Breaking the Pattern

By Sharon Arnolda | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 5 2021
Look Breaking the Pattern

By Sharon Arnolda Ceylon Today Features

“A child needs a father,” we have all heard this at so many points in our lives; the context of it, more often than not, is absolutely questionable. This is often said by women who make excuses for their lousy husbands who do nothing to change themselves, nothing but pile onto an already existing amount of stress on the very woman saying this. 

The truth is very simple; domestic abuse is swept under the carpet because it has been told that it’s in the best interests of the child that the parents are together. And this is also mostly because of what people will say. A lot of things have been said about children whose parents are divorced and rightly or wrongly this has become a deciding factor in why some clearly very toxic families keep living together. And this is a big problem. 

Let me explain myself. 

If you grew up in a household where your parents were constantly fighting, and you saw your mother get beaten up on many occasions and had to get involved in their fights or have had the misfortune of growing up in a violent or unhappy household you would know that your experiences carry forward. And you would also know that you have periodically developed coping mechanisms (hopefully healthy) to deal with the feelings and fears you have had to face as a child. 

And as we grow older these things obviously reflect in our relationships with those around us, the things we sometimes brush off as quirks or insecurities are actually things that we have faced as children and not dealt with; and it takes a while to eventually get to this. 

In the process of doing this; if you ever question your mother as to why she stayed in an abusive relationship more often than not her answer would be that she thought of you or that you needed a father, even though you now clearly know that having your parents together did more damage than them being a part would have done. 

The thing is that there is an entire generation of us that grew up this way, some of us are vocal about it and will not stand for it while some of us unfortunately chose to follow the narrative. 

This has resulted in a bunch of absolutely head strong women who will just not take s*** and then the rest who unfortunately fall into the very family patterns they hate. The psychological damage done to children in an unhappy home is immeasurable; it takes more to parenting than giving a child to eat, drink and sending them to school.

 It takes kindness, understanding and unconditional love; all of which flows from the parents’ relationship to their children. So no matter how much you love your children, if you’re constantly fighting with your spouse you’re going to create havoc in your child’s head. We all know this not because we are qualified mental health professionals but because we move around with people and know their stories. 

This story is based on a real conversation I had with a lady who has been married for 25 years, who has finally made the decision we have been telling her to make for at least the last five years; to leave her abusive husband. 

Her decision to do so came following the death of her friend; who stood by her abusive husband until her death; who lost contact with her daughter because of the actions of her husband and lived an absolutely miserable life with a man she refused to leave “for the sake of her children”, and the “sanctity of marriage”. 

She told me that she didn’t want to die like that, she never enjoyed her life and she was so unhappy and her children were always so worried for her”. Which was the truth. Her friend’s death put a lot of things in perspective; here’s the lesson learned from the life of a woman who “really stuck by her man no matter what he did” Your children are watching you more than you know. 

It’s absolutely important to love yourself first because that is the only way you can teach your daughter to love herself. Your daughter will watch everything you do, what you tolerate and how you handle things and go on to base her life on it; so it’s crucial to set an example of a healthy relationship. Daddy issues only happen because mommy tolerated it. 

Your son will treat a woman how you were treated. There is a high chance that your child will go on to treat a woman the way you have been treated because that is just how diabolically fragile we humans are. 

That’s when she told me that she wanted more for herself and her children, she wanted to be happy so that they can stop worrying about her happiness and grow up peacefully; and honestly that is what every single woman in that situation needs to know and hear. And I couldn’t be happier for her and more so for her children.

 A child needs a father.

 Of course a child needs both parents, two functional adults, not two people who can’t get along and keep fighting constantly. It’s much better for your child to have a functional single parent at a time as opposed to having two dysfunctional ones at once.

 A divorce is obviously not an easy call to make but in the event you have to get to one for the right reasons just make sure you aren’t staying back for the wrong ones. From the eldest daughter of a mother who didn’t leave; please leave, you are not doing your kids a favour by living with your abusive husband. 

You’re literally giving them an example they will live the rest of their lives by, and if your example is one of shouting, hitting and constant sadness the chances of that negatively affecting kids are really really high. 

But by leaving the situation you are teaching them boundaries, self-love and saving years of confusion and bad life decisions. You can’t make your children happy if you are not happy yourself, and most importantly; we love you no matter what you do, so choose to love yourself too.

By Sharon Arnolda | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 5 2021

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