I am not even quite sure how to begin. There are so many thoughts going on in my mind recently. With the reports of the scandals in the SBC and the school shooting in Texas yesterday claiming the lives of several innocent victims, it seems like the bad news just keeps coming. What is going on? More importantly, how do we fix it?
I don’t have the answer to this. I don’t believe there is one right answer to any of it, but I will say this, be a cycle breaker.
I’ve began using the term, “cycle breaker” lately during conversations with many brave souls I am privileged to know. Many of us grew up in some kind of trauma situation, and most of us now have our own children. We are all terrified of our children graduating childhood with the same scars we did, and I have to say, that’s a very real concern. Generally speaking, abuse breeds more abuse.
I don’t usually divulge much in the way of abuse in my childhood. It’s personal, and I tend to downplay it by saying, “many people had it much worse”. Because it’s true. But trauma isn’t that easy to dismiss is it?
I remember getting “spanked” a few times growing up. An innocent family member told me recently, that she has a vivid childhood memory of being in the same house as I received one of my “spankings” and she was terrified because she could hear my shrill screams coming up from the basement. She was traumatized so much, she still remembers the event thirty-five years later. That memory is one that my brain has since blocked out, along with a few others I’m sure. I guess my therapist and I will have to dive into that one at some point.
Sprinkle some spiritual abuse into the mix and it is no surprise I am a little concerned about carrying the cycles of abuse on to my children.
My kids are older now, my daughter is in college, my son in high school. Whatever has been done is done at this point, and I will be the first to say, I have made some grave mistakes.
When my kids were small, unfortunately, I began parenting them similar to the way I was raised. I was young, which is no excuse, but that was literally all I knew. Fast forward to my son’s mental health diagnosis when he was four, a kind psychiatrist sat down with my husband and I and explained to us healthier ways to parent. I decided right then and there I would do better by them.
Five years or so after that, my husband and I made our exit from the UPC. Scars had already been made I fear, but I am thankful we got out when we did. My children were thirteen and nine at the time.
Ever since, I have strived to do better. Make myself better, for them. I have worked on me in order to make their worlds a safer place. Have I been perfect? Absolutely not. But I do hope and pray that stopping the abusive situations they were in when we did made a difference.
I pray their scars are not as deep as mine.
I often jokingly say, “we all mess up our kids in our own unique way”, and it’s true. But hopefully, as generations pass, the scars will get lighter and lighter until they are nonexistent.
How are we going to solve the world’s problems? I don’t have the answer. But we as adults, with or without kids of our own, HAVE to do better. We HAVE to step up and heal our own hurts in order to stop the cycle of abuse from continuing to hurt our kids. If we save the kids in our own lives from the abuse we suffered, we’ve made a difference.
So cheers to everyone who is working on themselves. Kudos to those working hard to challenge the flaws in their own upbringing.
We HAVE to be the responsible generation.
We HAVE to be the “cycle breakers”.