Possibly one of my greatest fears is that I too am an abusive person. That if I have a child I will subject them to the same things that I was subjected to.
Recently I came across the theory that abuse is a learned behaviour, not a genetic one. Which makes me wonder, can I unlearn the behaviour? Is knowledge enough to break this cycle.
I think one of the things that compounds the cycle of abuse is the culture of silence, we do not like to talk or hear about unpleasant things that happen to people like us. And so, we don’t speak out about violence. We keep the secret…Out of shame, out of fear, out of a whole host of reasons…We know that we cannot untell.
My abuse is a lot less secret than it was two years ago, but if 20 people know about it, it is a lot.
Obviously, at the moment, my circumstances about speaking out of changed. I now have the double taboo. Society does not allow us to speak ill of mothers. And it frowns on speaking ill of the dead. So speaking ill of your dead mother is one of the things that is just not done.
But my mom’s death does not simply erase the past. Nor does it change it. As I grow, and learn more, I can gain a different and compassionate outlook on what happened to my mom and how she almost had no conscious choice in what she did to me. By that I mean she did not set out to abuse me, and in many ways was incapable of overcoming the pattern that she learned as a child.
I don’t condone her abuse. I don’t know if I forgive her yet. But I can look on her actions towards me with compassion. I don’t ever think I will ever achieve complete understanding…I think the scars were inflicted when I was too young and vulnerable. In many ways, it is surprising that the learned response to hurt over-rode the biological imperative to protect.