Basic needs — like the need to feel important, to feel safe, and to feel loved — are usually not met for a child growing up in a home with domestic violence. If you grew up in a home with domestic violence you probably felt the pain.
At the most vulnerable time in your life, you witnessed someone you love hurting you and a family member over and over again — powerless to stop it. You eventually come to the realization that the abuser won’t stop. The abuser continues hurting you and your family — repeatedly.
Growing Up With Domestic Violence
Most adults who faced danger and misfortune in childhood cannot overcome their past by simply choosing to “get over it.” For most people, it often takes more than that.
Here are three important beliefs to help you know a little more and become proud of yourself:
- No Difficulty Can Compare — You suffered the painful, haunting, and fearful reality of violence in your home at a time in your life when you were most vulnerable. Even though you didn’t ask for the misery, you paid the price early in your life. But, now you can reward yourself in knowing that no obstacle you will face in adulthood can compare to what you’ve already conquered.
- You’re Accomplished — People who grow up living with domestic violence are six times more likely to commit suicide. Because you’re reading this — you are accomplished. And people who grew up living with domestic violence are 50 times more likely to suffer from addiction. If you’re not addicted to alcohol or drugs beyond repair, you can consider yourself accomplished. Ninety percent of prisoners in correctional systems today were once children of domestic violence. So, if you’re not in jail — becoming one of these statistics — you are accomplished.
- You Overcame Obstacles — In the U.S., four children die every day because of abuse. As a child, you survived difficulties that most people will never have to face. Daily, you overcame obstacles that most people can’t even imagine or comprehend. Nevertheless, here you are today. You’re alive. By living through what you did and coming out of it, consider yourself remarkably accomplished.
Statistics and Resources
Domestic violence is more prevalent than most people realize. The reasons why people stay in unhealthy relationships are varied. They may stay for financial security, because they love their partner or spouse, to give children a two-parent household, or for reasons they may not even be able to explain.
The statistics related to domestic violence are shocking. For example, in the U.S., an estimated 3.3 million children witness violence against their mother or female caretaker by a family member every year. Between 40 to 60 percent of men who abuse women, also abuse children. Dreadfully, 40 to 70 percent of female murder victims in the U.S. — killed by their husbands or boyfriends — were often within an ongoing abusive relationship.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides additional resources and information on domestic violence. For anyone experiencing domestic violence, the National Domestic Violence Hotline provides lifesaving tools and immediate support to allow victims to find safety and live lives free of abuse.
Operating around the clock, seven days a week — confidential and free of cost — callers to The Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) can expect highly trained, experienced advocates to offer compassionate support, crisis intervention information, and referral services in over 170 languages.
Recovering From an Abusive Relationship
If you’re recovering from domestic violence, or if you’re working on trying to leave an abusive partner, during this period of change you may be healing emotionally and trying to rebuild your self-esteem. Unfortunately, it’s not easy.
By understanding what lies ahead and by developing a course of action, you can help yourself grow and prosper. Try to determine what you want from life. Perhaps you want a successful career — doing work that more than satisfies you. Or you may want to help your children thrive in their talents and academics.
On the other hand, maybe what you want out of life is something else altogether. Whichever area of life you choose; you can accomplish what you want by creating the right conditions to make it happen.
Thanks for the article, George. Very helpful. As a child, I was a ‘target,’ so I completely ‘get it.’ Thank you again!
Thank you Barbara. I regret that you were a ‘target’ during your childhood. I sincerely hope you’re doing well now.