There's one spot that really sticks out and that I'll never forget ... It was a Sunday afternoon and I was just playing in the yard and then I walked inside and Dad was strangling my Mum on their bed".
Michael* was just 11-years-old when his abusive father brutally murdered his mother.
He said his parents' relationship was typified by persistent family violence, but he never saw what eventually happened coming.
Now 30-years-old, Michael still carries emotional trauma, but he has managed to carve out a life for himself learning from the tragedy that rocked his life.
"That's something that, it's a vision that's always going to be there. I was about eight or nine at the time," he said about the strangulation incident.
"But I don't consider myself a victim of [family violence], I am someone who survived. I went through it and learned from it.
"Sure, be in a relationship, but don't do all of this stuff that happened when I grew up ... Just be better."
He now lives not far from the Northern Tasmanian town in which the murder took place and he said, as crushing as losing both of his parents as a result of family violence was, he has come to terms with it.
As is often the case with significant trauma, denial can seemingly seep from the pores of the person who has most suffered from it, but for Michael it is a different situation.
He exudes resolve and a steeliness that what happened in his life was so cataclysmic that there was no other option but to take lessons from it and walk an entirely different path.
'The biggest tragedy'
After becoming enraged about Michael's mother attempting to leave the relationship his father fetched an old gun from the shed, walked onto the veranda of his house and shot his mother before turning the gun on himself.
"The first moment I knew something wasn't right was when I got taken home on a Saturday afternoon ... Then my grandparents turned up at my doorstep and said pack a bag you got to come with us," Michael said, remembering the day he describes as "the biggest tragedy".
"I had my first game of under 12 football the next morning, so I started packing my football gear as well, but my grandparents said, 'Nah don't worry about that'.
"Then I went to bed and woke up the morning and both my grandparents came in and they were both crying and I said, 'we're going to be a bit late for footy' and they said, 'your dad won't be coming, he's gone', then they said, 'your mum is as well'."
Though to 11-year-old Michael the murder was unexpected, the value of hindsight highlights a predictable pattern of behaviour that may have stopped the violence from being noticed.
Michael said physical abuse "occurred fortnightly if not weekly", but it was his father's intrinsic sense of entitlement, manifesting itself as control, that Michael considers being the primary red flag upon reflection.
Michael also said his father could paint a portrait of his family to display to others from the outside but switch into a different person behind closed doors.
"He basically had two personalities ... It was like something would switch and even his whole facial structure would change and it was like he'd turned into a different person," he said.
Michael said the ability to switch personalities outside of the home meant his father was well liked, and that his mother may have found it almost impossible to communicate that there were serious problems.
Her family knew something was wrong, and his mother would often bundle Michael up and leave his father to flee to stay with family and friends over 120 kilometres away.
But Michael said his father would always drive there, find them, and tell his mother that he had changed.
This cycle continued until what Michael believes was the final tipping point for his father - a loss of control that Michael thinks would have been permanent.
A plan had been hatched by his mother to pack her and Michael's things on the Saturday before once again fleeing to her family on the Sunday, but this time he said it was likely she was not planning to come back.
Michael understands his mother had secured a bond for a house and was planning to move them away from his father, and he thinks his father somehow found out.
Michael said his father perceived his mother as something he owned, and something that thought he controlled, and it is plain to see that his mother's plan would have broken her free from his grasp.
A dangerous concoction
The circumstances of the relationship between Michael's mother and father reveal a dangerous concoction in which family violence was possible to simmer away unhinged.
Michael's mother had witnessed her own mother suffer through three relationships and was taught from a young age to "just persist" and she was isolated from her direct family in the rural town in which she was murdered.
His father did the bulk of the breadwinning and considered it his right to expect his partner to be at his beck and call as a result, he was argumentative, easily angered and had festered his sense of entitlement that meant not getting his way infuriated him.
Michael said there was also infidelity on both sides of the relationship, and tensions regularly flared.
The pair lived in a rural community where a night at the pub meant putting on a brave face and covering bruises with makeup.
And a child was present in the relationship and the choice to leave, or separate, was complicated as a result.
Learning from loss
A drastic correlation exists between children who witness family violence becoming perpetrators in their own adult life and the reality of how his life has panned out sticks out as Michael discusses what he has emerged from.
"Every child thinks their life is the normal ... I assumed that was how everyone else grew up," he said of his upbringing.
"I assumed everyone else's Mum takes off for a couple of nights and stays with family or friends, like that's just something that happens."
The trauma of his childhood is ever present, and Michael said there have been times that his history bubbled to the surface.
"I went through a stage when I was about 18 and then again where I was 21 of having weird dreams," he said. "My mum was always in a house that had no doors or windows, then my father was driving a car going the other direction and not being able to turn around. It's like they were just there, but I could never get to them."
His dreams made way for questions about what his life would look like with his parents still in it.
"You always wonder what they would be like now or what life would be like, or would I even get on with them," he said.
"Would my mum have approved of my wife? Would my father and I even have anything in common?"
Arguments and confrontation also still make Michael feel uncomfortable.
"I might see a couple have a screaming match at a shop and it just makes me cringe and I try to leave the area as quickly as possible," he said.
"It's just something I don't want to be around."
And he prefers to solve disagreements with his wife through rational discussion.
"I'm married to someone that I want to spend the rest of my life with. I'll do everything in my power to make her life as easy as possible. I'll do everything I can to spoil them and make them happy," he said.
"Like, why go back and forth and the stuff like that that I had to grow up with as a kid watching."
Michael's life could have easily panned out in a way that fed into the perpetuating cycle of family violence.
He said the stage of his life at which his mother's murder happened and support from his grandparents gave him the perspective needed to recognise that what he had been through should never be replicated.
But he undersells the journey he guided himself through, and the mettle and strength of mind it has taken to bring him to the point of his life he is at now.
Michael is a survivor, but not just for himself. He is proof the generational cycle of family violence can be broken.