Stopping the Generations of Abuse

Stopping the Generations of Abuse // www.trihopemichigan.com

Abuse. Society’s unacknowledged epidemic. Neglect and abuse, whether it’s physical, emotional, sexual or spiritual, happens at an alarming rate in America. “The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average almost five children every day to child abuse and neglect.”1,2­ Abuse and neglect cross all socio-economic, race and religious borders. It affects us all.

Helping Survivors Changes the Future

When working with survivors of sexual and often other forms of abuse, people frequently view it as helping the individual alone. However, I see it as helping generations of people. In a sense, it is also preventative work as abuse is so often repeated throughout generations.

Am I saying that everyone abused will become an abuser? Absolutely not. However, there are many cases of individuals with unhealed wounds of childhood abuse that go on to either abuse or marry an abuser, causing the cycle of abuse to begin all over again.

Rewrite History or It’s Likely to Repeat

I am a survivor of abuse. Looking back at my parents, I see that they too came from a history of abuse. My father was most likely abused as a child and my mother was emotionally abused as a child. So, what happened? My father became my abuser, and my mother didn’t know her worth and didn’t see the red-flags of abuse in marrying my father.

My heart breaks as I see survivor after survivor who have had abusive husbands and relationships after enduring so much abuse already. One survivor asked, “Do I have some sort of sign on me saying ‘come and get me?’” Whilst there is no sign, per-say, survivors of abuse often walk with the weight of abuse on their shoulders, leading to shame and low self-esteem. They desire love so much that they are willing to sacrifice being cherished and honored to just be wanted.

I was one of these people. I didn’t expect people to care or truly love me, so when a guy was interested in me, I ignored all the red flags of manipulation and emotional abuse that were there from the start.

The Cycle of Abuse Can Stop with You1 Peter 5:10 // www.trihopemichigan.com

The good news? There is hope. Healing from wounds of abuse can help stop the cycles of abuse. Knowing your worth in Christ can break the chains of self-hatred and low self-esteem. You can see yourself as a child of God, worth
y of love and kindness. Choosing to take the very difficult steps towards healing can not only bring you freedom today, but can allow for freedom from abuse for your children tomorrow. It’s never too late! If you feel as if you’ve already let the cycle begin again, you and your family can find hope, freedom and healing! Begin the journey of healing today. You’d be amazed at the years God will restore.

I’m so thankful that God put me on the healing journey that I am still on today. I was able to get away from the abusive relationship I was once in and discover my beauty and worth in Christ, which led me to accept the pursuit of a man who truly would love and care for me. Today he remains one of the biggest instruments of healing in my life. Healing my wounds with love.

If you would like help in starting your healing journey, contact us at info@trihopemichigan.com or visit our website at www.trihopemichigan.com.

 

  1. Child Maltreatment 2015. Published: January 19, 2017. An office of the Administration for Children & Families, a division of U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. This report presents national data about child abuse and neglect known to child protective services agencies in the United States during federal fiscal year 2015. Retrieved from: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/child-maltreatment-2015
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2013). Child Maltreatment 2012. Available from: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/research-data-technology/statistics-research/child-maltreatment

Living with PTSD

Living with PTSD // TrihopeMichigan.com

For much of my life I believed that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was only found in soldiers as a result of their time at war. Never did I think that one day my therapist would look at me and say “you have PTSD”. In that moment, all my preconceived ideas of what this condition was, flew out the window. I was made to see that every day I walk by people—normal looking people, not wearing uniforms—who are living and reliving their worst nightmare.

I wanted to give you a glimpse of what it is like living with PTSD, so that those of you who live with this, know that you’re not alone, or that those of you who don’t know the reality of it, can more fully understand.

PTSD and Groceries

Imagine this with me, if you would:

You’re walking down the aisle of the grocery store, pushing a cart in front of you. A man turns down the aisle and starts walking towards you…

If you’re lucky, your mind does not spit images from your past into your vision, making you forget where and when you are. If you manage to stay in the present, you are assaulted with a flood of adrenaline (the fight or flight response) causing your heart to pound in your chest, your breathing to become shallow and unsteady and your hands to shake. Everything in you wants to turn and run.  You try to remind yourself that you’re in a supermarket, no-one is going to hurt you. Your body ignores your rationale and shivers begin to race up and down your spine. You are now convinced that it’s going to happen again. This man in front of you is going to pin you down and rape you here and now. There is nowhere to run, nowhere to go. Yielding yourself to what you deem as the inevitable, you force your mind and body to detach—a method you learned long ago to keep yourself safe from the horror of the reality…

Someone touches your arm and you snap back into the grocery aisle. “Ma’am, are you okay?” The woman next to you has a crease of concern between her eyebrows. You realize you’ve been staring blankly at a box of cereal for who knows how long. The man is long gone but your fear continues to paralyze you. “Yes,” you manage to squeak out, desiring to hide away from everyone. Self-hatred and frustration begin to build inside you since you can’t even walk around a grocery store without your past getting in the way.

From the Outside Looking In

My husband has seen me in this state many times. He describes it as such,

“She starts to have difficulty focusing on reality. Sometimes, I was able to distract her enough to keep her from going into a full blown flashback, but many times she would become dead to the world, staring off into space, her body looking uneasy and her lips shaking. I would say her name and her eyes might look at me for a split second, but she wouldn’t really see me there and would continue to stare in a panicked manner. Other times she would interact with me, but she was still reliving a past traumatic memory. I just happened to be in the room with her. Even though I would tell her she is safe and it was only me there, she would still be terrified and panicking and would hear or see her abuser. These states could be as short as a few minutes or as long as an hour. The worst part was that once the flashback took over, I was often helpless to stop it or to bring her back to reality. I could only do my best to comfort her until she was back.”

PTSD affects all aspects of your life. It makes you more prone to depression, anxiety, eating disorders and addictions. It gets in the way of relationships and aspirations. It is not something that will simply disappear over time. It is a daily battle.

There is hope. There is always hope.

I have been living with PTSD for over 8 years now. I cannot say it has always been getting better. Some days are worse than others. But through the grace of God and the support of many friends, I have been able to move from surviving to thriving. I continue the climb onward, encouraging and helping other survivors along the way, one step at a time.

For more information on PTSD see: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/post-traumatic-stress-disorder.htm

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