Our ex-neighbors have a new home and have invited us to come see it next week. We’re happy to keep in touch with them and their kids—our “little friends” whom we love a lot. They enjoy visiting our daughter and son-in-law’s farm and the kids got to hold new baby chicks and feed the adult hens the last time they visited there.
So I expect only a good time when we get together. The kids are so used to us that misbehavior is rare and we all set limits when needed. One of the best parts of being with these friends, though is that we have few secrets among us. What they see is what they get, and v.v. We’ve gone through each other’s family crises over the years and worked things out, supported each other, and ended up closer.
I doubt this visit scenario plays out the same way when there’s domestic violence in one or both families. The family that lives with control and violence has so many secrets, so many false “faces” to put on, and no doubt the batterer has already handed out his usual threats before a “public” visit.
As a result, the family usually makes few “outside” visits, not even with close relatives. There are many excuses, but few chances to experience real, honest relationships that can turn into relaxed, "real" ones.
How much these families lose in the process. How little their children learn about real life. These kids don’t know there’s no such thing as the “perfect” family. They're just told theirs must be.‘