The Cycle of Abuse
From Generation to Generation
Abuse is an on-going problem all around the world. Women and children are being mentally and phycially abused behind closed doors. It's the dirty little secret that no-one wants to expose, for fear it will escalate. Families are being shattered and heart-broken, alienated and alone and fearful for their lives. How can one person cause so much harm in a family?
For me, it was my father. I hated and dispised this man and even wished he were dead. What anger, hate and unforgiveness I carried in my heart for years. This was personal. I had witnessed his mental and physical abuse everyday of my childhood life. We (my mother and my siblings) were called worthless names while he drink himself to death. I carried the memories with me for years and the dysfunction layed it's foundation for my life. Does this sound at all familiar to you?
As I said...this was personal. A personal attack towards me. This is where I went wrong. Of course I didn't realize this for years. For years I had a different view-point of myself. Why? Because I was under the influence of my fathers distorted beliefs. And why? Because i lived with it for thirteen years of my life. But it didn't stop there. I carried it over into my relationships. I was called un-worthy by my father, so I felt un-worthy. I sought out men who would treat me the way he thought I should be treated. I was filled with shame, hate, embarrasment, bitterness, resentment, anger, revenge and unforgiveness. The abuse surly had an impact on my life and on the lives of those I came into contact with. I also had trust issues and self-esteem issues, therefore genuine love was void in my life. I was a mess for years.
Several years after my father and mother divorced I decided to go to Al-anon. I found some answers there. I was at the end of my rope. Nothing was working in my life, at least not with the information I had been carrying around. I didn't realize this dysfunction I was carrying didn't actually belong to me. It was something my father was dealing with in his own way. So..I went to my father (even though I was scared as hell) and asked him what had happened to him growing up. He actually answered me! He said his mother had left him when he was thirteen. I then put the pieces together. He was angry at his mom and he was lashing out at and on his present family. His past had carried over into his life and mine. I had become a product of his anger and betrayal.
Was I able to forgive him? Yes! Because it wasn't about me. It was his perception of women. It was no longer personal. Does it make what he did right? No! But I understand it better now. I no longer blame him. If we can understand where it stems, we can forgive. It can stop with us. My father had unresolved issues and it destroyed him, but it doesn't have to destroy me. I am steps closer to my own healing.
This cycle runs in a lot of families and ruins a lot of families lives. It begins with unresolved issues and these unresolved issues can pass from generation to generation destroying everyone in it's path. Just like a tornado. Any little thing (usually a similarity or reminder of their past) can set one off and the family suffers the consequences.
We don't have to be victims to this type of behavior any longer. There may not have been programs available then, but there are programs available now. This doesn't have to control our lives in the here and now. It can stop with us, dead in it's tracks. We can learn to have more functional and rewarding lives, but we need to take the first step towards our own recovery. The pain needs to end and not manifest itself into our families. There is hope, but we need to seek it. Our lives and the lives of those we love are worth the effort! We no longer have to walk in the shadows of abuse and have it last a lifetime for our loved ones. We have the power to change it! Thank you for listening and I hope and pray my story may save and create a loving and caring family.