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I’ve Grown Up Seeing My Parents Fight. Please Don’t Do This To Your Kids

Posted: June 14, 2017

Watching your parents fight can be traumatic for children of all ages. Read this heartfelt note from a young woman and stop – just stop. 

For someone who has had a rather secure kind of attachment with her own parents, the mere thought of watching my parents fight in front of me, and the unimaginable horror of letting those fights affect me, are bone-chilling, to say the least. However, some children actually have to go through the trauma of seeing their parents fight.

Here’s an appeal from one of my friends, who, unfortunately, goes through something as horrible, for the lack of a better word, as this.

As shared with me.

Okay, so here’s a big confession. Probably I’m going to be grounded for the rest of my life if ever my parents come across this, because this is all so true.

I belong to a middle class family. My parents are in the field of education, so naturally you’d expect them to be ultra liberal and of an accommodating nature; nurturing and caring for their child in an environment where the child can easily develop and sustain an emotional attachment towards the parents. Making sure that the child never gets to see any negativity in terms of parental discord, judgementalism, or comparison with cousins or other children. And ensuring that no matter what, the child never develops an inferiority complex and if by chance that happens, making sure that the child comes out of it through constant support and encouragement.

This is typically what anyone would expect from a teacher couple to bring up their children.

And the fundamental thing, of course, not ever fighting with each other, or backbiting about each other or each other’s family in front of the child. But alas, every Indian parent is an expert at doing that.

No amount of education, no kind of occupation and nothing with regards to the effect of their open quarrels in front of their children can make them see how badly they are wronging their children.

Yeah, my parents fight. On a daily basis. I’ve grown up seeing them fight. My first attempt at suicide was when I was a mere 9 y.o. All because they were fighting. And add to it the fact, that I started blaming myself. I internalised it all and blamed myself. Ever since the blaming hasn’t stopped, neither has their fighting nor my attempts. One of the worst things? I made my former impressions of most of my relatives based on my parents’ stigmas. Ma doesn’t like this paternal aunt/uncle/cousin – I must hate them, too. Dad hates this maternal uncle/aunt/cousin – why the fuck should I love them?

So, yeah, at the age where I was still entitled to ride on my uncles’ shoulders, eat yummy food cooked by aunts and play with my cousins, I let my parents’ judgement get the better of me.

I don’t blame them, though. My belief in the institution of marriage broke down when I was still at an age where girls play house- house. I never desired to be anyone’s wife or girlfriend. Because marriage, to me means fighting and blaming and hating your spouse, their family and every fibre of their being. However, hell, never even thinking that I actually would, I fell in love with someone and I blew it because of my insecurities – deep set within the most of my childhood memories.

For the past few days, I have become totally disoriented. I can’t focus on anything, can’t eat or sleep. Am always looking for excuses to drink. Have stopped talking to most of my friends and if ever I do talk to them, I just get pissed off at them for no reason at all.

The past few days, I can tell, I need to see someone – a counselor maybe.

I’ve tried telling that to the parents, but obviously, Indian parents do not believe in the concept of mental illness. Depression and suicidal ideation do not exist in their dictionary.

It’s not okay if the child begs you to stop fighting – the child has lost all sanskaars; it’s completely okay, however, to fight in front of them and make your differences obvious to the child.

And if the child begins to drift apart, talks back or do stuff that only ‘bigde huye bacche’ (spoilt kids) do, it’s all the child’s fault. The child is mannerless.

I’m not writing all this to get sympathy from anyone, I just want to request those who are parents or are going to become parents, do whatever you may, but don’t ever fight in front of your children. It may not seem like it, but it affects them, at the bottom most level and it is enough to shake their beliefs, their innocence and everything that makes them what they are – your children!

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Just your average pen-wielding person with a knack for thinking inside the box.

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  1. Sanchit Agarwal -

    Hi Apoorva,

    Just wanted to let you know that this story of your’s really resonated with mine’s. I also have parents who constantly fight every single day. It was so ugly that I had gone into depression and got suicidal. Even now when I am trying to make them see the brighter side of the world they wouldn’t just listen. Typical indian parents.

