with anyone but my husband, but believe me when I say I was on a bad road and heading nowhere fast.
The anger was there, boiling under the surface like hot magma.
In college I had an incident where I completely lost it on one of my roommates and screamed at her from across the parking lot. Horrible things, evidently, but I don't remember any of it except her walking away from me.
That's when I started seeing a counselor and working on my anger.
Now I know a lot more about anger than I did then. I know it's addictive, like alcohol, and that that addiction never really goes away. I've learned that anger is a secondary emotion, which means it's a mask for something else... if you are angry you are also feeling something deeper like hurt or fear.
For me it's a daily battle. If the kids scream or yell or push my buttons I can literally feel myself creeping towards the point of no return. That's when I call my husband at work and say "I need you home, now."
It's easier than it used to be and I'm proud to say that the most I've ever done is smack my kid on the back of the head or on the rear. I've never, ever, ever dragged them by their hair or put welts on their face.
There was this one time that one of the kids did something... who knows what... and I smacked her, but the problem was that she was wet from a bath and so the smack hit a lot harder than it would have if she were dry. It left this imprint of my hand on my babies skin and I dropped to the ground in front of her and sobbed and begged her to forgive me. I doubt my little toddler understood what was going on, but it took me a long time to forgive MYSELF for that.
The last thing I want is for my them to have a repeat of my childhood. The only way I can change that is by changing myself day by day by day.
And that's what I'm trying to do.

So far, so good.

Did you know:

In homes where partner abuse occurs, children are 1,500 times more likely to be abused.

27% of domestic homicide victims are children.

90% of children killed during a domestic dispute are under the age of ten. 56% are under the age of two.

If you know of or suspect abuse you can help. Resources are available and you can start now by calling 


Polly Blevins said…
Whoever this person is, thumbs up to her. I can imagine that the cycel is hard to break but recognizing it is key to breaking it. Good Luck, generations thank you for it.
Lind Family said…
Wow, very intense but a very good read. It makes me want to be better and control my anger. Thank you for sharing.

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