Becoming an adult is one experience that has stretched and crushed me to get to know myself better. Being a product of a broken home, I am on a journey. A journey of learning and unlearning, growing and being the best me I can be in every season.
In my growth, (as a product of a broken home), I have realised that a broken home means something different for everyone. Of course, there is the ultimate definition of a broken home and that is a household with divorced parents or a single parent household. This has been the “norm” for eons and a few have taken time to dig deeper into how broken homes can mean different things.
Did you grow up in a broken home?
I come from a family where my parents separated when I was in my teens. Looking back now, I have realised they have had problems from when I was still a tween. I have memories of my mother packing her bags and taking me to my grandmother’s house. My father would come, apologise, we go back and a few days later, the cycle would resume. My parents have never been open about their love life, but you can cut the tension with a knife when they talk about each other. Even after 30 years, they can not see eye to eye, which is quite hard because they have roped my siblings and I into their “battle”, but that is a story for another day.
What made me come to the realisation of “broken homes” being broader than coming from a divorce household?, Well, it was how I also saw similar traits from people who came from a two parent household. Now, do not get me wrong, I am not saying everyone is from a broken household, but there are traits and oddities that we have grown up around. I will list some of the few things I have learnt and are learning below, to try and explain how broken homes come in different ways.
Domestic violence has been around for the longest time, and it has been masked as being normal in marriage or in households. It has been hidden under the gaze of discipline or punishment. As a means to show who is more powerful or is to the respected. Physical abuse in a home can be between parents; a child and a parent or amongst siblings. I have seen and heard of households where women have killed their husbands. Men have beaten women to pulps and siblings have sworn to kill each other the next time they see each other. These are all example of physical abuse in a broken household. The people might still live under the same roof; be cordial in public and sometimes in private. The children (not all) who grow up in such environments, end up thinking this is a normal way of life.
(Image from Pinterest)
They mimic such behaviour because it has taken precedents at a young age. It becomes a vicious cycle that might not be broken if one does not unlearn it and realises that love is not suppose to be like that.
It is not always the uncle or aunt who sexually abuses their nieces and nephews. Sometimes the parent is the one at the helm of the abuse. Even sibling on sibling or parent on parent. I believe over the last couple of weeks, a lot of us have been learning about consent. Yes, a wife can sexually abuse her husband. If he says no and she persists and forces him. That ladies and gentlemen is sexual abuse, and vice versa too. There have been stories of siblings getting each other pregnant. Just a few weeks ago, there was an article that came out about a boy (17) who impregnated his two younger sisters (15) and (13) during lockdown. These are some of the things that take place in a broken home and might be normal to others.
This one might be a bit sensitive as it is viewed differently especially when it comes to work. I am of the notion that two things can be correct at the same time. Which is why I believe that parents are within their right to work for their children and sacrifice as much as they can. And also believe children are within their rights to feel neglected without having to be made to feel bad. I am an example, my mother left for work when I was a teenager and the weight of being a mother fell on me.I felt abandoned because I was at an impressionable age where I needed a female role model. For others it could be the children or spouse was neglected due to drug, alcohol abuse or cheating. These are all examples of characteristics of a broken home which are yet to be further explained.
Child Headed Homes.
Although some people might see this as plausible. I believe this is something that is damaging. The damage and effects of it have been shadowed by it being masked as maturity and the child never gets to be a child. I understand there are inevitable circumstances like a parent dying, but when there is an adult in the picture, there really is no excuse. Many children especially first borns, have been burdened by this plight from a young age. They are expected to take care of their siblings as if they are their own children. This is an example of something that will take place in a broken household. It could be as a result of an absent parent or one who does not put effort in supporting their children, even when present.
Finally, divorce, the evidence of a broken home. This is usually as a result of the above reasons and more. Divorce is something that is damaging to the children and also the spouses involved. Some divorce amicably and for others others it is not as pretty. Most people who are a product of a broken home have been made to believe that history repeats itself. I think that is not always the case. Your past does not always navigate your future. You could be a product of a broken home but your own story could be different from that of your parents. Which I will further explain in my next post on the effects of broken homes.
I pray that my children will never have to learn about unspeakable pain and disappointment from a very young age. And never be a product of a broken home.
Until Next Time..