Hidden Hurt Domestic Abuse Information

Letter to the Past

A letter to the past written by the grown up woman to her mother who chose to stay in an abusive relationship, showing what could have been avoided had the mother chosen to leave the abusive relationship when the children were still young.

Dear Mammy

I know when you get this you will be shocked, after all I am only seven in your time now! But I am writing this from the future and I am actually in my thirties mammy! And a mammy of two gorgeous children - the you that you are then would love being their granny... but that's why I'm writing to you mammy, because today I had to make a final decision, a decision that I have made before but went back on. A decision which has torn me apart and broken my heart beyond any comprehension.

I was thinking how I would love the future me to write me a letter and tell me if I am doing the right thing, what will be the outcome? Then I remembered, you had to make a decision too, a decision that could have changed everything and could mean that I would never have think about making my difficult decision today - so I'm writing to you to tell you to change your mind, be brave, walk away from that pig that controls you, that hurts you, that hurts us - your children.

I can imagine your dilemma; I can feel your fear. Where will you go? What if he finds you? He said he will always find you, he said you'd never manage with no money, he said he's the only one that will love you and you'll never manage, he said we (your children) will hate you, he said there was no point in trying to find a new house because he will find you and he will burn it .... and you....and us.

Mammy I know you are scared, I know you are unsure, so am I then mammy - so frightened. We know what he can do, we know he will try and do it - he is unpredictable and maybe you think well then it's better to stay, maybe he will stop, maybe you are over reacting, maybe we are better off having a daddy, he goes to work and earns a keep, it doesn't happen every day - it was probably your fault, maybe he was right and you were nagging him, maybe he's right we were making noise on purpose to annoy him or maybe I did smirk at him - NOOOOOO Mammy - you are so wrong - HE WILL NOT STOP, HE WILL GET WORSE, HE WILL HURT YOU, HE WILL HURT US, HE IS NOT RIGHT, YOU DID NOTING WRONG, WE DID NOTING WRONG, YOU WILL LOSE YOURSELF and now mammy YOU HAVE LOST US. There are people who will help you, when you are reading this you know this, you must know you have family, you have friends, people will support you - you are strong and we want you to do this so badly, save yourself mammy, save us mammy.

I have to think of my own family now - I have to think safety, security, love and care. I have to keep them from him..... what I've struggled to accept is I have to keep them from you too- not the you that you are when you are reading this letter - my beautiful, gentle, loving and caring mammy, my mammy who makes decisions and is fun and feeds and clothes me, I have to keep them from what you have become - what he has made you.

You are just a shell now, you are not yourself, you get everything muddled up, you are a tool for him in his little evil game of manipulation and his web of lies. He knows people love you and not him, he has been grinding you down for decades - he's hurt you in ALL those ways mammy and I know, I heard, I seen and I felt.

The times I jumped from my sleep and hear the noises start, the shouting the roaring, then the bangs and then the screams, I get my system going I get my little brother and sister and bring them into my bed and tell them it's ok, I get them to sing or read out loud .... But they hear too, they are scared too, they cry and I want to make it ok for them, I don't want them to feel like me, I have to make it better for them. They follow me to the floor listening to the floorboards when it goes quiet to make sure we can hear your voice - to make sure this time isn't the time he kills you - we are scared mammy - we need you. They follow me to the top of the stairs we are all holding our breath, I am shaking to the core, literally wobbling around the corner of the top of the stairs, I am afraid to breathe. I peer round and I see, I don't know what comes over me, I'm not scared, I'm angry, my face is hot with rage and tears. I hate him, he can't do this to you, he can't hurt my mammy. I scream and I'm at the bottom of the stairs in a few steps, I launch myself on him and the throws me off and I push and pull and bite and the grabs me by the throat and you get up and run. He's holding me there by the throat 4ft of the ground against the wall, he is shouting in my face and his stinking spit splatters round my face, I can't hear him, I don't care, I hate him, I love you, you are safe. He drops me and storms out the front door. I am stunned and holding my breath again until I hear the car skidding off, then I know he is gone and we are safe - for now. We go to bed.