    Glad to know that I am not alone in this situation. So is you

    • Prashant Kundu -

      oh.. my parents then..
      my father is a asshole and ill-mannered, my mother is quite a emotionally intelligent & well behaved lady.
      he (father) just making ours lives miserable.. since childhood.
      I’m 23 yrs old.. maybe soon i’ll be employed and take mother with me, but all these 23 years that we suffered (still suffering) can’t repair damage.
      I used to cry so much each day, so much after every fight thinking about my mother that all this trauma took me away from my academic goals and ofcrs i lacked behind.
      while i’m writing this situation is still the same.. that scary silence.. it scares me really..
      suicidal thoughts are so common since early age that they can’t be explained in words.
      just hoping for something good to happen…

    • hey friends,
      I have been dealing with same situation from last 25 years . It stopped for a while when i was in graduation but in childhood and now since last 4 years , time by time things are getting worse . I thought it might be okay with time but i am only seeing more hatred in them for each other. Cherry on top is after releasing their anger and frustration over each other , they act like nothing happened.Like we all are insulated from all these and whatever they will do , it should not affect us.But whats the point of all this ? I feel myself stuck , depressed and helpless. Sometimes its just too hard to ignore. Sometimes I just cant take it.

    • Hii Prashant kundu,

      each and every word you said is just same as mine.my father drinks and comes home every day and just starts fighting with my mom,and my mom is the nicest person i have ever seen,but my father he just keeps making our lives miserable each every day.these fights(harsh words,bad words,the most dirtiest and ugliest words and swearing at each other,sometimes physically)is just too much.I am too 23 yrs old and this has been going on for the last 23 yrs.i have never seen my parents talk nicely to each other,i never had the opportunity in my life to go on a trip or fun places with my parents, not even once.they are just busy fighting with each other every day.it still goes on to this date.I am just waiting to get a proper job then i will buy a separate house and take my mom with me.I just prayer each and every day to god to solve my parents problem and keep them happy.

    • It gets better, my friend, all you have to do sometimes is to just let them be adults, let them handle their issues in their own way. Intervention from children does not work in every instance, because every child resonates more with one parent only. If the child start taking sides, things get worse- for the child himself/herself, for the parents and the rest of the family, too.
      I apologise for the late reply, but trust me when I say this, it all gets better. 🙂

  2. Hi folks,
    I could relate my life with this post more. Even me afraid to get married after suffering from all this traumas.

    • Apoorva Verma -

      Seeing something like this throughout your childhood can lead to this kind of response. It’s completely understandable. But know that you are not either of your parents, you are you, a distinct individual. If you were able to recognise and acknowledge the trauma you faced due to their behaviour and interactions, you already are on the road to be a more kinder and compassionate person. Our parental role models do affect our own interactions with our own child, but you can choose the direction in the sense that now you know what you don’t want to be like. Take baby steps. And don’t ever do anything that you feel you are unnecessarily being pressured to do. You’re a kind soul, may God bless you!

  3. I’m 25 years old and I’m going through the same thing. Although my parents do not fight all the time but when they do it is so intense. My mom is so sweet and she has emotional needs that all women have. my father does not understand whatsoever. He thinks he always right, he has no feelings. He is so in control of everything and he is rude. I never knew that a lot of my personality issues came from their fighting . I only knew that when I got older: I hate marriage, I don’t wanna have kids, I’m so insecure and always feel like I’m not enough just like my father makes my mother feel. I’m hesitant and I trust no one. I don’t think I know how to love.. and now I’m in a serious relationship and can not know for sure where I want to take it, I’m not sure it is a healthy relationship or not….

  4. Minoo Vasudevan -

    Hi Apoorva!

    You and I are literally the same person. My belief in the institution of marriage also broke down due to similar underlying family issues that you mentioned, and other past issues in my personal life. I grew from the Bollywood-loving hopeless romantic with a dream of a fairytale wedding, to the most cynical person you’d meet when it comes to love, commitment or marriage.

    I have developed a fear of commitment as well. The thought of even getting closer to someone more than a friend scares me. Now I have a dream to move to an apartment in New York with a good career, and a puppy. I will be satisfied after that! I could go on and on, but I’ll stop there for now. You can always reach out to me, and I’d definitely love to discuss our thoughts on this topic further with you!

    I don’t think anyone could put our situation better than how you did in this article!

    Minoo <3

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