Added: Bridget Ewing - Date: 28.02.2022 08:21 - Views: 18392 - Clicks: 6911
Jump to. I grew up with a great deal of physical and emotional abuse. It started when I was very little and lasted until I left home at This is because I grew up with a parent who was a deeply unhappy and troubled survivor of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. How did this affect the mother that I myself later became? Did I continue the legacy of my own distressed and disturbed parent?
Yes, I did — and here is my story. It is both a good AND a bad story, and a very personal one that is painful to divulge. At that point I learned the terrible secrets that she had suffered alone with until the age of When she was in her 20s she went to a psychiatrist for help, but that was the s, and she was told that the sexual abuse she suffered was her fault, and thus her own shameful burden to bear.
She took that verdict to heart, and spent her life filled with self-loathing. You just react, and your reactions reflect the pain you yourself suffered and continue to live with. Of course there were good things too. She loved my father deeply, and he was truly kind to her and to us although unfortunately unable to protect his children from her wrath. We had a comfortable middle class life. We lived in a nice house with books and piano classes and good schools. Nobody knew what we children in that house lived with — as my parents were well respected in their church, their workplaces and the wider community.
I focused on growing up, getting through it, getting away and putting it all behind me. I fell in love and had with a partner who was NOT beaten by his mother — ever.
Unbeknownst to me, though, there was a time bomb ticking inside me. When my beautiful baby turned into a wild and turbulent, beautiful two year old, it detonated. I was instantly filled with self-loathing each time it happened. I became pregnant again, and worried…And then, just at the end of my pregnancy, my mother could no longer bear her secret and shared it with my father, and then with me.
With my encouragement she told it to her family of origin, and her nuclear family as well. Their reaction was mixed, though not mine. Her divulging of this secret reason for her anger and pain relieved me of the deep feelings of guilt and shame her abuse had engendered in me. I realized in one stunning moment that what happened to her did NOT happen to me, and thus I was not, nor did I have to be, the same as her. Did this mean that I never hit my kids again?
No, unfortunately it did not. But what I learned was that every time I hit them it was because I lacked the personal resources I needed; balance, patience and skills.
And I learned that hitting does exactly the opposite of making them behave better. The balanced reaction of a parent is to stop and listen, to be sympathetic, loving and helpful. I ran out of patience and personal resources, and hitting is wrong. I worked hard on myself and tried to change. Did I do a perfect job?
Did I do better than my mother, who actually did as she said to me do better than her parents? Yes, of course I did. I was not the perfect parent I wanted to be, but I did nurture them deeply and well, and at least they saw me always trying hard to become better at being their mother. I encouraged parents to listen to their intuition and to care for their kids in that balanced way I had always sought to parent in.
I passed on to them the important thing I now understood — which was that the best thing you can do for your children is to sort yourself out and forgive yourself; to learn to deal with your own shame, anger and guilt. And develop parenting skills. Reading the material on their websites, doing their online courses, working through the questions and issues raised in these — this all gave me the strength of my convictions, more tools to offer others, and a way of being with children which is nurturing for me, as well as the children I spend time with.
I am a much better equipped grandma then I was a mother! And I now use COPA strategies everywhere, and with everyone; my grown-up kids, my colleagues and friends, my partner, my extended family and so on. I know with all my heart that the cycle of abuse can be interrupted and that corporal punishment is preventable. When children know their rights, when parents have tools and resources, and when both are supported by kindness, caring and compassion from others, it defuses the danger, the anger and the shame.
By both protecting their children and at the same time giving space and tools for positive change to parents who themselves may have been abused as children, we can go a long way toward ending child abuse. The author of this blog, Betsy Thomas with 2 of her grandchildren.Corporal punishment stories at home
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