Parents fighting

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  • I’m assuming from another thread (child punishment) there’s quite a few of us who didn’t have too rough a childhood. We all got through it anyway. That’s how it should be. :D We can all fuck up (make mistakes) from time to time and it’s natural for kids to test the boundaries.

    What us, as kids can’t be blamed for or really have any control over, is the physical, verbal altercations our parents might have had between themselves while raising a family.

    I swore that I wouldn’t bring physical violence/altercations into my own family life after experiencing it living with my mother and father. I’m coming up to 60 and I honestly thought most of us at onetime or another heard/saw our parents arguing or worse, fighting. I know I did and it started at a very early age. Probably at the time my memories start.

    My dad was a bit of a rough, tough drinking teddy boy. He didn’t come from a violent home, but grew up in that home where he was called upon to (put his fighting skills to use). Neighbours (wives of drunks) often called at my grandmothers home, asking for my dad to go and calm down (put to bed) the drunks. This was in a South Yorkshire mining village, on the outskirts of Barnsley in the late 1950/60’s. He got the job done too. He gave drunks a choice. “Go through the door and to bed, respect your wife or through your window and be put to sleep”. It was such a regular occurrence. He was the one local residents called on.

    When us kids came along he moved into a house with my mum and she being a stunning hippy chick. Trouble was never far away when out drinking in clubs/pubs or out patching. Dad would not fight in front of mum in these establishments and would leave with mum. Returning shortly afterwards with a pick axe handle, where bones got broke. I think I was 3 or 4, I can remember on many occasions being woken up at night and then waiting downstairs in my white vest and pants, with my brother and younger sister. While the police tried to find a safe house (willing neighbours) before arresting dad, as mum was in no fit state (scared) to look after us and deal with my dad. I often recall images of broken furniture. Fist holes in the walls and front door. I remember how scared us kids were, scared for ourselves, for mum and daft as it sounds, scared for dad.

    Years later we moved South, where dad found his regular drinking hole was frequented by dickheads from all walks of life. Dad would often return home with his poaching jacket ripped, he would sleep off the ale in the armchair and mum would let us know “he’s been fighting again” Dad wouldn’t take shit from up and coming hard men, or goby landowners (gamekeepers) but he was generally fair. He didn’t look for the fight, just finished them. As teenagers, dad would warn us against going in the dustbin. He’d tell us he’d taken a gun or a knife off someone and cut it up. It’s in the bin, don’t touch

    As I got older, every other year mum and dad would be arguing and it got out of hand. Though us kids hoped it would fizzle out, sometimes it was the smashing of glass and breaking wood, along with mum screaming and shouting that upset us most. Being the middle kid, I was best placed to break up the fights. Once or twice I would stand in between them. Mum held against a door with a knife in her hand (blood marks on the paintwork (mum not holding knife right, not a stabbing) I always took mums side and would shout “leave her alone bastard”. This really worked. To see hear your own kids so upset, that they stand up to you in all your rage and craziness. Several times mum left dad, separating for several weeks at a time. That was horrible. Having to choose between them. Several times I opted to leave with mum. Once ending up in Durham with some distant relatives. As I got older. I chose to stay with dad. I had grown to realise, mum gave as good as she got. Mum knew his triggers, but pulled them anyway. They stayed together until dad died at 57. The arguments became less often, the silent treatment lasted longer. Us kids grew up and moved out.

    Years later, mum confessed, dad had by far been the best husband and man, out of all the men she got to know since his death. That comment surprised me. Relationships are dynamic and we often forget the worst times.

    To this day I won’t let an argument get out of hand with a partner and I can argue with the best. More than anything, I won’t expose any of my kids to the violence, fear and disfunction I experience as a kid with my mum and dad.

    Was I half right, in thinking lots of couples (our parents) argued, broke things, temp separated while trying to raise a family?

    Any of you lot relate to the above? Something similar in your childhood? In your relationship/s

  • Well, that sure is one helluva personal history, Steve!

    My folks argued a lot, most often over money. That was in the days -1950's - when to increase general trade the government of the day let a woman's signature on an hire purchase agreement mean she signed for her husband's responsibility too.

    So sometimes travelling salesmen would talk my mother into buying new furniture we couldn't afford, while my old man was at work. The news that we would be having a new settee, dining suite, wardrobe, bed, you name it, delivered in the next week or two, that we couldn't pay for, let alone find room for, made him do his nut. The rows would go on all night, and I'd be hiding under the bedclothes in my little bedroom unable to sleep, sickened at the shouting and swearing and threats to walk out from one or the other of them. Then go to school next day with all this on my mind, worried that one or the other would be missing when I got back. They did occasionally, but always returned within a few days.

    Sometime we only had the new furniture for a few weeks, then grim-faced men would arrive to take it back again. I lost count of the times we lost the telly, and that was only on the monthly leasing.

    If anything, it all taught me never to buy on credit, unless it was something I had to, like a house or a car.

    I had lost both parents by the time I was 17, and kind of got shoved into earning a living and scraping by early on.

    I don't like violence of any kind either, and have more than once had to step between folks to prevent things getting physical, even though scared stiff.

    Yes, lots of parents argued, fought, left temporarily, etc., in those days, just as now. At our level of society, money and drink were the biggest cause. Not enough of one, and sometimes too much of the other. My old man never drank much, but lots of local men used to take their pay packets into the pub on their way home from work on Friday nights, and their wives would have to go down at 8 o'clock or later, the dinner spoiled, looking for their men and what was left of their money.

    "Your schooldays are the best days of your life" They told me. That was all balls, for a start.

  • I don't recognise any of the above from my childhood. I can remember times when my dad got angry, but a raised voice was enough to reduce me to tears. My parents never fought in front of us, because mum generally wouldn't take the bait. I do know that things he said or did managed to upset her though. I can only remember seeing my dad a handful of times before my sixth birthday. He was working three jobs every day. His own mother had walked out on the family and he and his siblings were taken into care because his own dad couldn't cope. He was determined to get his brothers and sisters out and make a home for them. He walked out of school on his fourteenth birthday and got a job at the local cinema. From that point on he took work where he could get it and saved until he could afford to rent a place and convince Barnado's to let him have his family back. It took him years, but he did it. He was terrified his own family would be taken from him if he didn't earn enough. This is why he was always working and I never saw him. It affected our relationship badly, but after I went to live with him about twenty years ago I had the chance to discuss it all in detail and finally understood how much he regretted being so fearful that he missed watching his own kids grow up.