April 27, 2020
What, Why, No way, that’s not right and what a sick individual. For God’s sake, why does she stay with him and what about the children? That’s how the rest of us would respond to someone who is allowing themselves to be abused. We obviously question why they would not leave, what inhibitors are in place for them to remain in this type of relationship. For those of us that have been there, suffered the embarrassment, the physical and emotional scars, it is not over at the end of the day, it will last forever. In my fourth blog I will revisit generational cycles of negativity (traits) as passed down from generation to generation. Hopefully provoking thoughts as to how a majority of people do not understand how this can even happen, let alone for decades or generations.
I am that person in my family's generational cycles of negativity. Yup, that’s right, an alcoholic mother and stepfather, eighteen elementary, nine middle, and one high school attended, and a father at seventeen, I broke the link in that chain, seems impossible doesn’t it? The first step towards change is recognizing that something is wrong, out of the norm or an altered perception of reality. Think of an alcoholic finally mustering up the courage to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting for the first time. Opening up to others by sharing personal struggles with alcoholism is not easy. However, following through with the treatment plan is the first step to acknowledging change is possible. A change that will allow this person to remain sober for years even though everyday sobriety is a challenge.
Negative cycles work the same way, let me explain. Were you as a child in a home or environment where domestic violence was present? I was, I witnessed my step father physically and mentally abusing my mother over and over. I want to share my experience with domestic violence from my first memories starting at the age of three. I was twenty-three when my mother passed away, on mother’s day, from years of alcoholism and abuse, she was only forty-four years old.
What could possibly cause such ugliness that is always filled with pain and fear? A relationship controlled with “do as I say or else”, constant beatings that could not be concealed with make-up or sunglasses. Mental abuse can result in low self-esteem, self respect, and a loss of even the slightest amount of human dignity. My mother was controlled in every way possible, a stay at home mom raising children, cooking and cleaning. Even being stripped of financial responsibilities in the home, she did not have the opportunity or knowledge to pay bills or even keep a checkbook, all this was controlled by the “alpha” abuser, my stepfather.
Close friends and family were kept out of her life using me as leverage knowing that nothing is as sacred as a mothers’ love for her child. Surviving under the constant fear that any minor action could be the next trigger for a beating ….. always ending with “keep your mouth shut!” and “don’t even think about leaving”. “I will find you and I promise I will kill you” were constant threats from my step father. Once again, the infliction of fear and pain, the desire for total control by the alpha abuser. Does this sound somewhat familiar to those of you who have endured such ugliness?
At the age of sixteen I ran away and was adopted by a very loving family, believing I could be removed from this abusive environment and find a new path. That was a lie, it did not get better, it became worse! The entire time you are in this toxic relationship traits are being developed in your children. Your little girl will more than likely grow up and mimic your behaviors allowing her significant other to do the same thing to her. Your handsome son may grow up to be that “alpha” male, an abuser, just like the man that abused his mother. You can continue to deny all you want, a significant percentage of those abused will carry this trait. Traits or cycles are like leeches, they attach themselves and act as triggers to those who were raised in an abusive environment. Most of us that suffer from this have a very difficult time explaining why we act the way we do. Have you ever been told you sound just like your mother or you look just like your father, these are traits and cycles.
I am sharing this information with you as a first hand survivor, I know this because I am one of them, that’s right, I became an abuser just like my stepfather. I write this blog with a heavy heart, because at the age of twenty-six I became that “alpha” male, that abuser. I still ponder how the hell this could happen, I was so happy to finally get away from that environment, determined not to be like my stepfather. In retrospect I still do not understand where it really began, was it with the yelling and verbal threats that eventually turned into physical violence? W.T.F.! One day I finally said “How”, Why and that was not right, this is not who I had envisioned myself becoming as a man. It took a lot of “guts” to find help, just one session with a professional therapist was all I needed. I did not know why I had become this way, hearing it from someone else made all the difference. I had developed the traits that my stepfather had instilled or passed on to me, I was becoming the exact version of him.
I CHANGED right there, on that chair, in that room, at that facility, and on that day! Simply put, don’t let your children develop traits or cycles of negativity, change is possible. Mothers’ Day is coming soon, this only reminds me of the ugliness she and I endured, there was a lot of blood, sweat, tears and years shed between us. Yet, we kept returning to the same environment because my step father would use coercion phrases like; “I’m sorry”, “I love you”, and “I promise I will change”. Nothing but lies!
Don’t be a victim any longer, you have the strength to change your future if you choose. Yes, I will fully acknowledge that it is not easy, I know this. Remember, cycles of negativity can be broken, just like a link in a chain. There are many organizations that deal with domestic violence, one particular one, close to my heart, “A New Dawn” a non-profit based in Clearfield, Utah. This organization helps mothers and children become survivors, an opportunity to feel love and happiness, not fear and pain.
In Loving Memory of
Patricia L. Smith
June 13, 1934 to May 13, 1979
Happy Mothers Day,
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