Finding Strength through witnessing Physical Abuse

COLLABORATION WITH A PURPOSE  – 12 Bloggers 1 Goal – Strength

In a small suburbia city, attending a predominantly white race school,  I thought I was a bit privileged growing up.   We owned a house, a microwave, several nice cars, and even dogs.   I can’t remember ever wanting anything that my parents were unable to provide.

An African American family of four.   A father and a mother who were both present in the home.  A mother who was classy, smart, and beautiful.  A father who was  smart and a well-known business owner in the community.   One of the first black families to purchase a home in our city.  One of the first to own a local business.

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Sounds almost like a “Cosby Show” fairy-tale in the 70’s because things were still difficult for blacks? However, we did what most families did back in my day — We hid what was really going on behind closed doors.

Most families followed the secrecy rule “what happens in our family, stays in our family.”

My memory of our tumultuous life started when I was about 7 years old.   I can clearly recall a multitude of physical abuse that my mom encountered throughout my childhood.  Oddly enough, my sister and I only received a few whoopings, which we called beatings,  but never abuse.  The physical abuse only happened to our mom. 

There was constant arguing, disagreements, infidelity, alcohol, drug abuse, and eventually jail time — for my father. 

I was a witness to total and complete chaos growing up, but somehow I made it out sane and with an unexplainable strength.   If there ever were a label to put on us, it would be functional dysfunction.

I always remember saying “my daddy can do anything ”  I was proud of my daddy. I thought I had the best daddy in the world.

My mom never spoke bad of our father when we were younger.  She always told us, “that is your daddy and he can do anything.”  Our daddy loved and cherished me and my sister.   I honestly believed he loved my mom as well, but he showed it in a very weird way.

For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.


Many days and nights my sister and I locked ourselves in our bedroom closets as we heard constant fighting, slapping, running, falling, and the unrelentless beating of our mom by our father.   We heard our mom pleading while trying to escape out the front door, but our father kept pulling her back in and slamming the door.  He would beat her from one end of our house to the next.   She would cry for help, beg him to stop, but he wouldn’t stop until he was done.

My sister and I would run to our closet, shut the door and cover our ears while we held each other and cried hysterically.

 Why was this happening? What did mom do to deserve this? We just wanted it to stop.

Sometimes we mustered up enough courage to briefly  uncover our ears and rise from the closet to try and help our mom because she was yelling & pleading for us to help her.

Our father  would yell and tell us to go back to our rooms or he would beat us too.  Of course, we ran back to our rooms hoping it would stop.


How much more could our mom take?  Why was this happening all the time? It was just horrible.  My father would continue beating our mom until she was non responsive, until she laid on the floor lifeless, bleeding, broken, and bruised.

After each beating, it was normal for my father to get dressed and leave our house and go to his club (his work).

He would leave us to come out of the closet to find our mom on the floor — bloodied,  beat, and bruised. What kind of animal would do that?

Eventually, my mom would wake up from the floor and she would get up and take care of herself.  I blocked a lot of the aftermath details out of my mind.  I do remember my mom filing a police report a few times, but she always dropped the case when my dad apologized and promised to never do it again.  He never kept his promise. He continued to beat my mom time after time after time.

The beatings didn’t continue when I was in Middle School and High School.  I remember my mom beginning to study spiritual strength and then she started to fight back. I think my dad got scared so he eventually stopped beating and he got beat.

Divorce was a Taboo

At the time I was growing up, divorce was a taboo.  Family dysfunction was a family secret that no one ever talked about.  What happened in the home stayed in the home.  This was our family secret. I’m sure our neighbors knew, but no one intervened.   Everyone minded their own business.  After all, our neighbors husband beat his wife too.

 We lived in an era with a bunch of lame sucka”s

My mom was a god-send.  I’m sure she stayed with my father because she knew we needed a father and he was a good provider–just a horrible husband who obviously had major issues.

To this day, if anyone asked my father about these incidents he would tell you they never happened.  I think he blocked it out of his mind as well.  He would also tell you he never spanked us when growing up and that’s not true.

Why would I make this up? What would I have to gain by telling lies?

Growing up, I always said I would not have a marriage like my parents.  I would not put my children through the hell I had to endure.  My mom never deserved those beatings.  My sister and I didn’t deserve to witness our mom being treated like a savage — less than humane.  I just wish our mom would have left my father the first time he laid hands on her.

