Domestic Violence: A Mother’s Story About Her Son’s Anger and Breaking the Cycle of Abuse

June 29, 2017

Jean’s son began acting out aggressively when she left his father, who was abusive and controlling.

Her decision to get out was the culmination of years of domestic violence from two partners.

breaking the cycle of abuse
Photo: article supplied

However, despite Jean — not her real name — leaving her abusers behind, the long-term effects of trauma on her then 12-year-old son remained.

“There is always some kind of fallout with domestic violence, and children’s brains change under that stress,” she said.

“My daughter always wants to be perfect and good, while my son was kind of at the opposite of that spectrum.”

Things got worse for her son ‘Jack’ before they got better.

“The problem was that even though he had contact with his dad, every single time there was an issue, there was either verbal abuse, constant swearing and aggression, road rage, [or] violence,” she said

Jean said he developed post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, and would often lash out.

“He’d shut down completely and [was] very angry,” Jean said.

“At one stage … even though he was only 12, he pushed me hard — he’s quite a solid young kid — and I fell backwards.

“It really shocked him I think, that he physically reacted in that manner. That was the catalyst for him.”

Jean’s quest for support ended when she discovered a program called Step Up, Speak Out, which helps children deal with anger and provides coping strategies for kids who have been traumatised through abuse and family violence.

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