Submitted by: Dante B.
*WARNING: sensitive content/trigger warning. Please be advised before continuing*
I never thought as a black man, I would be typing this story out loud... but here I am...vulnerable... and wanting to tell my story... Ms. B said this was a safe space during our group therapy sessions called "Barbershop Talks", and someone needs to hear my story...
WELL WHAT HAD HAPPENED WAS:
"Since I' was young, I've always wondered why my daddy did the things he did to my mom. One minute I would hear "son, this is how you're supposed to treat a woman", while they were slowing dancing in the living room. And the next moment, he's slapping her across the room because she didn't feed into his ego. And this is all I knew for a few years; toxic love.
I could tell my mom was over their relationship and she had enough of the abuse; you could see it in her face. A few times she fought back too. And one day, she looked at me and said "Pack a bag, we are leaving. This isn't love son, and I'll be damned if you think this is okay to treat your future woman because it's not. And if you do, I hope she leaves you like I'm leaving him."
What my mom didn't know was, I would never hit a woman, I was afraid to step on a spider; let alone harm a beautiful person I am supposed to love. I did what she told me to and when we both had packed what we could immediately grab, you could hear the key turning in the front door. We both looked at each other terrified.
I immediately snatched my mom's bag and ran into my room, and tossed it out the back window. My window was near the back gate, we could make a run for it eventually and grab our stuff. I knew I needed to act fast; it was my turn to protect my mother while she was trying to protect me.
My mom greeted my dad, and he brushed her off. You could tell he was upset about something and didn't want to be bothered... like extremely agitated, making us both nervous. He started pacing the room and yelled about how he got fired today. And in that moment I knew my mother was going to be his target, and so did she. As he kept yelling, he looked up at her with rage, like she was the reason he was going through. He immediately start walking in her direction.
"DAD!", i screamed and he just looked at her like I just knocked him out of a trance.
"What boy?!" he shouted. "Why don't you just relax!... let .. let us go get you some food and beer and that'll make you feel better right mama?"
My mom nodded multiple times and started slowly walking to grab her keys. "Yes suga, I'll get all your favorites to cheer you up. Why don't you shower and we will be right back. We can figure this out together."
My dad will NEVER turn down a beer, no matter how angry he is. You could see him slowly relax his breathing and posture, thinking about the cold beer more than beating the warm blood out of my mom's face. He shooed us off and kept walking to his bedroom door. He slammed the door behind him and we immediately took off to the front door. While mother sped walked to her car, I ran to our belongings. Each time my foot here the ground I see memories, good and bad, of my dad flashing before my eyes. We were really leaving.. I wasn't sad either, just anxious.. but once I grabbed our bags and did a quick turn to make a run back to the car, fear jolted through my body. I completely forgot my parent's window was over mine, with the same view.
I could see him peeking out of the window as I was making a run back to mom's car.. and then I could clearly see his face. As I was running and looking back, I looked at his face hard. And I hope that he could see me stare into his soul wondering WHY??!!
Why couldn't you always be loving and kind to mom? She was a good, praying woman. Why did you stop taking her out? When did you start becoming so mad and angry? Why couldn't you just love US right... my dad was neglectful towards me to in many ways, but never physically abusive. I just couldn't understand after all the chances my mom gave him to change, why didn;'t he change for the better? This was his fault we were escaping.
As I buckled up and preparing to never look back, a small tear fell down my cheek. I knew we weren't coming back to him or this house; not on these terms. As mom drove off, you could see her breathe a little easier with every mile we hit. And she silently cried, the further we got away from what we knew.
That was years ago... Now that I am a little older, I feel safe to recover from that experience. I forgave my dad, but chose to have minimum contact with him, especially on behalf of my mother. I found mentors I trust and look up to.. and I have my first girlfriend. I watch my every move and emotion, just to be aware of possible responses in certain situations. I pray that I never turn out the way he did, losing my family because I couldn't control myself.
Thank you for you submission Dante. It takes guts to open up with a story like this; I know it's not easy. But I am beyond proud of you and how far you've come. Do not forget, you have a village that cares for you, and a strong network of black men that is here for you no matter what. You are strong, gentle, and intelligent; all amazing characteristics a man should have.
National Domestic Violence Hotline:
Available 24 Hours A Day/7 Days A Week
Available in English Spanish, and MORE! Interpretation Services are available.
Help with Domestic Violence Information, Options, Counseling, Legal and Shelter Services
Toll FREE: 24hrs. Confidential and Multilingual
Alcoholism & Drug Dependency Hope Line: (800) 622-2255
The National Runaway Safeline: 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929)
Provides advice and assistance to runaways, including resources, shelter, transportation, assistance in finding counseling, and transitioning back to home life. NRS frontline staff will also act as advocates and mediators if/as needed
If you need assistance getting counseling services, please utilize the Mental Health tab of the website or email us what counseling services you require and your zip code. We are here to help!
If you can relate to this submitted story, comment and share your own #WWHHW moment.