Early hours of one morning, I heard my mom get up from bed, walked down the passage to stand in the living room at the window facing the street. I heard a car pull up; ran back to my bed quietly; being pretty sure it was my dad. My mom starts sobbing, runs to the bathroom and locks the door before my dad enters the house. He was in his drunken state again. He notices the bathroom light is on.
He shouts for my mom as he hears her sobbing her heart out. He asks her to open the door, I hear her screaming “NO”. He calls out to her again and my mom sob’s louder. I hear the medicine cabinet open, my dad starts panicking. I hear the banging sound over and over and over again. It suddenly hits me; he is trying to kick down the door to prevent my mom from committing suicide.
I was so scared; scared of him so I remain curled up in my bed, my heart racing like a million horses galloping. At one stage I thought my heart was going to protrude from my chest.
Some memories I have involuntary blocked out hence me not remembering what happened after my dad got my mom out of that bathroom or the days after.
Little did I know how this “almost” fateful night impacted who and what I became later in my life?
I wish I knew the woman who came to drop my dad that night. I wish she reads this blog post and understands what my mom went through that night.
I don’t think my mom or dad knew that I know what happened. The thing that hurts me, is that not once have they spoken to us to set us at ease as we will still children, but in that day and age, parents just never felt that they should explain anything to their kids, no matter the negative impact, the emotional and mental trauma.
I still live with that demon today and it almost always pops in my head, that memory. The emotional and mental trauma I live with every day because of many nights like that.
That memory has formed part of why my relationship with my kids is open, truthful and honest, it’s because I never had that as a child, but also why my marriage is strained in the communication area at times, because of my lack of conflict resolution and confrontation. Reliving these moments during my childhood and most of my adult life, getting into relationships that were never good for me, but the naivety of me wanting someone there with me, trumped me finding someone that wanted me.
My dad was a very good father, provider and teacher, but he was a terrible husband. He was a womanizer, cheat and emotionally not a supportive partner. I still loved him either way; however the exposure to this opened a can of worms as I chose abusive and womanizing partners because to me it was normal.
This will be revealed in another blog post as we journey through the events of my life.
If your child witnesses any kind of traumatizing event in your relationships, sit them down, make them feel safe, make them understand that conflict happens. Teach them how to deal with it. Do not pretend that there is no conflict in the world, that everything is just sunshine and roses. However, do not make your child perceive emotional, mental or physical abuse as normal. Sometimes we protect our kids against things that are normal and also exploit them to things that are abnormal and expect them to deal with it, yet we create the damaged adult they turn out to become.
This might cause them to end up in abusive relationships, seeking that protective father or mother figure in a partner not realizing their concept of normal is actually abnormal and pretty much naïve, believing anything someone says to them thinking that it’s their safe haven. On the flip side, they might end up being the abuser. How do you live with that knowing that you could have tried harder to prevent it?
Keep in mind that we are not raising our children for ourselves; we are raising our children for the world, for a man or woman who is going to have to live with our mistakes or our damaged children.
Children are very perceptive and adopt mannerisms and attributes very easily, good or bad. Be careful what you expose your children to and if you believe in your heart that the environment they are living in is unhealthy then get out, if not you then them. After all, we decided to become parents and should provide a safe and nurturing environment for them, allowing them to grow up confident and to their full potential.