Sorry to hear of these awful events, and how they have haunted you for so long. There are some kids who hurt or kill animals, without thinking there's anything wrong with this, and that may be an early sign of being a psychopath / sociopath, as their subsequent lives shows. They view other creatures, human and animal as purely here for their use ; they do not grow up to become vegans or animal lovers !
What is ore likely is the factor you almost apologized for, that you grew up in a household of domestic violence. In such circumstances, whether you personally were directly abused, or mainly witnessed it in others, some otherwise normal and loving children may react to the atmosphere and experience of uncaring violence and of feeling helpless to intervene in it, by themselves acting out violently, to creatures a little lower in the pecking order than themselves, and they do feel awful about it.
Indeed, some victims of child abuse may eventually become abusers themselves.
It's clear that you appear to have grown into a loving and caring person, and a benefit to the animal and human world ! Congratulations on surviving the difficulties you faced, and using them, rather, as the basis of becoming a caring and kind adult.
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