The next day is always the same - like nothing ever happened, we all act like nothing happened. He never apologises, he never says it won't happen again, I'm glad he's not mentioning it, I'm glad he isn't going to be angry at me for jumping on him, I'm scared again but everything is normal again and will be for a few, days, a few weeks and sometimes a few months.

But that won't be the last time, it's happened before. Sometimes it was one of us he has started the fight with and mostly it was you. It was always somebodies fault other than him, the time I didn't come back in time from my friends house for dinner and the bastard kicked and battered me - I didn't know how to tell the time - I was five! The time he kicked you in the belly when you were pregnant, the time he kicked me the head for looking in his eyes and then there's what's going to happen if you don't take my advice in this letter today, the New Years Eve with the baseball bat when he will bruise my whole thigh, there's the time he throws my sister down the stairs, there's the times he will throw the scalding tea in a temper, around us all at the table and again at you and my sister, there's the times you don't leave the house for days to hide black eyes, there's all the times one of us has pissed him off for creaking the floorboard passing his room, for saying the wrong thing, and his favourite - for having a smirk, there's the time when I found you unconscious after he threw you down the stairs. There's the times I can't even yet say or type about - even as a grown adult now.

Look at me now mammy as a seven year old and look at my brother and sister - is that what you want to happen? There is no point in saying any of this to the you that you have become. It is too late. I don't even hate him anymore for any of these things. I still have nightmares and I am still a very jumpy and nervous person, but I honestly see it as what's been done, in the past and something that I never wanted to drag up.

I never told anyone, I got on well at school, I loved school, it was my sanctuary. I went to university and worked my OWN way through and got loans up to my eyeballs, but I did it, I did it and I was happy to get away and to escape. I was finally free.... I could pretend I was normal, I could ignore the fact it was still going on, I still wished you would leave, but I was selfish and I looked after me and I was happy. I might not have had my parents coming to visit like everyone else's, it was my friends parents who helped me move into my new life, I was independent and I was never going back.

Life is like a kaleidoscope and changes in a simple turn. My life leads me to be geographically back to living in the same town - I am thrown back in the midst of your crazy life, I don't want to be, I try to avoid you as much as possible whilst keeping up the persona that I am a successful person from this lovely family who doesn't cry herself to sleep or jump out of her skin at the slightest thing. You move house every six months (are the neighbours in your new houses hearing more than he would like?), you are drinking yourself into oblivion (you hardly drink at all when we are little) and people I hardly know are stopping me and asking what's going on, telling me you are falling off bar stools and crying and fighting. I confront you and you attack me, you hate me. You scream that I am ungrateful, you take claim for all my hard work - you put me through uni? You supported me? It's so far from the truth it churns my stomach. Other fights are going on between you both and my brother and sister as well. You think we want money? You think we are being pukes for questioning your drinking. I know you are vulnerable and I know that these are his words and his ideas and you are completely incapable of forming a lucid thought of your own and you are vile in your words and behaviour.

The straw that broke the camel's back. He takes it public - he attacks another woman, It is HIM that takes it public, up to now I say nothing, to my closest friends, my partner, our family - I've not said a word. What do we do now? He is arrested and my sister talks to you appeals to you - now is the chance, surely now you can leave, we will hide you, we will help you. You agree!! My sister rings me, we are relieved and happy - maybe now things will change.

But then he gets out and you tell him our plan - he is angry, very angry. I am sitting with my partner and I am heavily pregnant, he is suddenly thumping and kicking at my front door and banging on the window. An old but very familiar feeling sweeps over me - the shaking, the breath holding , the indescribable fear, he's going to hurt my baby, he can't hurt my baby or my partner - I have to save them. I call the police for the first time in my life to hear that they are already at my sister's house after he's tried to get her - she is trying to ring me to warn me. I can't stay at my house anytime I'm on my own and have to stay in friends or my sisters. Several other incidents happen and including you drunk screaming at my sister's house about how you should have had an abortion and then you end up being arrested. I didn't even know about this until the next day - no one (except you and your husband) want me to be stressed at the late stage of my pregnancy. My sister and I move houses we avoid you both - we try to get on with life but it's been hard, every few months there's another flare up. I even try and let you meet your grandchildren, I contact you to do this, I organise it and I don't drag up the past but then the drunkenness happens and the phone calls and public rants about your awful daughters who excluded you from baptisms and weddings - in particular it's me - It was my fault you were arrested at my sister's house? It was me that rang the police when your husband tried to attack her in town? I'm easy to blame - people think I'm a terrible person , getting all this imaginary support and money and getting myself a good job and apparently looking down on you, keeping you from the grandchildren that you haven't even bothered about? Who doesn't speak to their own mother and father? I turned my sister against you?? Some people believe you.