No man or woman should ever lay hands on one another. Ever.

I can remember my father laughing and telling me stories about how his dad used to beat his mom. One story my dad told us was that his father (my grandfather) tied his wife (my grandma) to the back of a car and drove down a dirt road dragging her down the road.   Who does that? That was normal to my father.

Abuse is a vicious cycle that has to be broken. 

My case is not of the ordinary.  Most people who witnessed these things usually follow suit.  Life can either go two ways.

  1. Do as you have always seen
  2. Do something totally opposite

I’ve seen so many people continue the behavior they saw in their childhood.

Hurt people, hurt people – Tweet This

So, why did I choose to never live my life like my parents? How did I come out of seeing abuse, but not continuing the cycle? What made me different?

How many stories about alcoholics, abusers, molesters, etc have we seen that repeats history? Lots

The norm would be that the pattern would continue and history would repeat itself.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am strong.  I have a supernatural strength that is only provided by God.  I could have been a product of my environment, but I made a conscience effort to rise above my past and make sure my children never had to experience the helpless hurt I felt as a child.  You must find your inner strength.  You have it, trust me.  If I had it that long then anyone can dig down inside and find it.  So, use it today.

Actual photo of my mom

My mom has since passed on from this life at age 57, she continued helping my father out until her dying day.  My father is still alive and doing well.  He is still in our lives.  I have forgiven him and I love him very much.   I didn’t forgive him because he apologized, which he did not.  I forgave him for me. It was simply between me and God. No mediator –No go between.  It was a personal spiritual choice. 

Unfortunately, our father was a product of his environment and he simply did what he saw growing up.   His behavior was learned and it was his normal.

I chose to show strength by doing the exact opposite of what I saw.

I’ve never shared this story before, but I felt, in my heart. Someone needed to hear this today. Someone needs to know they are not alone. Strength comes from many places. Find your peace and strength in my story.

Don’t let history repeat itself in your house. Stand up and be encouraged. — Fight the good fight of the faith. 1 Timothy 6:12

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Thank you for allowing me to share my story for the first time, it was difficult to finally tell as story.  My husband of 20+ years (30+ yrs all together) never knew.  We were high school sweethearts met at age 14).   I hope and pray my story gives you strength to fight and win any battle you encounter.

This blog post was part of a collaborations with 12 other bloggers on strength. Please visit their blogs listed below and find out what strength means to them.  Everyone has a story to tell, a testimony to share.  I would love to hear what you thought of my story.  Please feel free to comment below and SHARE with your friends and family – TWEET THIS












53 Replies to “Finding Strength through witnessing Physical Abuse”

  1. Add Comments about our Strength Collaboration here – Moms on the Go

    1. I am so sorry you and your family endured this. I think it’s wonderful that you grew up to honor your mother, then honor her memory, and somehow forgive your father for doing all that.

      You truly have inner strength, Camilla. No question about it.

      1. Hi Barb, thank you so much for your wonderful caring comment. I truly appreciate it. This was very diffucult to share. I guess it was still our little family secret. Yes, I do honor my moms. She was the best. She never deserved any bad things to happen to her. Sometimes it seems like bad things happen to good people. I guess we’ll never know why. Also not sure where I found the inner strength, but I guess it was deep inside. I thank God every day. Again, ty for taking time to read and comment 🙌💟

        1. I was very happy to read it, though your story was deeply disturbing. (Then again, it should be. The day we accept such things as commonplace is the day we die as a society, it seems to me. Or at least the day we lose our compassion and become lesser creatures.)

          1. Indeed. Yes. People need to know they are not alone. These things happen more than we know and people are too embarrased to talk about it. Our testimonies are for us to share. I’m glad it moved you to feel compassion. Hopefully that works for others as well. 1💟 Thank you.💟

          2. You’re most welcome. And I agree — I hope it works for others as well. (Sometimes I think the legacy of our fallen loved ones — fallen by whatever means — is compassion for others. But I don’t know how it works; I just know after you get through the horrendous grief, you realize a bit better how much we all need compassion and care.)

