The Wizards of Waverley Place was playing as it occurred. I woke up to the sounds of it. I was already physically uncomfortable that morning; I had gone to sleep in my jeans. I woke up to the sounds of my caregivers arguing. At first, I didn’t know what it was about. I overheard the argument becoming more heated. I realised that it was about the dinner last night.
My caregiver was angry about the timings of my other caregiver, who refused to listen to her and responded callously and with total denial of her concerns. Feeling unheard, the argument intensified. My other caregiver grew more agitated, intensifying their denial and becoming more and more accusatory. I did something very wrong - I participated in the argument and blamed the victim to try and make the perpetrator calm down. It didn’t work and wasn’t a good idea.
The argument eventually devolved into violence. I had to physically force the caregiver out of the house so he wouldn’t hit my other caregiver. I felt confused and degraded, I felt guilty and traumatised. I vacated the place and told my sibling to stay away. The experience left me feeling extremely shocked. I wasn’t sure what to make of it.
My other caregiver then became resolute in the fact that they wanted to leave the marriage. I began to cry because I didn’t want them to leave us. I felt suicidal because I didn’t expect them to come up with this reaction. The experience was brutally painful as I begged my other caregiver to stay. Till this day, I bitterly, deeply, and absolutely regret this decision. They had every right to leave this abusive relationship and should have. Any children of caregivers do not have the understanding or the right to make decisions about their marriage.
The caregiver eventually relented and decided to stay. I felt painfully guilty asking them to stay because I didn’t want them to suffer more abuse. Except, that was essentially what I was signing them up for. What I should have done is leave with them and leave the abusive relationship. There was no reason for any of us to stay and that is the truth.
I wondered whether anyone I knew ever had to deal with such a situation. It is one of the situations that people would never be able to understand. The complexity of it goes beyond the understanding of people who don’t experience it. I felt belittled and trapped. I felt like I was sacrificing the wellbeing of my caregiver for my own wellbeing and felt deeply, utterly selfish. I felt like finding another family for myself.
Have you ever experienced or witnessed an incident of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse? If so, don’t be afraid to raise your voice. Let’s end the silence around abuse, our silence is our violence towards victims.