Opinion By ElissaEisele
We all want a better childhood than we had for our children, and we all grow up thinking that when we have the chance we will do better than our parents did. Whether that be in the form of being emotionally available, providing for our children, or being supportive of all aspects of their lives, we want to give them the best.
Unfortunately, the best is not always an option, and sometimes we have to settle. Sometimes the most we can do for our children is have the strength to leave an unsafe environment, and provide them with a consistent, nurturing place to grow up.
This was the only option for one woman, who found herself and her children in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship. This cycle wasn’t new to her. She had grown up in an abusive household, knew all the signs and somehow she still found herself in the same scenario she swore she would never let herself or her children be subjected to.
It is a terrifying reality to experience and it is a reality that anyone can fall into much easier than you would think.
The woman in our story faced emotional abuse, physical abuse, and the task of becoming a single mother for the second portion of her life. Through these adversities, she came out a more independent woman, who has achieved a “sense of pure accomplishment” in regards to the strength and mental fortitude that she has shown.
For the woman in our story, the abuse started small, little knocks at her character, where she was suddenly the butt of every joke, the emotional punching bag for her partner’s fragile masculinity. But the abuse didn’t stop at name calling, it progressed into physical abuse to the point that she knew something needed to change.
She decided to leave not only for herself but to protect her children. By doing this she started the long process that is breaking the cycle of generational abuse and trauma. But leaving did not erase the trauma, and she still battles with serious trust issues and finds it hard to open up for fear of being taken advantage of. Even though these are not struggles that should be taken lightly, the good outweighs the bad in this woman’s story.
Her children carry a tremendous amount of respect for their mother and have an impressive amount of empathy and emotional intelligence because they witnessed their mother’s abuse.
She has a much closer relationship with her children, and they have a tight bond. She also has learned to become much better at communicating her needs with others, and no longer allows herself to shift to fit the wants of other people.
But how can she ensure the end of the abusive cycle? For her it’s simple: start talking about it. Get everything out in the open, and have conversations with the ones you love that emphasize the importance of respecting yourself and others. Learn to value your happiness and prosperity, and most importantly do not forget your self-worth.
Even with all the precautions she has taken to ensure the healthy future of her children, she still worries about them and sees the same naivety she once displayed.
She worries about them taking on the role of being the caretaker, not having enough self-respect, and being so afraid of conflict that they shrink to others’ wants to avoid it. Because all four of her children watched a dysfunctional marriage, she is concerned that they won’t know how to properly navigate around disagreements.
Although the future of her children’s relationships can be scary to imagine, she has hope that because she did her part in ending the cycle, her children won’t have to experience the same abuse she did. And in that, she finds immense comfort and hope.