She came to the clinic with tear-stained eyes and bruised arms.
Her husband long gone, this time the violence was from her son. He was growing up to be just like his father. A chip off the old block.
She was torn between the love a mother has for a son and her concern for the safety of her other children. He had left the house before the cops showed. She didn’t press charges. She didn’t know if he would be coming back home or not. She wasn’t sure what to do.
She came to me not to fix anything but just to listen. She asked for advice, but she already knew the truth.
There were several things that needed to happen immediately.
- be safe. Protect yourself and the rest of the family. This is the top priority.
- create boundaries. He needed to get help. He had to establish a pattern of acceptable behavior before coming back home. This would likely take months, if not years. And that is OK. If she forgets why, she just has to remember rule #1.
- actions have consequences. It’s best to learn that as soon as possible. Press charges now before things escalate.
- love/release. She had to accept that she had done what she could. He’s an adult now and will make his own decisions. It’s not her fault. She can continue to love him, but she cannot continue to allow him to be a threat to herself and the other children.
Domestic violence is blind to race, sex, religion, and economic status. It hungers for power and control. It weakens communities, strangles the spirit, and destroys families. It will effect more than 10 million women and men per year, and is the 3rd leading cause of homelessness among families.
Sometimes, obstacles seem insurmountable. The odds stacked against us. No way out. But, I believe there is always a way through. Even during the darkest times. To paraphrase the philosopher Seneca: Be brave, be free.
This is not a very inspiring blog post. I’m sorry for that. But life isn’t always inspiring. Sometimes it’s painful and gritty.
So, I will leave you with this thought.
I saw a rainbow on my way home today, and it reminded me of a promise: It won’t rain all the time.
The world is full of struggling people. All around us are stories that need to be heard.
You have the chance to be the one that listens.
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