Domestic Violence is defined as a pattern of behavior used to establish power or control over another individual. When we hear the term Domestic Violence we often think first of physical abuse in a romantic relationship. However there’s a key piece to these behavior patterns that frequently goes overlooked; financial abuse.
Financial abuse can be a side effect of physical abuse, such as a partner breaking your phone during a fit of rage, which not only prevents you from calling for help in the moment, but also adds the burden of purchasing a replacement phone to your list of financial obligations.
Financial abuse can also be paired with psychological abuse. Take the relationship between pimp & prostitute for instance, pimps establish a power over prostitutes by making them believe that without the protection of the pimp a prostitute is worse off. Pimps also demand the financial earnings of a prostitute, by establishing control over the income, they prevent the prostitute from developing enough savings to escape the boundaries of the pimps control.
My mother must have something magical at that midpoint that serves as the meeting place where the lines of her thighs meet, because all three of my “Daddy’s” have had some stalk-ish moments when it comes to her. Unfortunately, she seems to have a broken CRAY-Dar. Or maybe it’s the magic in her regal region that makes them this way.
Now that we know what a CRAY-DAR is, let me give you some history. It’s been rumored that even in infancy I was able to “See Red” in people and advise my mother not to date them. I’m guessing my CRAY-DAR kicked in early.
Buddha used to write me letters (some before I could read) of how things would be different when he came “Out on vacation”. Sold dreams of this family he and I would be with my mother. Needless to say I was thoroughly confused as to why he thought we could be a “family” when things were just fine with me, my mother and Step Dad #1. Buddha was CRAZY.
Step Dad #1 & my mom have tried their hand at reuniting on multiple occasions. He’s probably the least possessively aggressive when it came to her, but he still has illusions of a “perfect relationship” between them, where it’s ok for him to see other people, yet it’s painful to see her with anyone else.
My CRAY-DAR was definitely strongest with my sister’s father. He knew things only possible to have know if he had been listening to conversations she had in his assumed absence or following her to destinations throughout the day. To this day I have most of my phone conversations in the car for fear of my apartment being bugged due to things I’ve witnessed. Throughout their decade + long relationship, he’s shown up unannounced at work functions & assaulted coworkers, called the police & pressed charges on her in the middle of the night when she had a house full of children, used the SUPER BASS in his voice as a weapon against her family and guests, drove through the neighborhood monitoring who is entering and exiting the home, and constantly plead that he wants his “family” back while continuing to live in a façade where their relationship has yet to end.
When she met him, he had siblings & nieces & nephews, friends, a god-son, co-workers, band-mates that he wrote songs with.
Domestic Violence is defined as a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence.
Assault is defined as an intentional attempt or threat to inflict injury that places another person in fear of imminent bodily harm.
I’m a CONTROL freak. I chose to live alone because I wanted to be in control of when I do and do not wish to have company.
On Dealing With Daddy Issues this week I posted about “Super Bass” & my sister’s father being a loud presence in my life. When I was 14 we had our one and only physical altercation. And although no one seems to agree on the details it definitely changed things and how we interacted with and around one another.
I didn’t like his tone of voice most of the time, but I knew after that night if I was going against him, I was going alone. There were many great memories after after that night, but I definitely became more aware of myself and my power and occasional lack thereof.
Earlier this year, my mother told me I was the reason her relationship with my sister’s father didn’t work out. Those are probably the most hurtful words she ever sent in my direction. I’m an adult now and maybe I shouldn’t be so sensitive to the past, but I am.
They weren’t painful because I see myself as a perfect child or because I think he’s a monster. They were painful because they absolve him from any responsibility for his actions.
It took some time but I’ve grown to love my sister’s father, I’m still cautious of him, but I don’t despise him how I did in childhood.
A few months ago my sister asked me why I didn’t like her dad. I told her because he’s loud. That may seem foolish to some people, but she understood exactly what I meant. Before my mother dated my sister’s father I wasn’t accustomed to folks, men specifically, being loud with me. My grandfather doesn’t yell, my mother’s brother who pretty much raised me doesn’t believe in yelling at children, and Step Dad #1 wasn’t one much for yelling either.
My sister’s father on the other hand couldn’t whisper if it cured cancer. He has a beautiful singing voice, and enough bass to stop a toddler’s terrible twos before they even have a second birthday! He shouted for EVERYTHING. And for a child who was, until his entry, treated as an autonomous thinking human I often found his approach demeaning.
