kids

"I'm a victim of domestic violence, and the perpetrator is my teenage daughter."

There are days when you are so loving and kind, I think, I can hold your hand and walk by your side forever. Then there are days when I just can’t imagine waking up tomorrow and doing it all again. It’s the control, the fear, the flinching, the sacrifices, the punching, biting, the hair pulling, and your nails deep in my skin. It’s beyond soul destroying. I feel me vanishing, and the desire to reclaim me, its vanishing too.

It’s the shame.

I have hardly told a soul what happens, most days of the week, sometimes multiple times. I’m too ashamed. I don’t want anyone to think badly of you, I love you. I don’t think anyone would understand. Maybe they’ll blame me. Maybe it is my fault? And so, my circle has almost closed down, I don’t go out with friends, I don’t return their calls. My conversation is different to theirs. I don’t participate in anything social, the energy and ability just isn’t there. I don’t make plans, I just don’t know if I will be able to go, or if I will even feel like I can do it. And really, I don’t want to explain the scars and the wounds. The ones on the outside and even worse, the ones on the inside.

Acquired Brain Injury parenting
"My child, I loved you from before you were born. I still love you." Image supplied.

I remember just last Christmas, we were shopping with a young female relative. I just wanted to enjoy her company, find her a small gift for Christmas, and enjoy some of the festive feeling that was in the shopping centre. But, you decided it was time to go. No word, no warning, in the middle of a hundred people you grabbed me by my hair and the skin on my face and in a violent rage you threw me to the ground. There was blood, my hair was ripped out, my makeup was smeared across my face.  There were tears, many tears. I was so ashamed. Maybe it was the unexpected, the ferocity of the unprovoked rage, but not a single person in the crowded thoroughfare asked me if I was OK, and there was not a single offer to help me. I quickly covered my face and cupped as much blood as I could and fled for the exit near the car. How did a simple thing become so out of control? Destroy every last shred of my self-respect and confidence.

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There are days that I feel you walk up behind me, and I tense in fear. Will you strike me, will you bite me, or will you pull me to the ground by my hair. Sometimes you just walk past. In those moments, I know just how wrong this situation is. This is not how it is supposed to be. I love you.

This is my every day. No matter how much I beg professionals for help, there just seems to be nothing and no one. I am a victim of domestic violence. Daily. If this was my partner, I would know where to turn, I know I could call the police, I know I could get protection and I could access supports to change my situation. The perpetrator is this case is my own adolescent child. The twist to the story is she had an Acquired Brain Injury ( ABI). And that is what seems to change the support, the understanding and the management of our situation. I am not a victim, I am the carer.

Acquired Brain Injury parenting
Some of Cindy's injuries. Image supplied.

My child, I loved you from before you were born. I still love you.  I have been there throughout everything, every test, every seizure, every appointment, all of the ups and downs. Advocating fighting supporting every single step of the way. It was easy to be there, you were my child, I never wanted any less for you than I would have fought to get for myself.  You deserved the best quality of life that we could make out of this crappy situation. I knew our road was hard, and I knew that we two would need to be a team for the long haul. I never once imagined that the final blow to knock me down would be yours. But sadly, I think it will be.

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