          3. Absolutely. Well said.

          4. You’re most welcome. 🙂

  2. […] Camilla Motte @ Moms on the Go: Finding Strength Through Witnessing Physical Abuse […]

  3. Thanks for sharing this story; I’m sorry you’ve had such a difficult childhood and I’m glad you came out stronger, strong enough to break the cycle of abuse. 🙂

    1. Hi Nicolle, for some unknown reason, I’m just seeing this message. Thank you so much. I appreciate your caring words, I really do. It means a lot. Yes, I’ve learned that our struggles definitely make us strong. Many blessings always. XOXO

      1. No worries and you’re welcome. 😀

  4. What a blessing to end this day! I am finally over the insanity you described here. Now? A Fresh Start for the honor of our Father/Creator–Yes! He lives in our hearts. He is now lifting Himself up for each one of us. Please read what He gave me today. I know it will encourage us all. Here it is:
    Insanity Abolished!
    Physically, Mentally, Spiritually.

    His love in my heart for all, thiaBasilia.

    1. I hate those ugly cockroaches. UGH ! !

      1. Me? Second the motion! lol but! What about the rest of my comment? Did it encourage you as your post encouraged me? 🙂

        1. Wow, did I not respond. Let me check it out. I usually write a book in my responses. I’m slipping. 🙌

  5. Wow. Thank you for sharing your story. It speaks great measures to me.
    I’m glad you were able to draw strength from God to forgive and love your father till date despite having witnessed the exact opposite in your childhood.
    If only more could follow your example of living for the Father and Him alone, everything will start to fall into place in this messed up world.

    1. you are welcome and AMEN. I know now that I’m older and have seen a lot of things that I am not of THE NORM. I thank GOD for keeping me all these years. It was difficult to finally push that button to tell my story after over 40+ years, but there is a bit of exhaling now. I guess it was still a secret kept. I didn’t grow up going to church and I didn’t know God, but only heard of him. He still kept me anyway. I’m grateful. I’m blessed. TY for reading XOXO

      1. Thanks again for sharing

        1. Yes ma’am. My pleasure. 💟

  6. It sounds like you are true survivor and I love the human story component of this. I can also relate having had gone through a similar childhood. You are brave and I find that our hardships and what we experience only makes us stronger. Thank you for opening up and sharing.

    “Don’t let history repeat itself in your house. Stand up and be encouraged.” I really believe this. We have the power to stop negative cycles from continuing in our home. Again, great post. Thank you for sharing. #TrueSurvivor #LoveWins #BeTheChange

    1. Hey Sonya, ty for reading and commenting. I appreciate you. Yes, I now consider myself a survivor. It was & is a truly personal story. It was so hard to push that button to publish. I didn’t know how much this affected me all these years. I do hope it helps someone now and in the future. I’m also happy you are well too. Agreed, hardships really do make us stronger. I must admit, it’s not fun in the midst of the trial. Ty again 💟 XX

  7. Thank you for being strong enough to share your story. I can relate to a certain degree. Abuse is usually a vicious cycle. Thank God (literally) that you broke it. I was able to do the same. My mother was physically abusive, but she denies it to this day as well (like she has amnesia or something), but I have forgiven her for the same reasons you forgave your father. We have a good relationship, and it’s best that way. ❤️​ Your message and strength has to reach many.

    1. Thank you. Appreciate it. Yes, how do they seem to develop that selective amnesia. I’m so glad I learned how to forgive just because I need to be free of whomever hurt me or anyone in my life. This was very very difficult for me to share, but I know someone needs to hear it. XOXO

      1. It is difficult to share a deep piece of your life like this because you feel vulnerable. I understand! I have a hard time sharing pieces of my past like abuse and single motherhood. I really appreciated the piece because it makes me feel like I am not alone on what I went through during my childhood, and it’s great to know other people who have overcome similar situations.

        1. Thanks my friend . I appreciate that. You are not alone. I have a bunch of testimonies, as I’m sure most people do. We are not fond of the trial, but I’ve learned that our trials are not exclusively for us. They are to help someone else. 🙌

          1. YES! I agree 100%!!! My trials is what got me writing. ❤️​

          2. Maybe my writers block will open more now. 👍 ty

  8. Thank you for this truth. It takes God’s help to break a cycle of violence. I’m grateful you did.

    1. Thank you for taking time to comment. Yup, this was a hard one to pull out of the closet. Yes, God is a healer and redeemer . I am so blessed and grateful. I have the nicest hubby ever & we try not to argue in front our kids, especially when they were younger. I’m glad got put that special something on the inside of me to make me strong enough to overcome what I witnessed. Ty again, 💟

  9. What an amazing post. I can relate to every bit of the words and the happenings. Such is life, but still we need that innate strength to be courageous despite life bitter lemons. I admire your courage to share you real life experience growing up, you are a soldier, as no one alive has witnessed the struggles you survived; that makes you the hero of your story. Peace be unto your mom, your dad would have realized his mistakes, to err is human and to forgive is divine, so I admire your courage to forgive him and you just set yourself free as well. Sharing your real life experience is a relief; Thanks and stay blessed.

