COLLABORATION WITH A PURPOSE – 12 Bloggers 1 Goal – Strength
In a small suburbia city, attending a predominantly white race school, I thought I was a bit privileged growing up. We owned a house, a microwave, several nice cars, and even dogs. I can’t remember ever wanting anything that my parents were unable to provide.
An African American family of four. A father and a mother who were both present in the home. A mother who was classy, smart, and beautiful. A father who was smart and a well-known business owner in the community. One of the first black families to purchase a home in our city. One of the first to own a local business.
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Sounds almost like a “Cosby Show” fairy-tale in the 70’s because things were still difficult for blacks? However, we did what most families did back in my day — We hid what was really going on behind closed doors.
Most families followed the secrecy rule “what happens in our family, stays in our family.”
My memory of our tumultuous life started when I was about 7 years old. I can clearly recall a multitude of physical abuse that my mom encountered throughout my childhood. Oddly enough, my sister and I only received a few whoopings, which we called beatings, but never abuse. The physical abuse only happened to our mom.
There was constant arguing, disagreements, infidelity, alcohol, drug abuse, and eventually jail time — for my father.
I was a witness to total and complete chaos growing up, but somehow I made it out sane and with an unexplainable strength. If there ever were a label to put on us, it would be functional dysfunction.
I always remember saying “my daddy can do anything ” I was proud of my daddy. I thought I had the best daddy in the world.
My mom never spoke bad of our father when we were younger. She always told us, “that is your daddy and he can do anything.” Our daddy loved and cherished me and my sister. I honestly believed he loved my mom as well, but he showed it in a very weird way.
Many days and nights my sister and I locked ourselves in our bedroom closets as we heard constant fighting, slapping, running, falling, and the unrelentless beating of our mom by our father. We heard our mom pleading while trying to escape out the front door, but our father kept pulling her back in and slamming the door. He would beat her from one end of our house to the next. She would cry for help, beg him to stop, but he wouldn’t stop until he was done.
My sister and I would run to our closet, shut the door and cover our ears while we held each other and cried hysterically.
Sometimes we mustered up enough courage to briefly uncover our ears and rise from the closet to try and help our mom because she was yelling & pleading for us to help her.
Our father would yell and tell us to go back to our rooms or he would beat us too. Of course, we ran back to our rooms hoping it would stop.
How much more could our mom take? Why was this happening all the time? It was just horrible. My father would continue beating our mom until she was non responsive, until she laid on the floor lifeless, bleeding, broken, and bruised.
After each beating, it was normal for my father to get dressed and leave our house and go to his club (his work).
He would leave us to come out of the closet to find our mom on the floor — bloodied, beat, and bruised. What kind of animal would do that?
Eventually, my mom would wake up from the floor and she would get up and take care of herself. I blocked a lot of the aftermath details out of my mind. I do remember my mom filing a police report a few times, but she always dropped the case when my dad apologized and promised to never do it again. He never kept his promise. He continued to beat my mom time after time after time.
The beatings didn’t continue when I was in Middle School and High School. I remember my mom beginning to study spiritual strength and then she started to fight back. I think my dad got scared so he eventually stopped beating and he got beat.
Divorce was a Taboo
At the time I was growing up, divorce was a taboo. Family dysfunction was a family secret that no one ever talked about. What happened in the home stayed in the home. This was our family secret. I’m sure our neighbors knew, but no one intervened. Everyone minded their own business. After all, our neighbors husband beat his wife too.
My mom was a god-send. I’m sure she stayed with my father because she knew we needed a father and he was a good provider–just a horrible husband who obviously had major issues.
To this day, if anyone asked my father about these incidents he would tell you they never happened. I think he blocked it out of his mind as well. He would also tell you he never spanked us when growing up and that’s not true.
Why would I make this up? What would I have to gain by telling lies?
Growing up, I always said I would not have a marriage like my parents. I would not put my children through the hell I had to endure. My mom never deserved those beatings. My sister and I didn’t deserve to witness our mom being treated like a savage — less than humane. I just wish our mom would have left my father the first time he laid hands on her.
I can remember my father laughing and telling me stories about how his dad used to beat his mom. One story my dad told us was that his father (my grandfather) tied his wife (my grandma) to the back of a car and drove down a dirt road dragging her down the road. Who does that? That was normal to my father.
My case is not of the ordinary. Most people who witnessed these things usually follow suit. Life can either go two ways.
- Do as you have always seen
- Do something totally opposite
I’ve seen so many people continue the behavior they saw in their childhood.
So, why did I choose to never live my life like my parents? How did I come out of seeing abuse, but not continuing the cycle? What made me different?
How many stories about alcoholics, abusers, molesters, etc have we seen that repeats history? Lots
The norm would be that the pattern would continue and history would repeat itself.
I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am strong. I have a supernatural strength that is only provided by God. I could have been a product of my environment, but I made a conscience effort to rise above my past and make sure my children never had to experience the helpless hurt I felt as a child. You must find your inner strength. You have it, trust me. If I had it that long then anyone can dig down inside and find it. So, use it today.
My mom has since passed on from this life at age 57, she continued helping my father out until her dying day. My father is still alive and doing well. He is still in our lives. I have forgiven him and I love him very much. I didn’t forgive him because he apologized, which he did not. I forgave him for me. It was simply between me and God. No mediator –No go between. It was a personal spiritual choice.
Unfortunately, our father was a product of his environment and he simply did what he saw growing up. His behavior was learned and it was his normal.
I chose to show strength by doing the exact opposite of what I saw.
I’ve never shared this story before, but I felt, in my heart. Someone needed to hear this today. Someone needs to know they are not alone. Strength comes from many places. Find your peace and strength in my story.
Don’t let history repeat itself in your house. Stand up and be encouraged. — Fight the good fight of the faith. 1 Timothy 6:12
Thank you for allowing me to share my story for the first time, it was difficult to finally tell as story. My husband of 20+ years (30+ yrs all together) never knew. We were high school sweethearts met at age 14). I hope and pray my story gives you strength to fight and win any battle you encounter.
This blog post was part of a collaborations with 12 other bloggers on strength. Please visit their blogs listed below and find out what strength means to them. Everyone has a story to tell, a testimony to share. I would love to hear what you thought of my story. Please feel free to comment below and SHARE with your friends and family – TWEET THIS
- Addison D’Marko
- Ajibola Sunday @ Inspirational Motivation
- Barb Caffrey @ Brab Caffrey’s Blog
- Camilla Motte @ Moms on the Go
- Ipuna Black
- Jothish Joseph @ TheJothishJosephBlog
- Jane Love @ Harmonious Joy
- Manal a.k.a. iamthatgirl @ Sensible Nonsense
- Mylene C. Orillo
- Nicolle K @ Stories of a Highly Sensitive Introvert
- Sonyo Estavillo @ ‘Lil Pick Me Up
- Tajwar Fatma @ LifeAsWeHaveNeverKnownIt