Anonymous Mom: I’m Afraid I’m Becoming My Abusive Father

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child abuse storiesAnonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.

I grew up in a physically abusive home.  Fueled by alcohol, my father’s outbursts could be triggered by a bad day at work, my not picking up my things, my not picking them up properly, or, as was usually the case,  absolutely nothing at all. I’m not sure when the abuse started but my earliest memories include living in fear of him and needing to tiptoe around the house when my father was home.

As a child I assumed my mother was oblivious to his actions yet feared telling her what was going on.  It was only as I got older that I understood that she was aware and lived with the same abuse, fear and dread that I had.  In fact, our entire household, from my grandmother (my father’s mother) down to my younger brother, with the exception of my infant sister, lived with a black cloud of doom hanging over our heads.

The cloud never lifted until my father’s untimely death- ironically unrelated to alcohol- when I was 11.  It was only after this event that I felt as though I truly started living.  However, try as I might to block them out, those early memories stay me to this day and in many respects have shaped the person I am today.

As I got older I vacillated between not wanting children because I feared the type of parent I would be and wanting them so I could raise my children in a happy home. While I knew I would never raise a hand in anger at my child, I wondered what type of parent I would actually be given the environment in which I had spent my early years.  Although my fears subsided when I married Glenn, deep down I always worried about this.

Today, with an active 3-year-old who seems to make a hobby out of trying my patience, I still worry at times. But I am reassured by the fact that Glenn and I essentially feel the same way in terms of raising our son, which does include the need for punishment on occasion   And in reality, while Sidney may be all mischievous boy, he is truly a good, caring kid.

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