NO - This is not the truth, this is not me. The people I care about know me and know the things you say are not true. I cannot go back to my "good" job. I lost all confidence and self-esteem - I felt depressed and needed help with that. But this is my decision today - I'm not having it anymore. I'm rebuilding my self-esteem, I am such a brilliant mammy, I love and protect and care for my children with every fibre of my being, I'm making a new career that you can't possibly claim to have created (not that you had any right to claim the last), I am dumping you both out of my life and what's important this time - out of my head. He lived in my head all this time, you live in my head, I get on with things but the fear is there all the time - up to now. Now it is relegated, it is vamoosed, it is declassified and let go .... Maybe if your reading this today as your young self, frightened and uncertain, you will decide to stop the fear in your life from getting to me, you can make it vamoose and shrink and disappear. You can make it. You are stronger than you think and you can get help.

I love the you that you are reading this nearly 30 years ago, I wish you would make the right decision.

Your daughter

Return from Letter to the Past to Domestic Violence Poetry

In This Section:

Related Pages:

Personal Domestic Violence Stories
DV and Children
Daisy's Story
Children and DV
Children witnessing DV

Recommended Reading:

When Dad Hurts Mom. This is a must-read for any woman with children still in or finally out of an abusive marriage. He covers the myriad of ways in which children witnessing domestic violence are affected, the prejudice in the legal establishments and the patriartic world has made the life of female and child victims of abuse difficult. And then he gives you tips on how to conquer this situation and help heal our kids from the trauma of witnessing abuse:

To order in the US: When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse

To order in the UK: When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse

Lundy Bancroft has written what is probably the most comprehensive and readable book on domestic violence, the beliefs of the abuser and the dynamics of abuse. This truly is a MUST READ for anyone seriously trying to understand domestic abuse and how to cope with an abusive relationship:

To order in the US: Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men

To order in the UK: Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men

Click on the donate botton below to support Hidden Hurt. Thanks you.

UK National Domestic Violence Freephone number 0808 2000 247


The long-awaited book from our very own Steve from the Hidden Hurt Message Forum as finally arrived!


Have you ever gone out with someone who seemed perfect at first, but ended up being a nightmare? Do you find yourself falling in love but ending up feeling disrespected and used? Would you like to make sure that something like that never happens to you (or someone you care about) again? If so, this book is written for you. There are lots of books about how to tell if you're in an abusive relationship. This is book will keep you from getting into one in the first place. Jerk Radar will help you see how a Jerk takes advantage of common cultural expectations and romantic myths to blind you to his true intentions. It will give you concrete ways to test out his intentions in the course of a normal conversation. And the Jerk Radar Quiz provides an effective tool to screen every partner for Jerky tendencies well before obviously selfish behavior emerges. Full of true stories from abuse survivors, Jerk Radar pulls no punches in exposing what Jerks do and why we fall for it. This is a useful, down-to-earth, practical guide to avoiding a bad relationship instead of recovering from one. Read it today - it just may change your life!

To order in the US: Jerk Radar: How to Stop an Abusive Relationship Before It Starts

To order in the UK:Jerk Radar: How to Stop an Abusive Relationship Before It Starts

Steve McCrea, MS, has worked for over 20 years with survivors of domestic abuse and their children. He has participated in many local collaboartive projects on domestic abuse, and has provided community trainings on working effectively with domestic abuse survivors. He currently works as an advocate for children in the foster care system. He has volunteered for the past 9 years as facilitator for an on-line abuse survivor community, whose members contributed most of the stories in the book.

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