October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We are all born innocent, but Domestic Violence ruins that innocence. I know the affects Domestic Violence has on children because I am a victim of childhood domestic violence. When children are subjected to domestic violence, they will most likely either become abusers or attract abusers. They will have mental problems. They will become drug addicts and/or alcoholics. Most children will suffer one way or another. Problems may surface early in a victim’s life or they may surface many years later. They may come and go. Mental illnesses related to abuse, such as PTSD, knows no timeline. Until you put an end to your family’s domestic violence, chances are the vicious cycle of abuse will keep repeating itself with every generation. Every child deserves to have a childhood free of abuse. They deserve to be happy, healthy, and carefree. Children live learned behavior by adults. They are products of their environment. Everyone should be able to look back at their childhood and say, “I had a great one!” It all starts at HOME.
Instead of educating children about what happened in 1710, I feel schools need to start educating real life issues such as domestic violence and sexual abuse. Most of the education I received as a child never did much of anything for me. Maybe if an abuse class was available during my time, I would have spoken up and would have gotten the help I so desperately needed. Educating our children on real life issues is the only way we are going to mold them into a productive member of society.
When I was about 13, my parents took me to a psychiatrist. My father said he told them he could not help a person who would not talk to him. Maybe if my parents were not in the room I would have. That was it. After only one appointment, they never took me back or even got a second opinion. When I was eighteen, I tried to seek help on my own by going to our family doctor for what I now know were panic attacks. I told him I thought I was having a heart attack. He did nothing for me. He made me feel as if I was being dramatic. It took over thirty years to be correctly diagnosed, which is too many wasted years. I realize this was twenty-seven years ago and awareness of abuse is much greater now, but doctors still need to take the time to talk to children who are experiencing mental disorders in order to determine the cause. Most children, who are not subjected to abuse, do not have mental disorders. Even as adults, abuse victims will most likely never connect their childhood abuse to their lives spiraling out of control. Some may appear to live a normal life, but then all of a sudden, they begin acting out of character. Many will unnecessarily die because of this. When I began acting out of character, I was misdiagnosed as being bipolar. I thought my life was normal. I cannot help but think about how many others are out there thinking the same thing or are being misdiagnosed. My goal is to make sure no one suffers as I did.
I began smoking cigarettes before the age of ten. At eleven, I began drinking alcohol and smoking pot. To mention a few, at fifteen I was also snorting meth and taking quaaludes. I attracted abusive people. When I was seventeen, I did some meth laced with the hallucinogen, mescaline. I was unaware of this until many years later. The first night I was okay, but when we did some more the following night I began seeing things. My parent’s woke up to me being in their bedroom with a huge knife in my hand. I was looking out the window saying someone was jumping from roof to roof trying to get me. It ended with my mother taking me to a tree I said someone was hiding behind. WOW! That is really messed up! The next day my parents acted as if nothing ever happened. One drug I never knowingly touched was hallucinogens. I did not like the feeling at all, but if you do meth for days chances are you will hallucinate. I found this out later in life.
When I was about nineteen, my second boyfriend hit me after a night of drinking. When I finally got him out of my vehicle, I locked the doors and rolled down the window just enough to yell to him, “It’s over!” He then tried to choke me through the small opening of the window. That’s when I floored it, telling him he was going for the ride of his life. I dragged him about a quarter mile with his hands stuck in the window going about 40 miles per hour. He was yelling at me, “If you kill me bitch, I will haunt you for the rest of your life.” That is when I rolled down the window to release his arms. He went flying. The next evening I had to clean his blood off my vehicle before going out. That’s when I ran into a friend who would turned out to be my first husband. Lucky me! A friend told me twenty years later her husband came home one night telling her we broke up. He said to her, “I think it’s over this time. He’s messed up, but I think he’ll live.” That’s when I realized I am lucky I did not kill him.
Part 1 | (Part 2)