The parents we were given do not have to be the parents you become. Being exposed at an early age to domestic violence causes a higher percentage rate of repeating the cycle. According to the article “Negative Effects of Domestic Violence,” the author states some of the negative side effects of domestic violence are anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. I grew up with an abusive father who was not only physically abusive to my mother, but also to me. Even while working with victims of domestic violence, I engaged with an abusive partner. Luckily, I was able to get the help I needed to leave and move forward with my life.
Repeating the cycle: As previously stated, I repeated the cycle of domestic violence as well as my brother. Amazingly, I was three year old and my brother was one year old when my mother left my father, but somehow we both ended up in same relationships similar to our parents. Sadly, this is a characteristic of being exposed. You do what you see. But, it does not always mean that you will repeat the cycle because you have the ability to learn and grow from your experiences.
Struggle with connecting to others: It can be really hard letting people inside of your world. More than likely, you grew up secluded from friends – people other than your family. Letting friends or partners into your personal space can be hard, but by taking small steps, it can help you in your healing process.
Struggle with intimacy and trust: Trusting others is hard because you may have grown up where you could not trust your parents. You were always walking on eggshells, expecting the worse, waiting for the ball to drop and the next fight to ensue. The defense mechanism that you may have adapted is to not let anyone in so you will not be hurt. But, if you continue this process you may end up spending more time alone.
Negative thinking: If you were also abused, it can be difficult facing your negative thinking. You will think the thoughts that your parents spoke over your life growing up. I have memories of my dad calling me a “worthless piece of crap.” It has taken several years of personal growth and therapy to learn to be gentler with myself and inner dialogue.
Educate yourself: Researching the topic of domestic violence and understanding the cycles can be a critical step. Once you start to see the beginning signs of domestic violence, the more you can remove yourself from the situation in a healthier manner. The more you learn about it, the more you will understand your parents and yourself. And, you will be able to rise above this chapter in your life and begin a new one.
Negative Effects of Domestic Violence; Cathy Meyer