When You Can't Give a Child a Gift of Safety
I want to share with you about my daughter’s and how they have experienced abuse from her father. I got out and reached higher ground, but left two vulnerable children in the wake. This has been the hardest part of surviving the abuse. There are no words to describe what this has been like for me. I think it is better to tell my story with stories rather than plain words. Words do not do justice to the horror we have encountered.
The greatest gift a parent can give their children is the gift of safety. I was able to give this to my daughter’s most of the time. But there was court ordered visits to their father’s every other weekend. So their safety was at risk every other weekend. This is something I have had to live with, and continue to live with every other weekend.
On my daughter’s 7th birthday she wanted to be home for her birthday. Her birthday fell on a Friday that she was scheduled to stay with her father. She pleaded with me to stay home for weeks. When her father asked her what she wanted for her birthday all she asked for was to be home on her birthday. This is the only present that she wanted. This is a very unusual request for a 7-year-old. 7 year old are notorious for seeking ponies, Barbie’s, Little People and Holly Pockets. My daughter only wanted to feel safe and secure on her birthday this desire trumped the ponies. Her father refused and said, “This is my time. You have to come with me.” “My time.”
He used this phrase constantly. These were two words that were not even in my vocabulary. I always said, “The girls are home this weekend. Or, “This is a weekend you are home.” He considered the girls his property every other weekend. He would barge into my house and pick up our objecting and crying 4-year-old. He would put her under his arm and collect her like a piece of luggage. He would say to my older daughter coldly, “Get your shoes, let’s go” As he hauled our younger helpless daughter to the car.
I don’t recall the actual details of my daughter’s 7th birthday. I do remember that she did not want gifts. What she was asking for was the gift of safety. I was not able to give this to her on her actual birthday. Please forgive me little one, please.
We had a family celebration and friend birthday party for her and I tried to be cheerful even though we would not spend her actual birthday together. It was not completely awful that we would not be spending her birthday together. What was awful was her father’s total disregard for her wishes. One of the signs of abusers is that they, “Refuse to accept the perspective of others while irrationally defending their own positions.” Source: (Designed Thinking: http://www.designedthinking.com/the-signs-of-emotional-abuse)
This information is so true and refusing to accept the position of young children can be so damaging to them.
If you are in a relationship where someone is constantly refusing to accept your perspective please seek professional help.
For more information about Julie Federico and her children's books please visit; www.juliefederico.com