Leaders and Celebrities Who Grew Up With Domestic Violence

Did you know that some of the most accomplished and celebrated people grew up living with domestic violence?

As we begin to look at the unsung gifts of adversity, I want to acknowledge those in the spotlight who have overcome their childhoods growing up with domestic violence and have made an impact and fulfilled their personal dreams.

I’ve featured everyday heroes in some of my previous posts, and will continue to explore the lives of everyday heroes who have transformed the suffering of their childhood into great success and happiness. Today, let’s look at some of our cultural leaders and celebrities who survived their past to then impact the world.

As a child, Halle Berry watched her mother being brutally beaten by her father. Yet she was able to achieve a high level of success in a field that is among the most competitive. It’s hard to imagine such a beautiful woman grappling with low self-esteem, but she admits that since childhood she’s had to battle a sense of being unworthy.

“Violence was an ongoing part of my life,” Anthony Robbins, the world-renowned life coach, remembered in a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey. “Something I couldn’t escape. People smashing things on the wall, slamming the doors, putting their fists through things, being called a liar or having your head beaten up against the wall were all things happening in my house.”

Bill Clinton was terrified as a 4-year-old, traumatized by violence in his home. But somehow he found a way to turn that fear into confidence—enough confidence to lead a nation.

The list goes on: Oprah Winfrey, Senator Scott Brown, Joe Torre, Patrick Stewart, Christina Aguilera, Drew Barrymore, Tina Turner, and countless others.

How did each of them find a path to resilience? How did they overcome their conditions and go on to accomplish great things in key areas of their lives?

They did it the same way you can.

As a child of domestic violence you have inner reserves of strength far beyond the ordinary, and the ability to channel all that you have been through and felt into a life of extraordinary fulfillment and success.

These truths are already inside of you, but you weren’t born with them. You earned them by surviving your past and coming out of it to be here today. Again, it’s what makes you invincible.

“People who experience an injustice in childhood, one brought on by their parents, feel a spiritual pain, a world-renowned psychotherapist, told me. “Because of what they experienced, they are able to reach a plane that few humans can, a level of understanding, resilience, and compassion that resides deep inside them.”

They felt a pain that is unique only to those who, at the most vulnerable moment in the life of a human being, know what it feels like to see those you love most in life hurt again and again and be powerless to stop it. All the while knowing it will happen again.

I salute these icons of triumph because they remind you and me that we can do the same. We are no different. And we have much to offer to others and to the world.

Please share in the comments below who are you most inspired by, and why.

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