My mother and father were fairly young when I was born, my father was twenty-one and my mother was nineteen years of age. They got married after I was born and moved in together with the vision of supporting one household. My mother would work morning shifts while my father would work the night shifts. This left them little time to see one another.

I was often awakened by their fights during the night. I recall one night when my father put his hands on my mother; he had her by the neck and held her against the wall. I remember crying profusely and felt the world stop around me.

My parents divorced when I was 4 years old, yet that was the best thing that could have ever happened. Nonetheless, the distaste that they had for one another did not go away after their divorce.

I was about 7 years old when I started to understand the dynamic of my parent’s relationship. I strongly believed that they hated one another, and I was left to experience it all by being in the middle. I distinctly remembered that my mother and father never had anything good to say about one another. As I got older, I started to believe that some of the things that they shared were. Consequently, like many teenagers, I manipulated my parents against one another to get what I wanted. Being so blinded by their distaste for one another, they never caught on.

As I progressed into adulthood, I found that when disagreements surfaced in my relationships, my initial reaction was to shut down.

During those times, I found myself having flashbacks of my parents fighting and recalling the scenes of me as a child crying in my parent’s home. After much reflection, I realized that I missed out on some great growth opportunities and teachable moments due to those ill-prepared defense mechanisms.

I now value disagreements because I understand that it allows two people to listen to one another and express themselves. When a disagreement occurs, there is no right or wrong

(if you want the relationship to work). It is important to understand that people view every situation through the lens of their own lived experiences and sometimes they need to borrow your glasses to see. Lastly, but most importantly you can agree to disagree. It is ok!

Relationships require two individuals to be in a relationship.

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