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Comments

32 comments
Belinda Geiger
Belinda Geiger

Thank you for sharing Gen. Your story is my story, in some ways.

I was the battered wife, my two little girls lived in as much fear as I did.

I didn't know it though, until they begged me to leave, afraid he would kill me. I honestly thought I had protected them from the worst of it. I thought.

Try to understand that your mother was not herself. She was an empty shell of the woman who hoped her marriage would be happy and she would raise a happy family. I have been that woman. She is empty. She is a drone.

She has nothing left inside except to keep away from the next battle. He took her very soul and battered her body until she had nothing left to respond. I hope that she ultimately got away from him. I hope you will forgive her.

You are safe and whole now, and you have a chance to start over with your own family. You do not have to be like him - or any part of him.

My youngest daughter and her husband have been raising a wonderful family that is full of love. I know the children are safe and protected because they speak their minds whenever they choose. They are not afraid. I love it.

My oldest daughter has no children. She would love to, but it hasn't happened.

Clearly, you love your children and you will protect them, at any cost, from your own dark history. I'm sure you will. I believe in you. Please believe in yourself. If you feel you are losing it, call for help. Get on the phone with someone who loves you and scream until the anger passes. You don't have to pass it on. You DO NOT HAVE TO.

All battered women have that ugly history to deal with. You make a decision, you go forward, and you trust that your love for your family will keep you from bringing that history out into the light.

Bless you for having the courage to write. I know you will do the right thing.

Aerin
Aerin

Thank you so much for sharing your story. We all have our moments when we know we are capable of lashing out... this difference is we KNOW it, and we choose not to... and on the off chance we slip up, we are still aware of our actions and know enough to make it right again. Your sons will have a better life, a calmer life, because you are aware. Wishing you peace for the new year!

Jennifer
Jennifer

I get it. Completely. I've woken up in the middle of my thoughts realizing, "This is not how I feel, this is not who I am... these are my father's words/actions." I take a step back, reevaluate the situation, or look inside myself to try and figure out what I am, ME, really feeling. This is not always easy because his thoughts and actions were all I knew and were so ingrained in me, but little by little I found my own voice and his is almost gone now. I grew up afraid to spill my drink, or make a noise while drinking anything because I knew it would anger him. I grew up believing love was conditional. So, I know you can overcome it when you feel HIS way of behaving starting to peek out, because you are aware. You are aware! You are YOU, not him! I'm proud of you!

Jessica Ares
Jessica Ares

Gen,
I am really sorry you have went through such pain, I went through sexual abuse and am looking foward to sharing my story. God Bless you.

Chamz
Chamz

You are not alone. My father is always a monster for me.

Estell
Estell

In my family it was issues like this with my father...a long time ago. Just know you are not alone and you are cared for.

S.K.
S.K.

I definitely agree with the first commenter. Knowing is half the battle. I hate it sometimes when I hear myself shout at my oldest and criticize him, but I figure it's a start that I don't follow up with a whipping and I'm working on remembering that he cannot be an adult at five. If I keep reminding myself of that every time I yell, I know it will make a big difference in the long run.

Nicole
Nicole

Thank you so much for sharing this. I grew up in a similar family and your insights have illuminated some areas in which I still haven't moved beyond that part of my life. You are brave and amazing and inspiring. Thank you.

Kristi
Kristi

The difference between you and him is that you can see it for what it is. It is a choice every day. A fresh start with your children. Everyone makes mistakes once in a while. Everyone loses patience or has a bad day. Abuse is not admitting it and not admitting you are sorry. You care what you do and that makes you a better parent. Don't be too hard on yourself.

lilasvb
lilasvb

i can understand what you feel, it is courageos to write it
i've been trough hard stuffs ans a child and it was to be mother but therapy and talks did help

Ivory
Ivory

Speechless. I didn't experience this kind of abuse, but I know what growing up listening to my parents argue and yell at each other did to my perception of marriage.

meg
meg

Thank you for sharing your story, there are so many elements of what you said that completely resonate with me. "I grew up thinking that love was conditional." -- that sentence was a major light bulb moment for me. It seems so obvious, so simple but your words really helped me understand something I haven't been able to realize until now. I also share you sentiment about the fact that your father had his "nice" moments too and that made it all the more worse -- I feel that way too. Also the statement about, "no child should ever be responsible for . . . making their parents happy." -- so so true. Way to go for working so hard not to perpetuate the cycle in your own parenting -- your children are blessed to have you for a mom! Thank you again for sharing.

Jane Renee
Jane Renee

It's so awful to feel so responsible, to spend so many years walking on eggshells, to npt be the one that upsets the balance, to try so hard to be "good enough". It's an even harder fight to let go of those habits and let those scars heal. But you're doing it! You're so strong! Thank you so, so, so much. Your story means so much to me, especially right now. Your son is blessed to have you.

