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Believe This, Not That

If you grew up in a home with domestic violence, it’s time to unlearn these lies

  • May 25, 2015
  • By domesticshelters.org
Believe This, Not That

Children are like little sponges—they absorb everything around them and hold on to it. Anyone who’s accidentally said a bad word in front of their toddler knows this lesson well.

When children are exposed to domestic violence from an early age, they also soak that in, and the after-effects can be devastating. Children of Domestic Violence, a New York-based non-profit organization founded in 2007 by Brian F. Martin, aims to bring awareness to the problem of childhood domestic violence (CDV), a term used to describe growing up with violence between parents or a parent and significant other. Martin says that 10 falsehoods children with CDV carry with them into adulthood can severely hold them back and need to be unlearned. Here are four, and their corresponding truths.

NO: “I am fearful. Bad things are going to happen.” Growing up under the constant threat of violence in the home can make a person constantly on high alert.
YES: “I have more courage than I know.” It takes incredible strength to survive growing up with—and surviving—a home where domestic violence was prevalent. Find your confidence in knowing you are resilient.

NO: “It was my fault. I caused it and I should have stopped it.” Children think emotionally, not rationally. Carrying around guilt can be common, and can lead to feelings of unworthiness and shame.
YES: “I now realize that I couldn’t be responsible for the actions of others.” Martin encourages survivors to set themselves free by sharing their story with someone else. “It was never your fault, so it’s time to allow yourself to really feel that way,” he writes.

NO: “Anger gives me the power and control I never had.” Those with CDV often use anger to teach people who hurt them a lesson, utilizing tactics like hurtful words, a cold shoulder or threats.
YES: “I transform the impulse of anger and resentment into passion.” Anger and passion are similar, except passion will fuel personal growth. Feel a sense of power by controlling your anger and transforming it into a passion to achieve your dreams instead.

NO: “Good things don’t happen to people like me.” Children can feel hopeless when witnessing domestic violence, and they may feel like nothing they do makes a difference, so why bother to even try?
YES: “The injustice I experienced as a child created a spiritual strength inside me.” Your life has a purpose. Believe that you made it through your childhood because you are special and guided, and there is something here for you to do and become.

To read the other six lies children with CDV learn, go to cdv.org. Then, read the truths that you should start learning instead, here.