The story of DMX's childhood is one of heartbreak, but the rapper has learned that forgiveness is often an easier path that holding on to animosity. When DMX, real name Earl Simmons, was young, he endured physical abuse at the hands of his mother, Arnett Simmons. To escape the violence, Simmons often avoided going home, and since he wouldn't stay with her, Arnett sent him to a boy's school where the young man bonded with his fellow students over their love of hip hop.

In 2012, Simmons reunited with his mother on the VH1 reality television show Couples Therapy with Dr. Jenn, and in that emotional moment, viewers watched as the two began mending a relationship that was once broken. Seven years later, Simmons and his mother are closer than ever, as he shared with GQ in his recent feature with the magazine.

Simmons stated that "I love my mama" before the writer asked him about the abuse of his youth. "That doesn't mean I don't love her. That doesn't mean she's the same person. Children don't come with a f*cking instruction manual," he said. "She was 20 when she had me. Four sisters; I'm the only boy. Maybe she didn't know what to do with me. I found out I just knew things that she didn't know when I was only six-years-old." He shared that there were times when he would wake up in the middle of the night to get a glass of water from the kitchen because he was hungry. There was one occasion when he saw her notebook on the table and noticed that what was written was incorrect, so he erased it thinking he was helping. 

"I don't know what she thought I was doing, but...I don't know if she thought I was trying to sabotage her or whatever," Simmons continued. "I don't know what she thought. But she beat two teeth out of my f*cking mouth with a broom. And I think about this today, I'm like, 'Okay, you saw me erase something in your notebook. What did you think I was trying to do? What could you have possibly thought I was trying to do?'"

Nevertheless, he doesn't believe in allowing the past to dictate his future, so he's opted to choose forgiveness and move forward. "I think a lot of people struggle with forgiving their parents," he said. "In fact, I personally struggle with forgiving my parents. But until you learn how to forgive others, you can't forgive yourself. You can't forgive yourself if you don't know how to forgive."