I had an “Ah ha” moment this week. It was really more of an “Oh my GOD, get your head outta your arse” moment. I am not too proud to admit when I feel as though I have been foolish…dumb…oblivious. DENIAL really is a powerful thing.
Now, for those of you who are immediately reading this and saying, “Ella, don’t be so hard on yourself.” I am here to tell you that I am okay. I have a wicked sense of humor and while I don’t use it on other people while I encourage and support them along on their journey, it is a part of my heritage and it helps me to get on with it. It’s how I deal personally. So, that being said…I am okay and ever so grateful that I have seen the light finally.
This is a pretty tough thing for me to admit, but I need to share it in order to own it. Maybe it will open someone else’s eyes to their own situation. So, here it goes… As many of you know I am a survivor of Domestic Violence. I have become an advocate for many women over the past few of years and I am always referring back to the Cycle of Violence chart that we have all come to know so well. For those of you who do not know about this incredible Cycle of Violence let me give you a very quick lesson.
It really is this simple. I could get into a wordy explanation, but this diagram pretty much explains it all very simply. If you would like more information just Google, Cycle of Abuse and you will become very well-informed. Sometimes the cycles might be a year apart, and other times they might be hours apart. DV victims are systematically broken down over time. The cycle starts and it grows stronger, bigger, and bolder before the victim ever realizes that they are in it. Being aware and educated is the first step in breaking the cycle.
I broke the cycle. I took my 2 young children and fled and extremely abusive marriage. I recognized the cycle and I knew that I could NOT allow my children to grow up in it or they would perpetrate the same cycle as adults. I chose to leave. I thought that by leaving I broke the cycle…this week I learned that I was wrong.
This is a very humbling experience for me. I educate people about this…I run groups for women. I am in the KNOW. This past week my “Ah ha” moment was that I was allowing my youngest child, my baby, to perpetuate the cycle in my home. He had been given control, by me. Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Talk about a hard pill to swallow.
Let me give you a little background here; my son struggles with anxiety. He has been misdiagnosed as having ADHD, OCD, ODD, and etc. PTSD is really the only thing that fits right now. We are still working towards the missing puzzle pieces for him at the moment. Keep in mind that he is an amazing child; brilliant, funny, loving, and a love of my life. However, his anxiety issues have always caused him to act out. Yes, ever since he was a baby in the crib. He has been quick to upset and hard to soothe. It has been suggested that he might have Asperger’s Syndrome; we continue on our journey to find the key to unlock the mystery of him.
Here’s the thing. When you live with a person who is easy to upset you can start to tip toe around their triggers. You in fact start to walk on eggshells and just try to keep them calm, keep the peace in order to have some sort of peace. This is exactly what I have been dealing with. We have been going through a crisis lately and as a result we have brought in new therapists. It was this weeks session that brought the curtain down for me.
I had left my husband and the cycle of violence behind, only to find that I was continuing to let similar behavior perpetuate in my home from my son. It is not my son’s fault….it is mine. I have been the enabler. Wow. Talk about a slap upside the head. My other child gave such a simple example that summed it all up so nicely. He said, “I am tired of eating Vanilla ice cream. I like other flavors, but we always get Vanilla so he doesn’t throw a fit. Vanilla keeps the peace.”
Did I mention to you that I had an “Ah ha” moment this past week?! Holy Shit.
What more can I say…I just laid it all out for you. My youngest son has some issues that I need to get a handle on. In the meantime, I am learning how to take the control back since he has had all the control in this house since his father left. I have given him the control…not intentionally, but because it was what I was programmed to do. I would NEVER allow another man to treat me this way, but I was allowing my son to do so.
I am taking parenting lessons to teach me how to raise my son in a manner in which is best suited for him and his special needs. I am taking back the control and I am going to allow him to be him in all his glory; he just doesn’t get to rule the house with his outbursts. All along I was thinking that his issues dictated our life…we rolled with the punches. However, I have now learned that while he may have special needs he still needs to follow a code. I have allowed him to emotionally manipulate and control this home and it has now stopped.
It is not going to be easy. I am already exhausted, but I have such HOPE. I KNOW that my son is going to be okay. I know that I have caught this in time to help change this bad cycle. I know that he is going to grow into an amazing man and that his brother will have time to heal as well. My children are as different as night is to-day. I have always known that not all children respond to the same type of teaching. What I didn’t realize was that because I was so used to being in the cycle of walking on egg shells around my ex husband that I just continued to do it with my child because it is what I know.
I am not beating myself up over this, but yes, I feel a bit foolish. Why didn’t I see this? The point is that now I do and I am going to do the work and make the changes that I need to make. In the end we will all be happier and I have such an optimistic outlook for our futures. I share this with you so that you can perhaps learn from my mistakes. The cycle of violence is a very real and powerful thing. Once we are conditioned it is very hard to break. If you have left an abusive relationship…I am so proud of you. If you have children please make sure that you are aware that you can still be subject to it. There is hope…the cycle can be broken, but you will need help and support.
Today, I have incredible support and we are on our way. We are going to find out exactly what is troubling my child and we are going to learn healthy and positive ways to deal with it. I am not going to break him by being a strong mother. I am a strong woman…I have walked through fire to save these kids, and to give us a new life. I am not going to surrender to a cycle that I thought I had run from, only to find out that I had become the enabler of the cycle in my home, and with my own child.
Life is hard, but we must always strive to be better versions of ourselves. We must never settle for less. We can have balanced healthy lives no matter what our circumstances may be. We need to commit to the idea that we are WORTHY of being treated with respect and love in all situations.