Pushing Through Hard Times

The enemy comes … imprisoning minds … lashing out in anger … Domestic violence through alcohol abuse can shatter a family but in spite of all this KayeJoanne found love, hope and faith.

The enemy

Violence and aggression was the enemy of my father’s soul. His mind was imprisoned by a world of violence and through my father the whole family was tormented in an attempt to keep us captive. This enemy was disturbing and opposed everything in its path. The pressure of the torment in my father’s mind caused him to lash out under the influence of alcohol. All the anger, hostility, abusive language, thoughts of murder and hatred came out in a rage against his own family. He couldn’t deal with all this torment within himself, causing him in turn to drink even more. My father’s father was also a heavy drinker and my father was abused as a child.

Mum protected her family with her life

My mother had seven children but my brother Tommy passed away at the age of two with Meningitis, which was incurable at the time. With six children to look after and a husband that was not responsible with money, life was very tough on my mother. I’m sure all the circumstances we lived in combined to add pressure of guilt to my father. My mother protected the family with her life and her life was on the line many times. Every night my father would try and corner anyone who got in the way. He would bash them and show no mercy to any screams for help. It was like he was a different man under the influence of alcohol.

Acting as a decoy

Sometimes I would wake in the night and hear my mother scream. I knew she was cornered and I remember getting up and acting as a decoy for her so she could escape my father’s violent clutches that could literally kill. My father was a big man, he had played football and as a boxer had won many competitions. So being entrapped with his fist in your face or a knife at your throat was not a good place to be. It amazed me how my mother escaped at times. She would grab anything and hit my father in self-defense and with blood pouring down his face and in need of stitches he would continue to fight in a violent rage. There was no stopping my father in that violent rage. Neighbours would hear it all night long and call police. In those days they could not come into the house until my father was outside the fence line. Today they can come into a house and protect a family.

Life with a violent father

We would move from rented house to rented house. If the real estate knew of our situation I am sure they would not lease out a home to us. I would move from school to school keeping the secret within and failing my subjects because of lack of study. My father was a hard working bricklayer by trade; he built beautiful homes, he laboured in the hot sun and this didn’t help his addiction and thirst after a hard days work. He would often get into fights with people even outside our home and he lost a lot of his friends as a result. No one seemed to understand my father and being a proud man he would not accept advice or help. It was sad to see my father in this tormented state. Anything would make him angry and communication with him was non-existent. We could never have friends over. My mother had to keep things secret, even when she went to the doctors. When asked about the bruising all over her body, she would tell them lies saying she had fallen down the stairs.

The results of abuse

My family had problems growing up in the midst of all this violence. For some reason my sister hated me most of my life and she wouldn’t touch anything I made. She wouldn’t drink any hot water that I boiled. She would have to boil it again. This same sister had so many difficulties growing up as my father abused her at an early age. My sister would stay up all night with my mother for protection. She hated my father for what he did; she couldn’t forgive him for the many years of pain he had caused.

Risking her life for us

Once my eldest brother was lying on the lounge and my father picked a fight with him. My father put his big hands around his throat. My brother was fifteen years old at the time and as my brother started to choke my mother grabbed an iron and hit my father over the head. She hit my father again risking her own life for her son. It’s amazing that she didn’t kill him. The ambulance came and stitched my father up. My father never remembered anything that happened when he was drunk. My mother was ‘tough’ having grown up on a farm and she stood up to him many times. However, she was afraid of leaving us when things got tough and she didn’t tell anyone because she wanted to keep the family together. She didn’t want the Children’s Services Department interfering and neither did she want her children to be taken away from her. This became an example to me of what a mother will do for her children.

Trying to break away

Why she stayed with my father is beyond me but I know it was only for the sake of her children that she stayed. I moved out at the age of sixteen. My mother and my sister left my father and lived in a flat. My father did not know the whereabouts of the flat but my father found them by following my sister home from work. After visiting my mother for a while, he asked her to come back to him. My mother went back to my father on the condition he would not drink. He kept his promise for a time and didn’t drink but after about six months he started again.

Still sadness lingers …

There is really no happy ending to this story. My mother passed away three years ago from a heart condition. My father is now in his eighties and is still drinking. I love my father and I forgive him and I hope one day he stops drinking.

Hope, faith and perseverance

Our family is unified. We work together keeping love active and in full force against any opposing force that would tear down the family unit. We are a very close family … we grew up in a dysfunctional family but we have learnt from experience … we pursue peace and harmony.

But my mother was a model of perseverance for me and I realize that nothing could be as bad as what my mother and father went through in their marriage. My mother’s example encourages me to push through hard times and not give up.

I believe I need to keep forgiveness strong, peace active, love appropriated, and strength exercised. My husband and I are ‘born again’ Christians and we keep the message of Christ alive and pray for our families.

Signed with love,

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