Domestic violence is not a comfortable subject and those of us who grew up living with domestic violence, learned it was easier to stay silent most of the time. However this is one of many lies we learned, now it’s time to embrace the truth.
When we do, we set ourselves free of our past, with our many skills and capabilities we earned through our suffering still intact, and we can then create a life we love: full of passion, gratitude, safety, comfort, achievement and all the other things we did not have as children.
Chances are one in seven of you spent at least a portion of your childhood growing up in a violent household. This means that you witnessed adults fighting, arguing, throwing things or perhaps even verbally or physically abusing each other. Childhood domestic violence (CDV) comes in several forms.
If you ever observed domestic violence, chances are one in two that you were also directly abused or caught in the middle of these altercations.
This is a very personal part of your past but it’s also a widespread social catastrophe. Governments and researchers consider childhood domestic violence (CDV) to be a global epidemic.
Personally, I believe it’s an epidemic we can cure, and we must cure it. We must address this vicious cycle of violence that breaks the spirit of our future generations when they’re too young to do anything about it. We must create a new future where our children stand a chance so that they can enter adulthood with their spirits intact and their sense of worth, strength and hope flourishing.
The change has to start with us—with our generation. We can turn the tide of violence and suffering beginning now, with those of us who know what it’s like to suffer a childhood growing up with domestic abuse, and as adults can now do something about it.
That’s why I wrote my book Invincible: The 10 Lies You Learn Growing Up With Domestic Violence, And The Truths To Set You Free. Because it’s time for you and me to unlearn the lies we learned as children.
How We Learned These Lies In The First Place
A billion people worldwide have grown up in violent households, according to a report by UNICEF, which calls childhood domestic violence one of the most pervasive human rights violations in the world today.
Yet if you’re one of these individuals, you might also agree that most of us didn’t think of it as violence. We just called it life, and why wouldn’t we? As children we learn to be what we see and hear, and we believe that whatever we experience in our own household must be “normal.”
So how could something we believed to be normal affect us negatively? What I discovered while researching my book Invincible is that a child’s brain will create a particular set of beliefs – what I call lies – when they witness or are subject to domestic violence.
These lies and the psychological effects of domestic violence are the same whether you yourself were subject to abuse, or you witnessed it from the top of the stairs or behind a cracked door.
Let me repeat: Bearing witness to domestic violence has the same psychological effects on a child that being subject to that violence itself would have.
These effects can continue to plague you throughout your adult life, poisoning your sense of worth, confidence, career, relationships and overall ability to experience freedom, comfort, compassion and joy.
There is good news, however.
You are more powerful than any lie you learned growing up with domestic violence. While the brain of a child cannot process the complex dynamics of violence between people who love each other, you are now an adult, and you can unlearn any lie you learned back then.
For example, if your childhood taught you that you are always angry, or that you are unworthy of love,
or that the world is a painful, unsafe place… you can now begin to dismantle that lie.
The first step is to have awareness, and to be open to change.