I feel responsible for teaching my oldest son that it is all right to act out physically when things don’t go his way. I allowed him to watch his father and I perpetuate the cycle of violence in our home. I didn’t walk away from my marriage as soon as I now wish I could have. My son learned that when a grown-up man doesn’t get his way, it is normal for him to physically intimidate everyone around him until they submit to his wishes. Then, it is okay to forget it happened without an apology or discussion so long as some of his behaviors improve. So long as he turns on the charm and pretends to go along, there is no need for further conversation or remorse.
The other day, an argument with my son reminded me that doing what is right makes me feel as scared as doing what is normal makes me feel numb. The altercation began with Marc’s violent push of a full coffee cup that spilled across the table, instantly dripping into the laps of all who live in our home (except for Marc’s). The four of us immediately jumped up from the table in surprise; I instinctively ran to the kitchen to grab a towel to clean up the mess.