Different feelings

Here are some of the feelings that children and young people have experienced because of domestic violence. Have you ever… 

Felt sad – “I felt sad most of the time. Sad because my mum was getting hurt and sad because we had to move a lot to get away from him and I was always leaving my friends.” 

Felt angry – “I was angry at both my mum and dad – angry at my dad for hurting my mum; angry at my mum for staying with my dad. I punched a kid at school once because I was so angry with everything.” 

Felt lonely – “I felt lonely a lot. Being at home was stressful and I didn’t think I could talk to anyone about my worries. I wrote in my diary a lot.” 

Felt scared – “The fighting got worse and worse every time. One time, he pushed me to the ground as well. I was scared every day that he’d do that again.” 

Felt ashamed – “I didn’t want other kids in my school to know about the violence at home. I didn’t want them to know my mum was hitting my dad. I just wanted to be normal and felt ashamed of my family.” 

Felt like the fighting was my fault – “I remember one time I got in trouble at school for being late again. That night my parents had a row. My dad said if I behaved better he wouldn’t be so stressed out and wouldn’t have to fight with my mum. I really felt like the violence was my fault.” 

Felt confused – “After an argument my mum would take us and leave home for the night. The next day she’d take us all back to him. I didn’t understand – it was really confusing.” 

Had trouble concentrating at school – “My mum and her girlfriend usually argued at night, when they thought we were asleep. I would wake up because of the shouting. I could never fall asleep and it was really difficult paying attention at school the next day.” 

Felt afraid your mum wouldn’t be ok on her own – “I was always scared that mum would get hurt when I was at school. I hated going to school because I didn’t want to leave her.” 

Had stomach aches – “I had stomach aches all the time. It got to the point that my teacher asked me if anything was worrying me. That’s when I told her about my step-dad hitting my mum. It felt good to tell someone.” 

Had scary dreams – “For a long time after we left him and moved away I would wake up in the middle of the night from really bad dreams about the violence. My mum was great – she would come to my bed and stroke my hair, telling me I was safe.” 

Had to switch schools a lot – “We moved around a lot to get away from him. The most difficult thing about that was to keep changing schools. I hated it. I got really behind.” 

Had to move to a refuge – “The hardest thing about moving to a refuge was not being able to see my friends. But I made new friends in the refuge and at my new school.” 

Had to keep the fighting a family secret – “I didn’t tell anyone about my worries at home for years. My parents always said it was a secret and I shouldn’t tell. It made me feel sad a lot – not being able to tell.” 

Felt like a parent to younger siblings – “My mum’s got so much stress with my step-dad that usually I get my younger brothers and sisters up, get them ready for school and make them breakfast. At night I put them to bed, too. Sometimes I feel like a parent. I love them, but it’s a lot to deal with.” 

Felt scared all of the time – “I don’t know when it started, but I feel scared all the time. I’m scared to go to school on my own and scared to talk to anyone I don’t know. I always think something bad’s going to happen.” 

Felt you had to protect your mum/brother/sister – “My oldest brother ran away from home, so I’m the only boy in the house now. I’m 6 years old. Every time there’s a fight, I feel like I have to be strong and stop the fight so my mum and my sisters don’t get hurt.”