Did you grow up in a home living with domestic violence? That question doesn’t get asked very often, but we must ask it of ourselves and of those we care about. Because if the answer is yes, you should know that it has an impact on a life.

    1.   Did your parents or those who cared for you hurt one another physically? 

You were there, you saw it, heard it, you felt it. Even if they weren’t physically hurting you, it felt just the same. Research is clear on this point. For someone who grows up living with domestic violence, it is as psychologically damaging as being physically abused.

     2.   Did your parents scream at each other? 

Did your parents use words and tone as weapons?In childhood, that screaming and those words can feel as painful as any physical blow. For many, the feeling that they weren’t able to stop it instilled a feeling of not being good enough, which spilled over into their understanding of themselves. People who grew up living with domestic violence base their experiences as an adult on what they believed was true from their past. Awareness of these simple facts is the first step to creating change.

      3.   Did those who were supposed to care for you insult and demean you?

As a child, there is no opinion as important as a parents’. What they say, we believe. Or maybe you were part of the physical violence as well. About half of the adults who experienced Childhood Domestic Violence or CDV were physically abused themselves. Many adults who lived with domestic violence as children will say that it wasn’t the pain of the hand; it was the pain of the words that they remember most.


Perhaps you’ve just identified for the first time that you grew up with domestic violence, so now what?

Am I to believe that because of what I experienced in childhood I can’t be confident, free, passionate, trusting, loving, or guided. No.

You can unlearn the lies you learned in child. One of the world’s leading researcher said, “Even a small change in perspective can transform a life.” This change can be automatic, for some it may not. One thing that can happen in an instant is awareness. That awareness leads to progress, and daily progress leads to living the life that was meant for you. There is obstacle you will ever face that can compare to what you went through in childhood and have already conquered. It is all well within your grasp.

Brian F. Martin
Founder & CEO
CDV-Children of Domestic Violence
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