Unfortunately, many new mothers find themselves battling this issue in addition to the stresses of caring for a baby. After receiving yet another message from a dear friend regarding her relationship with the father of her child, I have decided to voice my opinion on the subject. I will, undoubtedly, upset someone out there in the internet world; however, this only means that I am correct in my assessment of his or her relationship. For convenience, I will be referring to the "bad guy" in these particular relationships as the father of the child. Obviously, it works both ways. There are many unfit mothers out there who should allow the caring fathers to have custody of their children as well.
Now, if you are finding yourself in an unhealthy relationship with the father of your child, I ask you to picture the following and ask yourself the questions below:
Your daughter is 18 and ready to marry the love of her life. You are ready to say goodbye to that little girl you have raised the best that you could. Now, picture her soon-to-be husband... and his relationship with your daughter. It is exactly like your relationship with her father. Is this how you want your daughter to be treated? Do you want her to be with a man who treats her exactly (or worse) than her father treats you? Because this is EXACTLY what will happen. If you think I'm wrong, go ahead and watch it play out for yourself. It works the same way for boys. Picture your son. Do you want him to treat his future girlfriend or wife the way his father treats women? Because he will. Children model the behaviors they see. After a lifetime of practice from the 2 people they love the most, why would they do anything differently? If your child never experiences a healthy relationship firsthand, how would he or she know what to expect?
The above paragraph might sound harsh, but this issue affects me deeply. I will not go into detail, but my biological father treated my mother horribly. He ended up leaving when I was almost 5 years old, and I thank God every day for giving my mother the strength to end her relationship with my dad. I know it was insanely difficult for my mom to take on the responsibility of caring for my sister and me by herself. She had no money and had to have been terrified to raise her little girls all alone, but she was determined. She worked incredibly hard and did the best she could to make sure we were ok.
Until I was able to develop a strong relationship with my step-father, I just expected all men to be like my dad. I pushed everyone away, became calloused, and was a very depressed young woman. However, because my mother was able to pull herself out of the horrible situation with my father, I eventually learned that I didn't have to allow men to treat me that way. I learned to expect more for myself. Most importantly, I learned that I deserved to be treated better. The best thing my mom EVER did for my sister and me was divorcing our father. I hate to think what my life would be like today if I had spent anymore time witnessing their tumultuous relationship. I am blessed to have such a strong mom.
I'm not saying life was easy after my dad left. Like any little kid growing up with an absent father, I wondered what I had done to make him stay away. I wondered why he didn't want to spend time with me. I wondered what was so terribly wrong with me that could have made my own father not love me. It was difficult for a long time, but as I grew up and discovered myself, I made peace with things. I'm so grateful for the way my life turned out. I am a stronger person because of what I have been through, and I am proud of who I am. Now that I have my own daughter, I would NEVER let her see me in an abusive relationship (verbally or physically) because I want her to know she deserves better.
So... my point? Yes, it sucks that children have to grow up without both parents, but that doesn't mean it isn't the best thing for your kids. Sometimes, 2 people come together for a period of time and grace the world with amazing children. Sometimes, those 2 people are better parents when they're separated. That doesn't mean the kids are not important blessings, full of purpose. They'll be fine. It will take time, but they'll be better off if they don't have to witness the abuse. When permitted to continue, it is an endless cycle.