Domestic Abuse In Chris Gardner's Childhood

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When the word “domestic abuse” is put forward, people may think it is far from their lives. However, it happens around each individual and it is closer than they think. Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to violence. And while physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. (Smith and Segal 2) This horrible thing can happen to everyone, for example, in the memoir The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner, the author’s childhood is closely related to domestic abuse. Rather than causing negative emotions to all family members, it also leave them with physiological and emotional trauma, especially to the children. More crucially, Chris’s story…show more content…
For short-term effect, children may suffer from increased anxiety about being separated from a parent, intense worry about their safety or the safety of a parent and so on. For long-term effect, when they grow up, they can have physical health problems, behavior problems in adolescence and emotional difficulties in adulthood. (“ Children and Domestic Violence”) Chris is exactly such a kid while he is living with Freddie. In this family, Chris fears everyday that “I’d come home to find my mother murdered.” (Gardner 35) and “much more damaging to my psyche, the powerlessness that came from the fear that never seemed to let up at home.” (Gardner 35) Home should be the warmest harbor for a young kid, instead, it is a scaring hell for Chris. Everyday, he lives in fear, worry and anxiety, which is the typical short-term trauma for a child experiencing domestic abuse. Fortunately, Chris never learns that “it is acceptable to exert control or relieve stress by using violence.” (“Children and Domestic Violence”) He has set his goal from a young age and acted this out in his adulthood: “I was never going to terrorize, threaten, harm, or abuse a woman or a child, and I was never going to drink so hard that I couldn’t account for my actions.” (Gardner 38) Nonetheless, not every child has the luck to realize this as Chris does. Children of domestic violence are 3 times…show more content…
One evident phenomenon that affects the living conditions is victims will get away from their home. However, this will only make the situation worse. Abusers often increase their use of violence and abuse to stop their partners from leaving, or to force their partners and children to return home following separation. The abuser may attempt to take the children away from their mother to punish the woman for leaving. (“ Impact of Domestic Violence On Children and Young People”) According to The Pursuit of Hapyyness, Chris’ mother is well-prepared to take her children away from their home at anytime. “Moms slept on the living room couch with her shoes on --- in case she had to run, carrying the baby and dragging the rest of us out of the house fast.” (Gardner 35) After they finally get out once, Freddie comes back again. “Barely gone more than a week, we packed up and returned to the back house, with Freddie giving us a respite of no less than a week without violence.” (Gardner 41) To stay in dominant in a family, abusers are sure to punish those who disobey them, since they have the one goal “to have the complete control over the family”. Although they may force their family back, their living conditions are never going to getting better. The house is still surrounded by tension and fear, victims live on tenterhooks with little power to fight back.
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