    1. Perfect. Thank you for taking time to comment. Yes, “such is life” I haven’t heard that phrase in a long time. 😁 yes, I think he has realized his mistakes. They finally got divorced, but til this day he still thinks they never got divorced. I have a 100 more stories. Bless us ALL. Ty for admiration, as I admire your courage. Blogging with this team is a dream come true. I’m grateful for the opportunity. #keepwriting

  10. I liked the quote “fogiveness doesn’t make you weak, it sets you free.” You’ve stated it correctly, do as you have always seen or do something totally opposite. We have the strength to make choose for our betterment. What a strong and power packed post.

    1. Ty Sadaf. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. We certainly have lots of choices in life. It’s imperative to start calculating our steps very early. I am who I am because of both of my parents. Eventhough I described a tumultuous time, I wouldn’t be who I am without going through the tough times. They definitely makes US stronger. Peace #keepwriting

  11. Thank you for sharing this story with us. Revealing family secrets is really hard, I know. It opens up a lot of hurts and feelings we thought we’ve forgotten a long time ago only to find them still messing up with our present but they say it’s the first step towards healing – to acknowledge our past hurts and feelings. Indeed, a lot of people or women can relate to this story. I admire your courage!

    1. Thank you Mylene <3 . Yes, indeed. I didn't realize how much this still bothered me. I didn't realize that it was still a hidden secret that I didn't want to come out, but it was overdue. I sincerely appreciate your comments.

  12. You are a survivor in true sense. My parents had a falling out and it took me years to forgive them for what they did to me and my sister. I can understand how much strength that takes. You’re a bigger person than I ever was and for that I solute you.
    Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry for what you had to face growing up but I’m also really happy that you found your strength and inner peace in forgiving your father.
    God bless.

    1. Awe, thank you. I truly appreciate and respect your response. I really wish people took time to plan having kids. If they have issues, work on them first. Don’t bring kids into a relationship where you know you have issues. It’s horrible. I thank GOD I made a stance to never put my kids in that situation. My kids live a cushy life. It’s kinds sad sometimes that they don’t know what it’s like to have turmoil. They will have their own challenges. My daughter is an actress and she had to audition for the part of a child with a mother that was drunk at her bday party. She didn’t have a clue how that would have upset and embarrassed her. Oh well, better than than what I went through. I’m glad you forgave your parents as well. It’s difficult, but it’s for us and not them. Thank you again for commenting. It really means a log.

      1. I agree with you 100% reproducing isn’t mandatory for married couples. What’s the point of bringing a child into a world you’re going to ruin for them. That is unfair to the kids Cz they never learn to let go of the past. It ends up defining them.
        I’ve been told to get over it but it’s not easy. These things stay with you.
        Your kids are protected from all this. You saved them from what you went through. They’ve been blessed with safety in that sense.

        1. Absolutely. Thank you. You are one of the reasons I enjoy blogging. We get it. 💟 btw: no one should ever say ” get over it” we all have to deal differently and on our own time clock. Ugh 💟Appreciate you.

          1. Exactly. Same here! Much love to you. ❤️ God bless.

  13. You mother is beautiful.
    I am sorry Camilla that you had to go through what you have been through.
    You are a brave person. Because you are here, with your head held high and telling your story to us. You are just amazing !
    Good luck to you dear <3

    1. Hi Tajwar, Thank you so much for reading/listening to my post. It was difficult to finally tell after all the years. My apologies for not responding. I didn’t notice this response. Ty for the compliment on my mom as well. She was a beautiful person inside/out. Appreciate you my friend =D

  14. Thanks a lot for sharing your story🤗🤗. I’m sorry you had to go through this but I’m glad you came out strong above it all!

    1. Hey Mariam, thank you so much. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Yes, it was horrible. I finally decided to tell my story because I felt someone else needed to hear it. XOXO

  15. […] Camilla Motte @ Moms on the Go: Finding Strength Through Witnessing Physical Abuse […]

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