Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Is Abuse Hereditary?

Standing aside, not willing to participate or give credibility to words spoken, actions taken.

Striking out physically, mentally and emotionally no longer tolerable. 

Years spent trying to maintain a relationship; trying to maintain a sense of family. Enough! 

A day is coming. My voice cannot be silenced. I will not be manipulated, controlled as my alcoholic father did for so long. 

His actions took him down physically, finally, and my youth hoped against hope there would be change he would choose ... he never did. 

A life of projecting his internal pain outward was one I would never imitate, never accept and never allow to be done.

Is there a characteristic, a genetic tendency to take risks and to be abusive?

Abuse takes many forms and often the abuser will not accept their actions as harming another emotionally, mentally or physically but instead sees their words and actions as "justified".

Abuse is consistent, pain and punishment replacing rights, beliefs, abilities, possessions.

The Abuser needs control and the person abused often will not 
Surrender willingly.

Silent or Interactive Abusers stimulate the actions and words of others and often are physically and emotionally involved.

Abuse that is supported is destructive of the self and the abuser, it is a cancer in the fabric of life, expanding, subsiding for times, focused inward, closing off the light. 

The abuser must find a "target"  to move their life problems and challenges onward, incapable of resolving life's challenges

The abuser uses what feels the most valuable as a target. Grown children often use contact with grandchildren to hurt/harm/punish their parent(s); find ways to negate any action present or past and distort it to conform to their need to punish.

Abusers often transfer a current or recent experience with someone other than their "target" and couple it with blame and assignment of ownership away from the actual perpetrator, past, current, ongoing or historical.

Following in a previous generation's footsteps -- is it hereditary or is it a choice that's individually made?

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

As The Twig Is Bent So Grows The Family Tree

Pre-Note: Written after my husband passed and my mother, I reflected on how my oldest son, living hundreds of miles away, shown in earlier writings about his "unwillingness" to help, decided his sister and I should "downsize" and leave the only home she knew and the very special place where memories still live for me.

Sitting at the kitchen table, looking out the window, family gatherings and everyday events come to mind.

No, my  son, I could  not sell this house; not now; not yet and not then -- when you told me how wrong I was about "keeping it" after Dad passed.

With all its challenges as it ages, like I am also doing, it is a comfort, a haven of memories and peace of mind. 

Yes, there have been several times when I could have used "your" help but I would never ask you as the price I had to pay isn't worth the cost.

We've stumbled, we've even fallen along the way but through it all I had your sister, my daughter, and when I've asked, your brother, there to guide, to care and to understand it is my life, still, while I can and am willing to live it in ways you do not comprehend.

You have chosen to walk another path, one of distance and eventual complete separation. That is your choice. It is not how you lived, it is not how we taught.

To you,  it's a "big" house and needs repairs and so much more. 

To me, it's a respite, a hope and a future without having to give up,  give in and try to hold on for dear life -- been there, done that not just since you were born but many years before with my Mother supporting, caring and "there" for me, for us.

You live hundreds of miles away and seldom come to visit. 
Yet you want to "manage" my life. Why? Because you believe your "knowledge" from buying two houses and renting them give you the ability and even "the right" to decide how I will live?

I admit, without your sister continuing to be a part of my life I would not have been financially able or capable. But you would not be able to provide for your family of five if your wife wasn't working and you didn't have a good job. In your way you also work together to gain and retain what you want, what you need.

We all make decisions; we live lives we choose with parts that are given and parts that are taken.

Looking out the window I see the towering Oak tree that once was a twig cut from your Grandfather's Oak in the home they lived in as long as we have now. 

I placed the twig in water, allowed it to root and then Dad and I planted it in our yard; a symbol of continuity, of family and of the love we had for one another -- especially now that all of them are no longer with us.

Your father planted it after asking me where I'd like for it to be. 
I chose far enough away from the house where it would get sunlight and have room to grow to its potential.

Today, it towers over us, reminding me with its' beauty, it's welcome shade on hot Summer days and even its bare branches covered with snow in Winter reminded me how Seasons, of life, pass and bring their own beauty and "gifts" to each of us.

The tree is "family", what it should be, growing day by day, able to stand alone yet benefiting all around and a reminder of those who shared life with us, my husband, your father, my mother, your Grandmother

So fortunate and privileged were we all to build this dream, carved out this space to grow our lives and shelter our extended family.This wasn't our first home; it was the fourth one we called home.

We moved as Dad moved up the corporate ladder and then to this place, our "forever home" where we chose to spend so many years learning, growing, working -- together.

It was a little bit of a reach but it gave us what we valued -- a yard back and front where you and your siblings spent time, each of you had your own room including Grandma who came to live with us when you were two months old and moved with us around the country before settling here. 

When your sister "came along" we added another bedroom and bath in the "lower level" aka "the basement". We couldn't afford to finish all the area; you had a "separate" bedroom and didn't have to "share", as many siblings do, when a family addition arrives. 

It was and is HOME.  It was and is MEMORIES.

And, I, my son, am like my Mother, with whom you spent your life as we did ours; you grew from a small child into a grown man and benefited along the way from three adults loving you, caring about you and providing for you -- and your siblings--even when we should have said "enough" and "no, we can't.

If we believed it was beneficial; we found a way. And that was for each, in their own way, as one received, so did the others. 

There were no "favorites", none was provided for beyond others that included a short time as Guardians for your Uncle's grand-daughter.

As the twig is bent, so grows the tree....but the tree that is moved to another location also responds to where it is moved...and that can affect the shape, height, even the way the tree responds to the elements around it.

You chose and choose to make choices every day. 

Perhaps you'll reach your full maturity some day and recognize how important it is to bend, to move "with", not against winds that blow. 

Perhaps you have in some ways in your personal and professional life; now it's time to adjust, to understand life is more than just what surrounds you every day.

Someday I will leave this house. It will continue in some form, another shape, another owner -- your sister, as that is our plan.

The Seasons are changing. Soon Spring will arrive. Some days already show signs of warming and new growth and development from animals to plants. 

When will you change, my son? 
When will you have the courage to reconnect? 

I have the memories but it's not the same. 

It's been your decision to disconnect yourself and your children.

It is not what you were taught; it is not how you were raised.

I continue to walk my life's path. 
I make decisions and plan.
I continue to work.
Your sister agrees and works each day with me to survive/thrive.

Looking out the window at the tree I see new growth.

I hope someday soon to see new positive growth from your part of "The Family Tree".