When someone is abused during their childhood years, they can end up doing the same thing and abusing others or they can put an end to the abuse. And based on how much pain one would have experienced when they were abused, it is often hard for people to understand why they would end up doing to others what was done to them.
Logically, this is not likely to make any sense and that is why it can be hard to understand why abuse is often passed from one generation to another. Yet in order to understand why this takes place, it will be important for one to put their current outlook to one side and to embrace a new outlook.
No matter what kind of abuse one experienced during their early years, they are going to have felt violated. The people, who were supposed to protect them, were the ones who ended up harming them.
And because there is this bond, it has been said that more damage can occur when one is abused by a family member than when they are abused by someone who is a family friend or a stranger, for instance.
How someone responds to the abuse and what happens as the years go by, can depend on their level of resilience. It could be said that some people are more robust than others and this is naturally going to affect how they respond.
Another thing that can define how resilient one is and therefore how they respond is what age they experienced abuse. If it took place after the first few years, one is going to be a lot stronger than if they experienced it at the beginning of their life.
As a baby, one may have been neglected or experienced another type of abuse and this would have put them on the back foot to begin with. This could then mean that they are not as resilient as they would be if their needs were met during this incredibly important developmental stage.
One may have continued to be neglected as time went by and this would have meant that they didn’t have any corrective experiences. Their external environment was then the same and one continued to suffer as the years went by.
Another thing that can define whether one goes onto abuse others is if there was anyone else around at the time that showed them that not everyone is the same. Alice Miller described this person as an ‘enlightened witness’, and they would have shown them love and kindness.
This position could be filled by another family member, or it could have been a teacher, family friend or a mentor. What this shows is how much of a difference one person can make and how another person can either lift one up or pull them down.
The Next Step
However, no matter how resilient someone is or whether they had people around them who were different, they are still going to be carrying pain. The years they spent being in an abusive environment would have left a mark on their mind and body.
This is going to vary from person to person and this is because not everyone is going to be effected in the same way. Yet this pain is going to need to be faced in order for one to liberate themselves from what happened.
The Conscious Approach
When one faces their pain, they are going to take their power back and this is also going to benefit the people around them. All the time this pain remains within them, it can come out in the form of reactive or unconscious behaviour.
Although one can be disconnected from how they felt as a child, it doesn’t mean that this pain has disappeared. The body’s natural response is to push out what doesn’t belong there; this is one reason why spots appear. This is why it is important for one to consciously face their pain as opposed to allowing their pain to control them.
It is human nature to avoid pain, and this can mean that one ends up doing everything they can to avoid how they feel about what happened in their past. So how they feel as a result of not getting their needs met can end up defining their life.
There are two sides to this pain though: on one side is the rage that one will have experienced and on the other will be the sense of being helpless. One side is going to make one feel strong and the other is going to make them feel weak.
Ending the Cycle
If one were to identity with the rage that they experienced, there is the chance that they will do to others what was done to them, this is a form of indirect revenge and takes place when one is consumed by their emotions.
Alternatively, if one goes beyond the rage and embraces how they feel underneath, they will be taking responsibility for how they feel and they will be able to put an end to the cycle of abuse. Here, one will get in touch with their unmet needs and this is going to be painful.
The rage on top is a way for one to avoid feeling what is underneath and this shows how painful it is. One is going to be grieving their unmet childhood needs and this is unlikely to be something that they can do by themselves.
This is why it will be important for them to seek the assistance of a therapist, healer and/or some kind of support group. Through this support, one will go where they wouldn’t have gone before.
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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.