Surviving Domestic Violence
Something a little more serious now, Domestic abuse and violence. It’s a horrible subject and one while i don’t shy away from i don’t bring up all that often..
Not a nice subject to bring up at anytime bit for some reason i feel compelled to bring it up now. So let’s start with a little background, 1978 I am 4 and my mum is married to someone in the RAF (my dad) Christmas Eve he decides this is the time to leggit, up we get Xmas morning and no dad…..nothing, Mum rings her parents who duly come over and we s kids have a nice day but you can see the scene here. fast forward a couple years and she meets XXXX , cook in the Army and mad as a box of frogs (not in a good way mind) he was unhinged from the very start. I recall my nan always saying something was not right with him and she was proven right. Within a few months my mum is off to Germany with us kids in tow and her new husband.
From the off, once out of site of nan and grandad things quickly got bad. Mum took beatings, myself and brother were also hit and more, I remember the first xmas in Germany my grandparents come over, a massive fight breaks out and XXXX kicks out my nan and grandad on xmas eve around 9pm… There was no where to go and i was faced with a stand off. I truly did not know what to do or say as a 7 year old. being asked questions about staying in the home or leaving or “do you love you dad etc…” you say what you feel you should out of fear. I often wonder if i said what i wanted would we have stayed and suffered years of this?
Xmas resolved itself that year some how. I remember i got a Buck Rogers starfighter toy and loved it… in fact i still have it. however the years progressed and the violence also progressed. One time i lived in Kent and as i recall i did something minor and he flipped again. stormed out to me as i was standing on the stairs and confronted me with such aggression and hatred. He demanded an answer to something and when it was not what he wanted i was slapped full force around the head, so hard my head bounced off the wall and left a mark in the wall and my head. Sore was not the word but i did not cry at this point… jesus did that ever hurt but I did not cry. Only when he dismissed me and I went up stairs and cried….I refused to let him see me cry for that. Another xmas i was bought a racer bike by nan and grandad, loved it, it was blue and silver and while a little big i just loved it. When nan and granddad went back home to Ireland he decided that as it was too big the bike was now his. I was no longer allowed to use it. My xmas present was taken away… I was destroyed I could not believe someone could be so mean… Forget the beating and abuse myself, brother and mum got but to take a child’s xmas present is low….. at least from a kid’s point of view, had that bike less than two week and it was gone. Never did get a roadbike after that to this day and so badly want one.
Many more times we went on like this, I remember mum asking me again after another hiding did I want to stay. Looking back i should have said no but again i said ” of course” or words to that effect. So we went on, Living in Bletchley the straw that broke the camel’s back was near,
Incident 1) Driving home after seeing his parents (who by the way are the kindest gentlest people you could ever meet) we were stuck in traffic, something happened in that he snapped as my mum was driving punched her three times in the face while she was behind the wheel, It was horrific, again witnessing this outburst of violence towards someone you are supposed to care and love. how she kept the car on the road i have no idea, But do it she did. After this i did something that while it caused my mum worry i do not regret, I was going to run away. I finished school one day and decided to not go home and instead go to my best friends house. We played computer games for ages and i remember his mum getting me something to eat that evening and and still stayed until the phone went with mum looking for me. I planned and leaving his house and not going home but making my way to Holyhead and Ireland, I lost the nerve and while on the bus on the way home I remember thinking if this is what married life is then keep it. I want no part of it and I do not want a relationship.
Incident 2) It was a sunday morning not long after the above road rage, sun was up it was the making of a nice day, Always the Saturday night TV was recorded for watching on Sunday and this was ready. He was outside fixing a door and not making good headway while mum was in the front room doing the weekly ironing. I was just in the front room and something flipped, the switch was gone and the red mist was again down. The back door was ripped from the hinges, you could heard the snapping of wood. and the thing hitting the ground and could hear his temper. As he burst into the front room he grabbed my mum by the hair from behind and started punching her in the face, she was completely defenseless. was unprepared for this and i could not take it anymore, after a few seconds I picked up an ornament and hit him on the head with it, he was stunned and stopped what he was doing to my mum and went for me and I told her to run and take my brother. I dodged him and we ran next door. This was it, she finally called the police and we went down to file a report and I found myself in a police station making a statement in a room on my own about what happened.
Surreal will not cover what was going on, here I was at 12/13 years of age in a police station reporting my stepdad for domestic abuse…. Dylan is the same age now and I look at him thinking how his life is oh so different to what mine was at his age. He is so innocent, and child like to what i was, how he should be. I was forced to endure and grow up before my time, to look after my mum and take the beatings and abuse he handed out.
I have left out huge chunks of stories and information, maybe i will write about them some day but for now I look back at my statement of not ever wanting to be married and thank the stars i met my loving wife. She is amazing and while she also did not have a great childhood together we vowed to give our kids the very best love and attention we can. We fall out from time to time, all families do but we never go to bed angry and we have never raised a hand to the kids or each other. why would we we are very much in love with each other and the boys… we as parents are here to protect the kids from everything so I cannot understand how someone could do such damage to me, my brother or mum. My mum is great, she is amazing and also wrecks my head… that’s ok as i love her to bits.
How am i now… damaged and i struggle at times with what happened, i sometimes want to prosecute himself for what he did, make him realize the damage he did. Sometimes I pay him no heed at all. But not a day passes when the abuse and beatings we took does not pop into my head. I cannot bear the sound of thumping around the house, it brings back so many bad memories of him coming after us, I turn off the TV when domestic abuse is portrayed – just cannot watch it. So yeah, thanks a lot for what you did to us and me……………
If I would wish anything is that going back in time and when she first asked me if we should leave her husband i say yes………. problem is every single decision, be it good or bad in retrospect leads me the the point in time I met my wife…. I would not change that for all the riches in the world
So the questions how did I survive……. In a way I did not, it still is present day to day, what i did do however is to never subject my kids and wife to the abuse I got. My wife is amazing, my kids are just as wonderful and amazing and I could not for a moment contemplate every subjecting them to this evil. How to cope going forward? I often think of a civil case against himself, or sue him for years of damages….. whats the point though? closure for me…. maybe one day
Thats it i guess, my little story… discuss if you like or post a comment, Thanks Darren
No matter if in Ireland or where ever if you suspect someone is being abused – before you get involved, ask yourself if it’s safe and legal to intervene. If the situation is already violent or looks like its escalating quickly, don’t directly intervene. Call the the police or Gardaí on 999 or use your local emergency services number .
The only effective bystander intervention is a non-violent one.
If you see or suspect domestic abuse, visit whatwouldyoudo.ie or call 999.