I think I’m fine – but what about the kids? – Gillian’s Journey #2

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I think I’m fine – but what about the kids? – Gillian’s Journey #2


My children are everything.

I make sure they have good routines – good play time, lots of outdoors, good diet – I try so hard.  When he’s coming home, I make extra sure all is ok with them … just in case.

He doesn’t like when they argue.  He really doesn’t like when they make a mess.

And he likes his quiet time – they need to know he can’t be disturbed at that time.  Ever.

And they are learning to read his moods – they know what’s coming when he stands up and the fists clench.

They know when I tense, my mouth dry, I tell them to run upstairs and put on a film – quick now – Mammy will be up in a minute.

The woman on the radio talked about her little girl – I look at mine.  I see the fear in her eyes – she looks from one of us to the other –

Are you ok Mammy? 

Luke is just ten months old – even he knows – his little body goes rigid with fear.  His eczema getting worse.

Meg wetting the bed – is it a phase?  Or is the effect of life in this family, in this perfect home?

As for Jake – at ten, he tries hard to be brave, to be strong – but he’s just a little boy.  He, more than any of them, has learned to

‘Keep Daddy Happy’

– watching for the signs, adjusting his own mood to suit the atmosphere in the room, putting his Dad’s happiness first.

Is that normal for a ten year old?


During 16 Days of Action on Violence and Abuse against Women (25 Nov – 10 Dec) we are publishing regular updates on Gillian’s story here – copegalway.ie/16days.

For too many women we know – our daughters, our sisters, our friends – this is their experience.  Every day.

All abuse starts with control and can take the form of emotional, psychological, sexual, financial or physical abuse.  None of it is ok – all of it is a crime.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse or is affected by any of the issues mentioned above phone COPE Galway Domestic Abuse free and confidential service at 091 565 985 (24h).

When you’re ready to talk we’re ready to listen.

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