Two Kids and A Fish’s eldest daughter was twenty-one when her marriage ended and it was only after it had ended that Two Kids And a Fish learned that her ex’s treatment of their daughter was much worse than she previously knew. Although her eldest has very little contact with her father today, she’s at risk of repeating the cycle of violence. I asked Two Kids And A Fish to talk about how she thinks the divorce and the domestic violence has affected her daughter. Here’s Two Kids and A Fish:
[contemplate1] She is a very independent, strong-willed, stubborn kid. She’s a lot like her father in some respects, some of her attitudes and her strength like, “I don’t need anybody,” “I’m fine,” “I’m a survivor,” and whatever. However, it’s affected the way she chooses her partners.
She was engaged briefly. He was just like her father. I saw it right away but she couldn’t see it, not until she moved in with him for less than 24 hours. That night, that first night with him she saw it. It became crystal clear that she had chosen a man who was exactly like her father.
I think that fathers have such an influence on the type of men their daughters choose and I don’t think they realize it. I have seen it firsthand. I’ve seen the difference in how a father who treats his daughter and loves her, and respects her, and instills great values and morals. I’ve seen that then transition to that daughter becoming a woman and choosing someone to be in a healthy relationship with as opposed to, for instance, my daughter who wasn’t raised in a loving environment, right. The difference in the types of guys that she’s chosen is night and day.
You talk till you’re blue in the face and most of the time they don’t want to hear it, but there will be that day when they come to you and they say, “Mom, you were right.” That’s the day you wait for and you pray for. You pray for that day to come. You prefer sooner rather than later. But eventually, with any luck that day does come.
The day of her moving out, she came to me and said, “I think I’m making the biggest mistake of my life.” And then she left anyway. It broke my heart.
Then the next morning she came back and said, “Mom, can I move back in?”
She saw the light. To me it didn’t matter, she saw the light, she realized. She said, “He’s just like my dad.” I knew that! That’s what I’d been telling her the whole time. He was just like her father.
You just hope that she doesn’t make the same mistake again. It’s so hard. You can change a man but you can’t really change your kids. You can try and relate to them and you mold them as much as you can, but once they get to a certain age, it’s not easy to change them.
The cycle of violence refers to the pattern of behavior between an abuser and the victim. There’s also an inter-generational cycle of violence when children can learn both types of behavior from their parents. Given the history of abuse experienced by Two Kids And A Fish and her daughter, her daughter was/is at risk of falling into this cycle. However, she has a strong role model in her mother who by making the choice to end her marriage sent a message to both her daughters that abusive behavior is never acceptable.
The links above are to Two Kids And a Fish’s blog – I encourage you to read the posts about her daughter. Any parent of a teenager knows that there are times it’s like watching a movie you’ve seen before. You know the ending but you just have to watch it play out.
Two Kids and A Fish’s daughter was fortunate to realize so quickly that her fiancè was like her father. Perhaps it was so obvious because of the abuse. Other times it isn’t so clear. I knew my ex was similar to my dad in some ways – they were both very practical men but it wasn’t until I was going through the Fit4Love dating coaching that I saw other less desirable similarities, such as their communication styles. That was eye-opening and knowing that means that one of my top ten values in a potential partner is communication.
Are there traits and characteristics that your ex or STBX shares with your father that you’ve only recently realized?
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