July 23, 2013

A Beyond Survivor's Story: Shards of Glass -- Part 3

This is the final installment from CW Seymore, author of Shards of Glass. It has been a real gift to have her on to share her story. Be sure to get your copy of her book, coming out this week! www.shardsofglasscwseymore.com

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To conclude with just a portion of my story being told, it is vitally important that I share what I believe to be at the root of all the abuse my family and I suffered and endured. It is a concept that is near and dear to my heart and one that I feel is also at the very core of abuse throughout the world today.

Why do people abuse? I am quite certain nobody wakes up one day and just decides to become an abuser, causing violence and harm to another. Violence is LEARNED behavior! Does that mean that all those who were abused are predisposed with this tendency or is it something they are conditioned to do  through their own personal experiences of abuse?

I do not claim to be an expert by any means or claim to have all the answers, but I am an expert on my own pain, and as a result, I have my own thoughts and opinions as to why abuse is such a major epidemic throughout society. I must first start off by saying that I do not believe all abusers abuse or that they will become abusers. I don’t believe in stereotyping who is more capable of greater harm, men or women, and to what to degree. I DO believe though, that it is the direct result of what was witnessed in the family home environment, a learned way of coping and solving problems. It is what many witnessed and were exposed to in their childhood homes, and that abuse quite often enters the adulthood of that person repeating or reenacting what they were exposed to--either displaying those actions in the home or in society at large! 

To put it simply, children learn what they LIVE! Children learn to abuse and to expect abuse from role models such as the parents, guardians or protectors, and from what they observed and received.

I am the product of this Generational Abuse! Thus the learned behavior is passed down from generation to generation creating a cycle of abuse for future generations.

My parents were BOTH abused. My father was the product of neglect, abandonment, molestation and witness to DV (Domestic Violence). These behaviors later manifested themselves in my family where I too was a victim, tortured physically, mentally and sexually as a result of his learned behaviors. 

My mother was severely battered all throughout my childhood and barely escaped her tortured marriage. Just witnessing this level of violence and intense abuse have contributed to being diagnosed with several different cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, not to mention the physical and sexual abuse.

My mother was a victim of severe childhood abuse and neglect by her father, and was also molested at an early age by a family friend. Surprisingly, she did not abuse any of us, but she did acquire the abandonment and disassociation from childhood to be a mother who was protecting and providing for us but was not overly loving or nurturing. 

This is something I crave today in my adult life, because it was something so void in my childhood. I have always longed to have a mother who will embrace me tenderly and with overwhelming love, but she only shows it through actions or advice and not in the tender ways that I so badly crave, being starved by it as a child.

My father witnessed years of domestic violence, was abandoned and neglected and his parents were both alcoholics. He was molested at an early age and ignored or overlooked in his childhood. He was never shown love, or that he was special or valued as a child. This neglect and abandonment turned into rage within him and when he started his own family and the pressures of life set in, he unleashed! I have shared bits and pieces of his wrath and insane coping skills in the past two blogs and in my book, “Shards of Glass”.

In understanding what both my parents endured in their childhoods, it has given me a deeper understanding into my own. They were both broken parents lacking essential skills needed to raise their own family. They both brought the ugly from their pasts into our present and drastically affected the lives of four little kids. 

Was it their fault? Some would argue yes, they are responsible, but I choose to go a different route in my understanding of all this. My parents were both so badly hurt and damaged as children that they had no idea how to function “normally” and bring healthy patterns or coping skills into their adult lives, and the lives of their children.  I choose to have compassion and empathy towards my father. He is still very much responsible for his actions and the permanent trauma he caused, but through understanding his past, it enabled me to have sympathy in forgiving him and ultimately healing in my life.

I believe that we must conquer the symptom of generational abuse to win the battle against the present abuse being suffered by millions today! I have read many articles on all forms of abuse but rarely is it mentioned that abusers where witnesses to or direct objects of abuse themselves.

Understanding my abusers abuse, how he suffered as a child, helped me to have compassion and understanding resulting in forgiveness!

My sisters and I have all chosen to end the cycle of abuse! We have all taken active steps in recovery from the insane abuse suffered. I knew that I could not have kids, because I knew what was in me--intense anger, rage and very unhealthy coping skills. I did not want to hurt an innocent person so I chose this path. The sister, who was abused as I was, only had one child and she never abused him; and my other sister has chosen to not have children as well. Unfortunately, my brother never had that option, being killed when he was only 28.

In “Shards of Glass,” I mention this topic and share “snap shots” of all the abuse endured in my childhood and the lasting effects that I struggled with well into adulthood. We need to stop this vicious cycle and end the violence TODAY! I know for myself and my siblings we did stop the Legacy of Violence. It ends here with us!

My greatest of all hopes in sharing my story is that it will affect and touch the lives of others; that pieces of my story will resonate in the hearts and minds of the readers and that they will understand that they are not alone; that there is hope after abuse, and that healing is attainable.  If my story and book touches one life and offers that to another, then my memoir will have done its job and fulfilled its purpose in making the world a better place!

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If you've been touched by CW's story, be sure to leave a comment below!

CW Seymore lives quietly in Florida working with area youth and is available for guest speaking engagements via website and email. Please visit shardsofglasssecwseymore.com for inspirational quotes, blogs, helpful resources, and links in aiding the recovery of the abused.
This photo was graciously authorized for my inclusion in the book by D. Sharon Pruitt. This picture most accurately depicts the horror I often felt as a child. This journey has been tremendously difficult! Recalling the past and reliving the intense fear and pain associated with each memory was emotionally draining awakening my many "Triggers" and sending them into overdrive causing severe panic attacks, anger and intense anxiety. This book is healing for me ending the silence and one step closer to my Higher Calling the Lord has planned for my life. My greatest of all hope, is that these stories and vivid accounts will help other Survivors find hope, healing and comfort in knowing they are not alone! This book is for all those who have suffered in silence at the hands of a Guardian or Protector where Domestic Abuse; extreme Physical Abuse; Verbal Degradation; Mental Anguish, Rape and Sexual Molestation resided. CW Seymore has written Shards of Glass under a pen name to protect her family. 

Please visit http://www.shardsofglasscwseymore.com to learn more or get your copy of her book.

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