Jamie Rae
Jamie Rae

You are a good mom! If you are conscious of not wanting your babies to be afraid of you, take the next step (whatever that is for you), to make sure this never happens. You are insightful, introspective, and I am sure the cycle of abuse will end with you. Otherwise you wouldn't be reaching out. I have faith in you.....your children are lucky. Trust yourself if you can, and the sign of a strong person is one who asks for help when they need it. So you are strong. I believe in you! LOL!! Children are the innocents, we must protect them as best we are able. Best wishes! Jamie Rae

Traci
Traci

Thank you so much for sharing, a story I relate to all too well xo

Jackie
Jackie

Thank you so much for posting this. The psychological torment is so insanely damaging but the effects are so hard for other people to see and understand, especially when the abuser is good at appearing normal. Only the people on the inside understand the mind games. Everybody here is right, the very fact that you worry about hurting your children shows that you're very different from your father. I do understand though. I had rage like that too and I avoided becoming a mother because I always knew it couldn't, mustn't go into the next generation. I admire you for dealing with all this.

Zoeyjane
Zoeyjane

I understand this so well. Especially that fear that you might cause the same reaction in your children.

What I've done, what's helped most, is being honest and open about it. With myself and supports I've surrounded myself with, and also with my daughter. If I feel the barometer rising, for example, I will ask her to leave me alone for a while so that I can cool off, so I won't risk losing my temper.

She understands this, now. When she was younger, she didn't, and she couldn't respect it, so I would lock myself away for a 'time out'. Or if it was caused by her behaviour, like bedtime protests in the form of screaming, sometimes I would just have to shut the bedroom door, call a friend while I smoked, and let her scream.

Anything to stop the cycle, you know?

And when I have lost my temper... the biggest thing I think that has gained her trust back, is that I genuinely apologize and explain exactly what I did wrong, why, and what I'm going to do to prevent it next time. Not make an excuse, but own it and atone, without demanding that she accept my apology.

Anyway. That's me. I intended only to say that I get it and thank you for sharing, but I get wordy.

TigereyeSal
TigereyeSal

Good for you for sharing. Rage can be a scary weapon. Your children are in good hands with you.

Fran
Fran

I can totally relate to the struggle you describe here. Recognizing the problem and willfully breaking the cycle is a powerful thing. God bless you as you stand strong. Thank you for sharing.

Jennifer
Jennifer

The scars may be deep, but they are healing. Just as you've learned not to clean in a frenzy whenever someone is angry you can continue to develop ways of managing your own anger as it arises. We all have things we don't want to replicate from our upbringing, but sometimes we may.

One of the most helpful pieces of advice I ever received was to not just to identify what parenting mistakes I don't want to make, but to be really clear on exactly what parenting strengths I want to foster in their stead. It is what we focus on that we will gravitate towards - so if we focus on thinking about the kind of calm, loving, and responsive actions we want to have we're more likely to be able to do them. I've certainly found this helps me.

ShadowChaser
ShadowChaser

I too work very hard at not instilling fear in my children. Thank you for sharing your story.

Melissa
Melissa

Gen, thank you for sharing your story. I have spent the vast majority of my life feeling that love was conditional. It's only been in the past year, as I've learned of God's love and finally allowed myself to accept it, that I've become aware of what unconditional love really is. And, it's through Him that I've learned to keep that "monster" from peeking out.

Your love for your children is evident. Recognizing the effects of your own past is a big step! What a wonderful mother!

Arby
Arby

You are human. Sometimes that anger will spill out. But, as others have written, knowing what it is and recognizing it when it happens is half the battle. And, sometimes you will fail where your children are concerned. All parents do. We need to limit that to the smallest number of times humanly possible, make amends when we do, and assure our children daily that we love them. Children are VERY forgiving when they know they are loved 100% of the time, even on our bad days. Thank you for sharing your story.

- Richard

Ann
Ann

I, too, grew up with a father who was full of rage that erupted unpredictably. Many years later I came to understand it was PTSD leftover from VietNam.

You are not your dad and you are aware. Blessings to you and your children.

Your journey is helping me on mine. Thanks for sharing.

Jennifer
Jennifer

You are so much more than your father. Let your fear become knowledge. Knowledge that will keep you sane and even with your own children. Teach them that love is boundless and unconditional. You know it now, and you can pass that on. You are the best gift you can give your children. You won't be prefect, but you will love them no matter what.

diane
diane

I know that fear of being the monster you despise. I see that kind of anger rise up in my self and I hate it. Becky is right though. knowing is half the battle. the other half is knocking it down as soon as you see it and regaining control over your emotions.
you know it, you own it and you can overcome it

jinani
jinani

You are NOT your father. You have total control over yourself, your emotions and your actions. Prove that to your own kids.
I'm so glad you survived and I just want you to have the chance to be safe and happy <3

Shannon
Shannon

This is so familiar. I have a very similar father and similar memories, and I know I have the capacity for cruel and controling behavior. But we have the chance to break the chain and give our children the emotional security we never had. Thanks for sharing.

Becky
Becky

Knowing is half the battle. Telling your story and not keeping it hidden inside is the other half. Thank you for sharing your story. It's an important one to tell.
You are strong and not your father. Remember that.

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