It is often said that abuse is passed down from one generation to another and it can be hard for people to understand why this happens. However, the next generation are not the only ones who can end up being abused; it is also something that can affect the people who the abuser comes into contact with.
One doesn’t need to have children to continue the abuse; they only need to be around other people. So this can mean that one can end up abusing their friends, colleagues and the people they’re intimate with.
The Cycle Has Been Broken
This is not to say that one will always pass on the abuse and allow the cycle to continue, as some people do put an end to what took place. In this instance, one has been able to rise above what happened to them.
Awareness will have played an important part in one being able to move on, for without this, one wouldn’t have been able to realise that what happened was not healthy or how life should be. There is likely to be someone or a group of people who enabled them to see that not everyone is the same on this planet.
This is often the difference between someone who puts an end to the abuse and someone who allows it to continue. But when one doesn’t come into contact with someone like this at an early age, it can be a lot harder for them to behave differently.
When one only comes into contact with people who are abusive, it can be seen as normal and how life is. Their whole reality can end up being filtered through this outlook and this can stop them from being able to see life differently.
Some people will have experienced every type of abuse and other people will have experienced a certain type of abuse. So if one person goes from being a victim to a perpetrator, they are not necessarily going to be perpetrating the same type of abuse as another person.
Not all forms of abuse are easy to notice and this is why abuse often takes place without anyone realising what is happening. For example: physical abuse can be seen, but emotional abuse is a lot harder to spot.
When one has experienced abuse, it is going to create a lot of pain and this pain often ends up being pushed out of one’s awareness during the times when they were abused. The pain then stays in their body and can cause them to behave in ways that are reactive and out of their control.
So if one becomes a perpetrator, it doesn’t mean that they’re inherently bad. What it can mean is that one is behaving in ways that are out of their control. The difference is whether one realises that how they’re behaving is not right. If they do, it will be important for them to take responsibility for their behaviour and to seek help.
If one is not aware of their behaviour and they can’t see what is wrong with it, is not going to be possible for them to change and to seek the help they need. Here, one is in denial and it is too painful for them to take responsibility for how they feel.
Abusing others is then a way for them to regulate how they feel and a form of indirect revenge. All the time that one is carrying the pain of being abused within them, there is always going to be the chance that they will abuse others. This applies to someone who wants to change and to someone who is in denial.
So while it is easy to label someone as good or bad, it often comes to down to their level of awareness. This is not to say that abuse is acceptable, it is to show how important awareness is. Pain is something that can stop people from being aware.
It is not always easy for one to face how they feel; this is why people who abuse others are often in denial. It is a way for them to avoid their emotional truth and the damage that is being done to others. The more pain that builds up, the harder it will be to face it. In some cases, denial is not something one will use from time to time; it will have become part of their identity.
So if one was physically abused as a child, this could mean that they physically abuse their children or they might have become a bully and someone who hits other people. Perhaps one was verbally abused, and this causes them to put other people down and to pass their toxic shame onto others.
It could also be a lot more subtle than this, one might ignore how people feel or invalidate them. This then reflects how people responded to their own feelings when they were growing up. If one was touched inappropriately or sexually abused, they might touch other people in the same way and continue to violate other people’s boundaries.
These early years may have been a time where ones boundaries were violated on a regular basis; so one could find that they have trouble respecting other people’s boundaries. They might not know where other people begin and where they end.
What matters here, is that one gets the assistance they need to put an end to their abusive behaviour. If one was abused as a child, there is always the chance that they will pass it on.
This doesn’t mean that one is therefore ’bad’ if they have passed it on; it just means that they need to do something about it. If they do something about it, not only will they be helping themselves, they will also be helping others. There are all kinds of assistance out there, and this support can come from a: therapist, healer and/or a support group.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.