Looking at Domestic Violence from the Outside as an Adult Child

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It's Not Easy at All, Especially Dealing With My Own Feelings

by Anonymous, an Unspoken Voices Contributor


As someone’s child, you don’t expect to take care of a parent until they are too old to take care of themselves. This expectation is natural — you're the child — they are the parent. It just so happens that this expectation isn’t always true.

Sometimes a parent becomes ill or is in an accident. More times than not, we step up and help out. It never occurred to me that I’d have to step in and help due to other circumstances.

Domestic violence had always been those words I’d hear about on the news. You know, just something that had never affected my life. It was something I’d heard stories of, but never had to deal with.

Until I found out my mom was being physically abused.


The hardest thing I dealt with in that situation was my mom defending her abuser. I wanted to scream, shout, ANYTHING to make her realize that the pushes and shoves, the choking, the dragging around had nothing to do with the fact that she said hurtful things to him. I wanted her to realize that she didn’t deserve it. No one deserves it. But, I couldn’t.

I couldn’t tell her anything she didn’t want to hear. I couldn’t force the truth into her (even though that’s all I wanted). I could say it every day, every hour, every minute, every second, but that wouldn’t do any good. Believe me, I tried.

I was on edge. Wouldn't you be? I was living my life worrying about her. She’d tell me not to worry. I wanted to protect her. She’d say she was safe. I wanted to be with her at all times. She’d say she’s okay.

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I realized the only way I could protect her was by intervening in ways that weren’t pressuring her to leave him.

I texted her all day long. I would make phone calls just to “chat” about our days. I’d invite her out with me to get her away from home. Honestly, that’s all I could do in the moment without ruining our relationship. No one wants to hear nagging all day long.

Not many want to break up with their significant other just because someone doesn’t like them. It’s more complicated than that. Although I was uncomfortable with that situation, I did what I could to step up. It doesn’t always mean “talking some sense into ‘em," but rather just being there for them in ways less daunting.

You can always be present, listen, and try to make a difference in the only ways you know how.