As we discuss the rise of domestic abuse during the COVID-19 crisis and the pervasiveness of this issue around the world, I wanted to shed some light on another group of survivors: the children of domestic abuse.
Whether a child is directly abused or witnesses the abuse of their father or mother, abuse during childhood can have lasting traumatic effects and shape our view of relationships and the self in unhealthy ways.
On today’s episode, we have another brave and beautiful woman, MaryBeth, who has agreed to share her story of growing up in an abusive household. She regularly witnessed her father verbally, physically, emotionally and spiritually abusing her mother while also verbally and spiritually abusing her and her siblings. She shares the way that growing up in that environment impacted her life, even as an adult, as well as her hopeful journey of healing and transformation.
Many adults in abusive relationships cite the children as the reason they stay together. I hope hearing MaryBeth’s experience as a child witnessing domestic abuse will offer a new perspective and bring awareness to the way abuse affects families for generations.
In this episode, MaryBeth shares:
- Her powerful story of witnessing and experiencing abuse for most of her childhood, adolescence and young adulthood
- The impacts of abuse on her life and her journey of healing
- The way children take abuse on and can personally feel at fault
- How childhood abuse can skew a child’s sense of what’s normal in relationships
- Spiritual abuse and the role religion can play in abuse
- How to break the lineage of abuse
- The importance of grace and forgiveness for yourself and others
I know you will be so encouraged by MaryBeth’s courageous journey of healing, how Adult Chair work has played an instrumental role in her transformation and her arrival at a place of hope and forgiveness. Her story is such an inspirational reminder that we CAN heal, one step at a time, and that there is power in telling our stories, seeing and speaking the truth and offering grace to ourselves and even those who hurt us.
If you are in an abusive situation right now, remember that your children are soaking in everything they are seeing. This becomes their model of relationship; we’re teaching them what’s normal. For those staying for the kids, please consider getting out for the kids.
If you are recovering from an abusive childhood, know that healing is possible. There are dozens of resources on The Adult Chair website, including podcasts, meditations, courses and more that can help you in your journey of healing.
If you are in danger, please tell someone.
The Adult Chair community (closed Facebook group linked below) is always here for emotional support.
If you need help, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline:
Deaf or hard of hearing, use TTY 1-800-787-3224
If unable to speak, text LOVEIS to 22522
If you are in an emergency situation, please call 911.
“It’s like you’re in a warzone, and you’re always looking at your back. We were always trying to prevent, anticipate what he might be upset about. But it didn’t matter. It was never good enough.” – MaryBeth, childhood domestic abuse survivor
“I didn’t even know I was a child of abuse. Why would anything be wrong, because I was the one who was wrong. I was the one that was the mistake. I was the one causing his frustration.” – MaryBeth, childhood domestic abuse survivor
“You break that lineage of abuse when you speak up and say, ‘No, I’m done!'” – Michelle Chalfant
“If you’re in a domestic abuse situation, your children are growing up thinking, ‘This is normal.'” – Michelle Chalfant
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Inner Child Resource
The Adult Chair Private Facebook Group (safe place to connect, get emotional support and share your story)
The Adult Chair Website