real life

'My mum cheated on my dad and stole another woman's husband. I don't blame her.'

This post deals with domestic violence and might be triggering for some readers. 

My mum is getting married next week and she’s the other woman.

She cheated on my dad when I was seven years old. I don’t blame her.

She cheated on my dad when I was 11 years old. I don’t blame her.

The man she’s marrying divorced the mother of his child last month so he could marry my mum. Again, I don’t blame her.

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My mum is getting married next week, to her first-ever boyfriend. They have reconnected after she divorced my dad while he was also unhappily married.

At this point, you probably think I am just finding excuses for my mum. You’re probably calling her a cheater and a homewrecker. Well. She was both. But hear me out, please.

Like every other Asian woman in China, my mother married young.

She didn’t get into university like her sister did so she started working as a manager at a hotel in Jinan, China, where she met my dad. Mum used to say, “Your dad was very nice to me when we first met, he’s good at cooking and very crafty. He used to fix things for my parents (my grandparents) and cook for my mum all the time.”

However, when my mum was pregnant with me at seven months, my dad hit her for the first time and kicked her in the stomach. And that was the start of 18 years of mental and physical abuse at the hands of my dad.

I remember my mum picking me up to sit on her lap. She was wearing sunglasses because my dad gave her a black eye.

I remember finding random doctor reports, X rays in the drawers of my mum’s broken bones.

I remember my mum crying on the floor trying to slit her wrist with a CD.

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I remember my mum cradling me on a bus late at night while I was sick because my dad hit her she got nowhere to go,

I remember my mum writing a will stating that I would be under guardianship of my aunt if one of my dad’s attacks ever killed her.

I remember my mum and I locked my bedroom door, hiding from my drunk dad. He kicked the door open, dragging my mum by the hair on the floor.

I remember my mum yelling ‘call the police’ while my dad locked their bedroom door, hitting her repeatedly,

For 18 years, my mum was in and out of the hospital every few months.

After having me, Mum decided to give university another go, she got in as a mature student. She would leave me home with my grandma and go off to uni during the week. The university was in Beijing, which back in the day was a three hour train ride one way, but she would always come home on the weekend.

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Mum was just chasing her dreams and refused to work in a restaurant for the rest of her life. She was driven. Sometimes she says things like, ‘I wouldn’t get to where I am today without some sweat and tears.’

My dad refused to get a divorce until I was 18 so that he wouldn’t have to pay child support. He didn’t have a job most of those 18 years, my mum was paying for everything.

Next week, my mum is finally getting the happy ending that she deserves.

She is getting married to her first-ever boyfriend, they have been seeing each other for six years now. His ex wife knows about her and she has threatened to kill my mum a few times.

Sometimes I worry about my mum but I’m also impressed by her bravery.

My mum might be the other woman. She might have cheated and taken aother woman’s husband. But at the end of the day, she was forced, she was pushed to the point she couldn’t breathe as a victim of domestic abuse.

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

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