I didn’t need to be shouted at from across the room to change the channel, or do the dishes, just ask me. What troubled me most was my mother’s silence during those times. I began to feel abandoned, like she was taking his side & she was ok with his audible battery.
As I grew older I became numb to his shouting at me, but I became protective of my sister. I didn’t like the tone he took with my mother and became concerned that she rarely stood up for herself. After all it was HER house. She later told me that she didn’t “check” him in public because she didn’t want to give him an audience. She never realized that audiences tune-in even if it is a one man show.
Some men’s insecurities are loud. Loud enough to make them show up at work functions & assault your coworkers. Loud enough to dim your children’s respect for you. Loud enough for you to overlook a grown man’s infantile behavior & blame the relationship’s failure on your child.
Senseless Fashion Statements
My love for sunglasses probably started from playing in my mothers belongings as a child. She used to keep a basket full of sunglasses on her dresser. They were pretty cool, some even had multi-colored lenses, it was the 90s and my mom was kind of poppin.
As I got older, I developed a fetish with sunglasses as a protective accessory to keep things from blowing in my sensitive eyes.
This summer however, I learned of a woman who was a survivor of Domestic Violence. For years she used sunglasses as stylish Fashion Statements to hide the black eyes she received during physical altercations with the father of her children. These physical altercations were so brutal and frequent that they eventually resulted in the loss of her eyesight. Yup, that’s right, she was BEATEN BLIND, by her sons’ father and now what was once considered great sense of fashion, is a protective accessory for what little sensitivity the nerves in her eyes have left.
Every decision you make has an impact on the person you chose to create. Remember to be responsible with your actions. Hurt Parents, hurt children and the cycle continues in ways you may never have intended for it to. Don’t allow what you wouldn’t want your children to accept because most children copy what they see. Below are some stats from resources on Domestic Violence outreach organizations.
CHILDREN AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
- 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.5
It’s often said “Hurt people, hurt people” but we often forget that parents are people too.
I see ads all of the time about how Fathers should be Super Man and the first person a daughter should fall in love with is her father. I don’t remember the first time I was ever upset by the reality that Buddha wasn’t Super Man but I remember slowly learning the layers of him.
Today is the first Day of October, the first day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Buddha’s mother’s birthday.
I was a pre-teen when I first became aware that Buddha’s parents were no longer married to each other because his father was abusive. I was an adult long before anyone ever let me know Buddha ever laid hands on my mother.
I was exposed to a lot as a child, both positive and negative, but I was never made to believe that abuse was acceptable.
When I was about 9 years I spent the weekend with Buddha and his short-term “fiancé” and had a pretty good time; until I was ready to go home and he didn’t want to take me back. He decided it was a good idea to throw a knife at said “fiancé” because she had sense enough to tell him “If you take her back she’ll want to visit again. If you keep her like this she’ll never feel comfortable going with you again.” He didn’t listen.
I later came to realize that maybe all he knew about fathers is that they should have “access” to their kids. Maybe all he knew about women is that they should be quiet before they were MADE to be quiet. Maybe no one ever taught him not to repeat the violent acts he was exposed to.
Before I could come to understand Buddha as my father I need to understand Buddha as a child.
From what I’ve heard he was smart, ambitious, well-liked by his teachers, but overlooked at home. Having been a teacher for a short while I’ve seen versions of Buddha sitting in classrooms; naturally a teacher’s pet desperately pursuing a career as class clown fighting for their parents’ attention any way they could get it. I’ve been told his mother’s absence at award ceremonies poked holes in his pride, and sometimes having six siblings and a single mother drove him to weave tales of life as an only child, which is the story he told my mother when they met and she pointed out his resemblance to a classmate of hers (his younger brother).
I can’t rewind time and watch Buddha grow up and struggle to create an identity apart from being the 3rd of his mother’s 7 children. I do know what it felt like trying to remain relevant after my mother gave birth to her second child. I remember praying that my sister wait until after my class play to be born, because I had a big role and I wanted my mother to be there.
I used to tell people I wanted 12 children. Now, every time I think of why I haven’t started, I remember it takes a whole person to love a child; and sometimes hurt people can’t be whole.
I don’t want to start a new cycle of Hurt Parenting.