Breaking the cycle
Like I said in the last Bully post, I have dealt with bullies all of my life. Unfortunately when you grow up dealing with bullies, sometimes you fall into the same trap that they fell into – you yourself become the bully and those around you are infected by your toxicity.
My dad’s step father – from whom I bear my last name – was a very mean man. He was the quintessential bully and he took it out on his kids and his wife (my paternal grandmother). The children were beaten, they were subjected to harsh conditions – while he pursued his job – and they were neglected having to fend for themselves (according to the stories I have heard).
My dad said that one time they were living in Alaska, and the shed where they slept, would let snow in and they had to learn to keep warm. That is awful conditions to put any child through. He made my father work at a really young age, and took his money when he made it.
When I was a child, I saw him take money from my two older brothers and when I started making money he would take it from me as well – which was an enticement for me to leave after turning 18.
I would love to tell you that the bullying stopped right there when I left home. However, it did not. I actually became the bully. I tried to bully my wife – I told her, “you promised to obey in our marriage vows.”
She looked at me and answered, “NO, I don’t need to obey you, we are partners – you are not my master.” I was shocked, I was the man of the house, and she was the woman. It did not stop there. I was not nice to my children either. there are several times I remember that I forced my will on my children.
My oldest son bullied his brother – but he stopped when he was a teenager and now is a fantastic dad to his children. He broke the cycle.
My second oldest never bullied, but turned into the protector and became a shield to his younger siblings against his grandfather. He broke the cycle
It took me several years and a lot of tears to realize I was the bully. I had to stop, I had to reign in my anger and realize they were only children. I pulled back and I was not physical with my youngest children – and I would never ever be physically aggressive to my grandchildren.
The chain of abuse has to be broken, it has to be brought up to the bully and they need to be given the chance to get help and to change. If the abuse doesn’t stop, then the abused must distance themselves from the abuser. I was able to recognize it, and that recognition stopped me in my tracks. Do I still get angry – yes. Do I react to that anger – I channel it differently. Am I perfect – absolutely… NOT!
The point of this post. If you suffered from abuse from a parent, family member, extended family member, spouse or someone from the outside, you are not alone and it is not your fault – you need to get help. If you have become the bully – you also need to get help. There are many different websites and resources to help:
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE(7233)