Mom was a very, very difficult person. And she knew how to press Dad’s buttons. On more then one occasion I saw Dad explode in anger. But he never laid a finger on Mom. Ever. As a matter of fact, I would observe Dad move into another room or outside and blow off steam. Alcohol never played a role in their encounters.
I don’t think that we, his sons, ever consciously thought about Dad’s physical restraint toward Mom. We never discussed it. It just was the way it was.
And we never witnessed domestic abuse when visiting other homes. A lot of that had to do with a lack of alcohol abuse in the homes we felt comfortable in.
In all my years of growing up, I never witnessed anything between any adults of the opposite sex that caused me great concern.
Things changed once I got married. I married an alcoholic from a family of alcoholics. She was not only an alcoholic, she was a violent one (toward me, never toward my son). I was a much bigger person then her, so I was usually able to control her aggression without hitting her. This didn’t stop her from digging her nails deep into my arm flesh. I might still have scars from that.
Did I think about striking back? Always. The urge to knock her out was something I struggled with. So I, who was sober, got in my car and drove away, often with my son in tow.
And I kept driving, mile after mile, till I felt that danger passed (when I thought she might have passed out).
This ludicrous ritual went on for years. Miraculously, our son not only survived but thrived and is a high functioning adult. But things did not turn out well for my wife- she sustained permanent brain damage from alcohol abuse and is institutionalized, probably forever.
I write this story because of the ongoing domestic abuse case involving football player Ray Rice and his fiance at that time.
The biggest conclusion reporters have come to is that hitting a woman is never OK. And it never is.
I think my late father would attest to that.