Some children learn fierce independence growing up with domestic violence. But being independent is not the same as being free from the Lies learned in that home.
They learn at an early age to rely exclusively on themselves and no one else
Often stuck in a physical environment that is violent, stressful, and painful, these children often grow up choosing to distance themselves emotionally from others, since it is difficult to distance themselves physically. They learn at an early age to rely exclusively on themselves and no one else.
That independent spirit you’ve developed can be used to achieve real freedom from the Lies
But there is a big difference between the independence and self-reliance they acquire and freedom from the Lies learned in those homes, and the path to breaking free of them now as an adult isn’t always clear. The common thread is that the same resiliency and strength you develop growing up with domestic violence that lead you to independence can be used, along with that independent spirit you’ve developed, to achieve real freedom from the Lies as an adult.
Eleanor’s earliest memories of violence occurred when she was 3
To illustrate this, I’d like to share the story of Eleanor, who was always an independent spirit. Shortly after Eleanor was born, in the Northwest, her mother moved the family back to the Midwest to be near relatives. She’d completely broken off her relationship with Eleanor’s birth father, a military man, to raise Eleanor on her own. But she soon met Johnnie, the man who would become Eleanor’s stepfather, and the only father figure in her life.Eleanor’s earliest memories of violence occurred when she was 3. “It was the middle of the night, and I woke up to this huge commotion in the living room,” she recalls. “I ran in to see what was going on and saw my stepdad viciously beating my mother. Mom yelled at me to get help and for a moment, I froze, until my stepdad turned to face me.”
Eleanor, still little more than a toddler, ran to her grandparents’ house a few doors down. She struggled to explain to them what happened, sensing it was something terrible and shameful, but somehow they understood and called 911. The police came and escorted her stepfather away from the house.
The abuse continued on and off until Eleanor turned 17
But, of course, Johnnie returned and the abuse continued on and off until Eleanor turned 17. While Eleanor exhibited immense courage, even at the young age of 3, she would not be able to escape the next 14 years of continued violence. She began to learn that she was the only one she could depend on.
Her self-sufficiency perpetuated one of the key LIES that CDV teaches – the ALONE Lie
Eleanor’s self-sufficiency, while admirable, would lead her to develop a habitual mistrust of others that perpetuates one of the key LIES that CDV teaches – the ALONE Lie – that reinforced her inclination to keep her distance.
Your resilience and self-sufficiency can also empower you to create strong, fulfilling, deeply rewarding relationships
Fortunately, Eleanor’s independent spirit would also help set her free of this LIE later in life, when she realized it was not serving her well at all. If you, like Eleanor, learned to detach yourself from others because you experienced childhood of domestic violence, know that your resilience and self-sufficiency can also empower you to create strong, fulfilling, deeply rewarding relationships, even though you may have used them in the past to keep others at a distance.
The ALONE LIE may be keeping you from building real relationships in your life and realizing true freedom in your life. But you can make this shift by consciously choosing to live the TRUTH – to TRUST, both yourself and others – even when it feels like a risk.
Please share in the comments below whether you are fiercely independent like Eleanor but have had a difficult time trusting others. Thank you for sharing.