There is a common misconception that if you are abused, then your parents and/or their parents were also; and that your children and grandchildren will also end up as abusers or in abusive relationships too. The flip side of this unfounded premise is that if you are abused, you will become an abuser or enter an abusive relationship too.
While I call it a misconception, there is some truth to it. The problem is that you never know when it will prove true, and when the cycle can be broken and the generations freed from the example set.
In a black and white (which life never is!) example, I have a friend who was not raised in an abusive home, and yet found herself in an abusive marriage. Comparatively, I come from a long line of abusers. My mom was abused as a child and as a spouse. My sister and myself both ended up in abusive marriages. I pray my children will not.
I expect my children will not. I expect my friend’s children will not. Why? Because we broke the cycle. We stopped the abuse, but more than that, we’ve educated our children on how to recognize and avoid abuse. We’ve taught them that they deserve better and they need to treat all people, especially their families, with respect. We call abuse what it is in our households: physical violence, verbal violence, emotional violence. It’s not acceptable.
We’re far from perfect. We make mistakes, our kids don’t always listen and aren’t always respectful or kind, but we are purposeful in our attempts to teach them about abuse prevention.
I pray we are successful.
Abusers are not always from abusive homes, but sometimes they are.
Victims are not always from abusive homes, but sometimes they are.
When we speak up, when we break the cycle, when we say “No More”, we give our children a hope and a future that is far better than they one they face when they grow up witnessing an abusive relationship. Abuse is harmful for children, whether they are the target of the abuse or “simply” a witness to it. It causes drastic psychological damage for a child to see one parent being abused by the other. It is inevitable, and guaranteed. Staying in an abusive marriage/relationship “for the sake of the children” is not doing the children any favors. Don’t do it. For the sake of the children, find freedom and healing by leaving.
Don’t let your children grow up in an abusive home.
Don’t play Russian Roulette with their hearts.