survivors

Abuse does not make you a broken monster

Our culture often sends the message that if you were abused as a child, you’ll inevitably abuse your children.

It’s not true. I know multiple people personally who grew up in violent homes who have chosen not to be abusive. They experienced violence as children; they do not commit acts of violence as adults. It is possible, it is happening, and people making that choice deserve more respect and recognition.

It’s easier to learn how to parent well from growing up with good parents. It’s also possible to learn from other people. I know this because I’ve seen people do it. To some extent, *everyone* learns from people other than their own parents. (Including their own children. Kids are born with minds of their own, and people who respect their children learn a lot from them about how parenting can and can’t work.) 

It’s a matter of degree. Everyone needs some degree of help and support in learning how to parent; some people need more help and support. Abuse (among other things) may mean that someone needs more help learning parenting; it does not mean that someone will inevitably become an abuser. 

I think we need to talk about this more. Abuse survivors should not be treated as broken monsters. Violence is a choice, and abuse survivors are capable of choosing nonviolence. Abuse survivors are full human beings who have the capacity to make choices, learn skills, and treat others well. 

I want to learn more about other cultures. I started bc i am a writer and realized my writing was inexcusably non-diverse, but found i wanted to keep on bc i find it rly interesting. There’s a problem tho. I grew up in an abusive family. Seems like many of the cultures im learning about place more emphasis than mine on loyalty to family and respect for elders - something that, when i read about it, i find REALLY triggering. How can i learn when i keep getting panic attacks?
realsocialskills said:
I think the problem might be that you are reading the perspectives of people who aren’t talking about abuse, particularly if what you’re reading is apologetic narratives aimed at presenting a culture to those outside it. Those kinds of narratives don’t have a lot of space to acknowledge that abuse is common, wrong, and needs to be addressed. I suspect that you would find similar writing about your own culture equally triggering.
Maybe what’s triggering you is the feeling like there is no voice for survivors and no way to respond to abuse?
If that’s the problem, I think the solution is to seek out the voices of survivors within the culture you are trying to learn about. What do they say about their culture? How are they addressing abuse? How do their culture’s concepts of family play into that?
Whatever culture you are learning about, there will be people within it who are seeking responses to abuse within their own culture on the terms of their culture. I think that, for you, learning about other cultures probably needs to involve listening to those survivors.