In my own surprising calm, I looked at my child and saw the image of a man I'd left a year and a half ago to save our family from such tirades. Catching him in the eye between shouts, I asked him if he remembered watching his father put his fist through the wall. My baby stopped, as if stunned, and quietly nodded his head. Noting a nerve had obviously been struck, instinct from somewhere I cannot identify kicked in. I simply stated to my son, in a soft determined voice: You are not him. I witnessed a boy transformed. My sweet child fell to his pillow, face cupped in his hands, bawling.
I crossed the room with words of affirmation: You are sweet, you are soft, you are kind, you are gentle, you are loving...each new word brought louder sobs from this precious angel. We held each other. I felt I'd witnessed the grace of God overcoming the devil right in front of my eyes. You call it what you will, but the power of Allah was upon us last night, and I witnessed my own tiny miracle. I'm not sure how long it will stick with my son, but I pray never to lose that moment to time and experience.
What this says in the broader perspective is that no matter how hard we try to conceal the intricate ugliness of our adult world from our children, they absorb it all - at all ages. That tantrum was straight out of an episode of late night arguing and daily struggles in a household I could easily forget for the peace we have today. For my baby, however, the demons of that life will forever be a part of him.
Hamdullilah (thank God) I never gave in to the negative side of divorce. I have been steadfast in not speaking ill of my children’s father in front of them. And I make sure that every day I tell my babies all the manners of blessings they are to me and to the world. Thank God that when my child heard me speak those affirmations he knew they were true. He identified himself in the good he heard.
We cannot protect our children from the harms of the world (especially from those of our own making), no matter how hard we try. What we can, and must do, is prepare them for navigating these matters in a way that empowers and benefits them.
When domestic abuse occurs amongst spouses, children are still the greatest victims. But their greatest victories can be through you. It’s all in the example you set for them. The cycle of abuse can end. Empower your children and refuse the urge to shrug your shoulders at their outbursts. In the world of faith, God ALWAYS wins! The battle may be for life, but our job is only to be sure we stay in it faithfully.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship (physically, mentally, emotionally, financially or spiritually) seek some assistance immediately. If you are not certain, consult the power control wheel (or share it with the person you are concerned about). If you can identify with the cycle of violence, then seek assistance immediately.