Cycles of Abuse

My grandfather (my father’s father) was a bad man.  His wife died when my father was 5 or 6 years old.  Not too much later he married my step-grandmother.  Throughout the time since my grandmother passed away, my grandfather beat my dad incessantly.  Eventually, my grandfather chose his wife over my father, and sent him away to live with his grandmother.  Fortunately, my nana (as I called her) was a beautiful, nurturing woman, and my father was happy there.

Do you see any similarities here?

The only difference between my father’s story and mine is that my grandmother was a horrid woman and emotional abused me and neglected me until I was 17.

For a long, long time I was obsessed with the cycle of abuse.  I, irrationally, was confident that I would follow in my father and grandfather’s footsteps.  It was my destiny.  I never wanted children specifically because of this.  If I didn’t have any children, I couldn’t abuse and abandon them, right?  Thinking back on it, I was really loony, but it was terrifying at the time.

My husband would tell me all the time that I was being irrational.  We would talk about it in length.  I thought my reason for not wanting children was perfectly normal.  I don’t want to end up abusing it, duh!

He would tell me, “I know you.  You would never let that happen.”  But, I thought it was out of my control.  Who am I to argue with two generations of the same abuse cycle?

I don’t know my grandfather’s history other than his father dying while he was an infant, my grandmother loved him very much, but I wonder if the man my grandmother married later was abusive.  I’ll never know.  Something happened to make him the way he turned out to be.

I figured that if I stayed childless, then the cycle would stop with me, simply because there wouldn’t be a victim to start the cycle.  I never wanted to be an abuser, but this is how crazy I was.  I thought my life was already determined.

When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I immediately went into panic mode.  I couldn’t believe that I let this happen.  How could I be so careless?  I was terrified.  I cried so much and fell into a deep depression.  I was going to have a child, good lord, what the hell do I do?

I took control.

From that point on, I did not allow my past to determine my future.  My child was not going to be abused.  My child would not be abandoned.  My child stops the cycle.  I was then free to really enjoy the prospect of becoming a mother.  I snapped out of my irrationality and focused on the love for this little being growing inside me.

Now, when I look at my child, I could never imagine harming her.  She is my little angel, and an extension of me.  She is everything that I wish I could have been at her age.

When she is older, I will talk to her about the cycles of abuse in her past, and how her mother was strong enough to break the cycle.

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. wordsweneversaid
    Feb 25, 2010 @ 09:50:13

    OMG hun!


    I will have to come back for a better comment (I have one – I just want to word it such a way that I can fully express my respect for you as a person/mother/child inside – and my love for you for being a fellow survivor – not in some creepy fundamentalist Christian way though if that is okay?)

    I only wish I could have been a friend for you when you were growing your hope (your child).

    You see it all from the right angles – you know right from wrong and you obviously know love.

    Yer doin’ it ‘right’.

    (you really are)

    Be well,


  2. Tracie
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 18:58:27

    This is so powerful! The cycle of abuse is not easy to break. Your story shows your heart and your strength.

    When I was pregnant with my daughter, I wondered what I was going to do. I had no experience with children and a childhood of my own that was full of abuse and lies. Motherhood turned out to be the most wonderful thing ever.

    Your daughter is very blessed to have you as a mother.

    Thank you for submitting this to the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse.


  3. Blue Morpho
    Oct 22, 2010 @ 12:57:34

    Cycles of abuse – yes, I often wonder who it was who abused those who ended up abusing me. There was a time I avoided having children; not so much because I thought I’d abuse them intentionally, but because I was spending so much time on my own recovery, I thought they might suffer for it. I don’t feel that way anymore. And yet, neither I or my siblings have any children. Abuse affects us in so many ways, some so subtle. I applaud your courage to see the pattern, and your efforts to ensure it is ended.
    Adventures in Anxiety Land


  4. marj aka thriver
    Oct 23, 2010 @ 11:33:25

    Hooray for you! I think those of us who have broken the multi-generational cycles of abuse from our families of origin deserve some kudos. *KUDOS*

    Thanks so much for sharing this with us for THE BLOG CARNIVAL AGAINST CHILD ABUSE. I appreciate your contribution.


  5. insaneheart09
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 09:41:38

    Thank you all so much 🙂


  6. Trackback: October Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse « From Survivor to Thriver
  7. Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker
    Oct 26, 2010 @ 21:50:09

    This is a very powerful statement of intent. I love it. I also recognized the cycles of abuse in my family starting with my great-grandfather on my dad’s side of my family. Like you, I too chose to break the cycle of abuse. I refused to allow my children to be around my dad who was my incest abuser when I was a child. I have told my children about the incest and about the alcoholism that runs through my family. I was the first one in my family to break the silence of incest when I wrote a Dear Family Member letter back in 1992 and mailed it to my 2 siblings and then to my dad’s 10 siblings. Thank you for sharing your story.


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