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Monday, 3 October 2016

LEAVE THEM A LEGACY OF PEACE


One of the most horrible things one can face in childhood is watching your parents fight in front of you.  I know from my own childhood that it leaves scars that can stay for life.  My parents not only fought verbally, but my alcoholic father would often push or punch my mother.  I would often have to pull him off her and flee with her an my siblings into the dark of night.  I still hate being out at night...

It was not unusual for my mother to refuse my father sex if he came home late from the pub that night, and we would know that it would be a night where we would have to flee again..  We slept with one eye open often in our clothes...

In the morning, Dad would be on his best behaviour, and Mum would often praise me for intervening and saving her from a punch or hair pulling.... she called me "loyal" and I would hate it!  When you have to attack your father to save your mother, it is the last thing you want- to be patted on the head for loyalty when in fact you hate yourself for seeing your Daddy land on his bottom, a wrinkled, angry heap of alcoholic fumes...

My twin sister and I slept in the same room, and at 8 years of age, I can recall the conversation where we agreed that when we were married, we would never say no to our husband for sexual favours.... our understanding of intimacy was very rudimentary, and we shouldn't be as knowing about sexual matters at 8, but growing up in a dysfunctional family like ours made one grow up very quickly...

Unfortunately at 16 I became pregnant to my fiance who I was to marry at 18.  Even though he was already showing signs of being an abuser, I was hastily married. My parents weren't happy and loathed my ex-husband who was Italian and 10 years older than me. 

They offered me 3 choices before marriage:  1. have an abortion (no way)  2.  have them raise my child as their own (are you kidding- in that environment?) 3 get married with special permission from them.  This was the course I took.   So began a life of domestic violence and hell for me that lasted for 25 years before he nearly killed me and I left.

Today, the legacy of my parents fighting in front of me has resulted in 2 of my adult children trying to come to terms with their mother being a divorced woman- and trying to get on with my new husband.  Because of my childhood, 90% of my domestic abuse went on behind closed doors.  Until the very end I was able to keep my injuries and tears relatively private to protect my children and to avoid passing on another similar legacy.

Consequently, today the 2 older children tend to blame me for leaving a man who appeared to be a good husband.  Only now 19 years after my remarriage, are they starting to understand a little of what went on and why I was always bruised. The younger ones now 38 and 39, saw more violence and understand how difficult it was... especially in the later years when they were also at the receiving end and came with me to women's refuges..

By fighting in front of us as children, my parents have given me a legacy that has been difficult to stop.  I succeeded in giving my own children a happy childhood- indeed, each of them in private, has told me they had a great childhood.  But the price on my health has been costly however the relative peace each of my children now experiences in their own marriages, has proven that it has paid off. 

I have been fortunate in stopping this negative legacy through my determination not to fight in front of my children, but as I said, the personal cost has been enormous.  However, I would do it again if I had to.

My advice is to never fight in front of your children, for it sets in motion a course for low self-esteem,  marrying too young or unadvisedly, sets an example of aggression and/or passivity caused through fear, and inability to stay in a relationship, domestic violence and divorce.

It may be difficult to do, but sorting out differences that come in any marriage, should be done without little eyes watching, but the rewards in your children's lives and the godly legacy you will be leaving them, will be worth every effort.  Whatever you do, don't fight in front of your children!  Leave them a legacy of peace!

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

Better [is] a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices [with] strife. Proverbs 17:1

12 comments:

  1. Unfortunately, too many couples are "marrying too young or unadvisedly," and are not sufficiently mature to understand that arguing in front of their children "sets an example of aggression and/or passivity caused through fear, and inability to stay in a relationship, domestic violence and divorce." I'm watching a grandchild's marriage waver because both spouses lack maturity. Focused on NOT making their parents' errors, they lack the understanding that they are making some of their own. We pray for these loved ones! If they would pay attention to those who walked the path, learned the lesson and offer to share earned advice, they would miss so much hurt.

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    1. That is so sad, Phyllis. Although I was young, I had a very mature head on my shoulders, in part because living in that environment made me grow up fast. It is gratifying that my children didn't see a lot of the anguish that I suffered during their childhood. However, as I said, it comes at great personal cost healthwise, and almost back fired on me. I wish young ones would realise the seriousness of choosing a spouse and then being united in front of their children. Thanks for sharing a cuppa with me, Phyllis!

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  2. I grew up in such a home, very twisted, and I understand what you went through. There is never an excuse for hitting a woman.

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    1. That is sad... we only get one chance at childhood... looks like ours was a bad one! {{hugs}}

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  3. This is such a sad story Glenys but so glad that you have been redeemed from such a horrible situation.

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    1. I don't think I could cope with all that stress now, Wendy. Age and ill health make one unable to be resilient like in past years..

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  4. Glenys, this made me cry because I grew up in a home like that too! Fortunately, I chose well with my husband but I think it was only because of Divine intervention! You are right, children should not have to endure that! (((HUGS)))!!!!

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    1. Praise God, we are happy at last! God has restored the year of the locust for us both! Thanks for taking tea with me today, Terri! Blessings!

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  5. I am so sorry that you had to suffer in this way; both in seeing and experiencing your parents' dysfunction and in living it in your own first marriage. The sin that we pass on from generation to generation can be so crippling until we allow the Lord to break that curse in our lives. I'm so excited that you were able to break those bonds and find healing in a godly marriage to a caring man. May the Lord bless your testimony in ways you may never even see as you share your experiences with others.

    Thanks for linking this up today to help us each think about HOW our behavior affects our children. Blessings to you!

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    1. Yes, the cycle has been broken, however not before my daughter entered into a relationship with an abuser, which forced her into leaving him... she is married to a nice man now... I am so grateful that the LORD gave her the strength to get out before she had broken bones etc... thanks for sharing a cuppa with me today, Kate!

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  6. I admire your forthrightness in writing about this and your clarity in how it affected you and your family. God bless you all and bring healing and salvation through Jesus Christ.
    Laura

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    1. I am living in peace now, for which I give God thanks... I pray that we all can cultivate happy peaceful homes for our children. Blessings, Glenys

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