Monday, January 28, 2013

Children of Abusive Marriages

“Parenthood” is one of TV’s best shows. It follows the lives of three generations of the Braverman family and portrays real-life family and personal issues with honesty and humor. Pick a Tuesday night to watch it and be prepared to be completely engrossed for an hour.

Sarah Braverman (played by Lauren Graham) plays a single mom burdened by guilt from bad choices and the impact they have on her and her children - a teenage boy (Drew) and a teenage girl (Amber). Her struggles are common to single moms and Graham’s portrayal of her daily fight to make the right choices for herself and her children is true-to-life. She isn’t supermom and she isn’t the self-absorbed single mom who doesn’t care about her kids that we sometimes see in TV and movies. She sacrifices and cares deeply for her children and does the absolute best she can. She is much like Brandy in my story.

Brandy’s daughter April has just begun college when the story begins. April has many scars of her own from witnessing her 
father’s abusive treatment of her mother. Brandy will help her face and push through the fear, confusion, and pain left over from her parents’ marriage as she navigates through the minefield of creating of her own life. When April falls Brandy will be there to help her stand back up. 

In season one of “Parenthood” Sarah and Amber argue about bad decisions that Sarah sees Amber making. Sarah, like all parents, constantly fears that Amber will make the same mistakes that she made and performs a balancing act between protecting her daughter and allowing her to make her own mistakes. In one particular scene, Sarah asks Amber: “Why do you insist on making every mistake I made?” Amber responds:

“You know, every time you talk about your life being a mistake, all I hear is that my whole existence is a mistake”.
Did you feel that knife go through your heart?

As witnesses to their parents’ abusive relationship, children have complex emotions. They hurt for the abused parent but they are also angry with them because they allowed it to continue. They want a life with relationships that are better

 than their parents’ were but they are also angry that their parents even created them in the midst of a bad situation and feel like their very existence is a mistake. 

Brandy’s story is about love’s victory over the hardships in life. It’s about refusing to allow anything steal your joy. It’s about the hard work of kicking pain in the ass, being happy and loving people unconditionally.

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