We are back from our trip to California. We covered a lot of ground from San Francisco to LA and back and had a great time. During the time driving to and from LA, with my youngest sleeping, I had a lot of time to think. It was time I needed. Since I was away from my normal, with the quiet and the ocean in my view, I could think so much clearer. When I looked back over my life, I saw that the abuse I lived with throughout my life came from generational abuse.
I honestly have had a hard time understanding abuse that passes through families generation after generation. I don’t know what makes a person decide to hurt someone in the same way that they have been hurt. After being on the receiving end of abuse and hurt, I would think the last thing they would want to do is make someone feel the same pain they did. To abuse someone is to show complete disregard for their target’s worth. Why then would someone choose to do this to another after feeling it themselves?
However, what if the abuse happens, at least occasionally, without a conscious effort? As I looked back on my life, I realized that, even though I did not want to intentionally treat others poorly, some of the things I’ve said in my life were pretty rough words. I know they were words with which I had grown up and I simply said what I had heard. Once I became aware of the hardness of the words, they changed. Unfortunately, though, I’m sure I hurt others before I became aware of the problem.
I also remembered a few times when I decided “I’d had enough”. I was tired of the control, manipulation and words and I spoke out to the others the same way I was being spoken to. Did it make me feel better? No. It felt horrible. After a few times doing it by choice, I didn’t want to do it again. When I chose to respond in kind, it, again, was because it was what I had lived with my entire life.
It just so happens that I am writing this post on the eve of the 26th anniversary of the day I married the one I loved. As I’ve typed my journal entries over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been shocked by what I wrote in the past. I can’t believe I actually thought my husband loved me fully. However, from what I have written, it is clear this man never loved me. It may be that he never knew how to love someone. Over time, I’ve come closer to believing the latter to be true, but that doesn’t change the pain that comes from the lack of love.
Typing out the weeks leading up to our engagement has been excruciating. I read the things that were said and done in that time and know that there is no way I would have walked into a marriage with him if I had known what love was supposed to be like. I never saw or heard real love. Because I didn’t have anyone in my life to champion for me in what I was worth and teaching me how I should be treated, I didn’t recognize the lack of love. The abuse I had always lived with led to the choice to marry someone with those abusive tendencies as well. I walked into the creation of another generation hearing abusive words because of what I had experienced. It blows me away now to read how the one I loved acted toward me even up to the day before we got engaged. I remember, though, thinking that he was just trying to do the right thing to make sure we were ready for marriage. I was clueless.
In the end, we are responsible for the words we say, whether we choose to say them or not. When we often hear abusive words, they come out of our mouths sometimes without our realization. It’s not good, but if we set our hearts and minds to change the words we speak, everyone wins and the generational abuse will come to an end.
~ Joanna Lynn
“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4;19