A friend posed recently,
“If someone was abused in childhood does that mean that person will grow up and abuse children similarly?”
What are your thoughts?
My response was round about the following:
That that is the million dollar question….nature verses nature. And the paradox: most perpetrators of childhood abuse (in this instance) have been abused in their childhoods, however most people who have been abused in childhood don’t go on to abuse.
My view is that this is one of those questions that cannot be completely answered one way or the next- well not currently with the information we have personally and collectively at our human species disposal. Certain answers have been vehemently put forward from the main schools of thought-religion, psychology, biology, sociology, criminology, New Age etc. In my opinion none of these responses in and of themselves have all the answers, which keeps the answer to this paradoxical questions currently outside of human grasp. Very often the answer is a bit of this and a bit of that, as well as some (currently) unknown other thing. But we human beings tend to like neatly boxed replies; no uncertainty, please.
But the wonderful thing about questions is that they sets us off on missions and journeys, fore it is as wise souls gone by have said, ‘the question in itself already hold the answer;’ like a mother carrying the seed of a soon to be born baby, destined to be a child, and one day adult. This wisdom shows and tells us if one has come to the question, if one has formed it already in consciousness, the answer has in that moment been found, and now, patiently awaits to be discovered. A discovery that may take aeons, but has been set in motion nonetheless. For me, this idea, this brain child, is very reassuring.
I think the question of repeating child abuse if one has been abused themselves is a question, just like the question of cancer, that need to be continually researched and explored, because like cancer child abuse kills and its destructiveness spreads very far and very wide- across generations oftentimes. I am at a place in life where I am always learning and informing myself, especially on the topic of human behaviour, human growth and development, and recovery and change when trauma has taken place. And today I am very glad that I can now peacefully live with the ‘as yet to be known’ in life and gets posed in Question.
The fact that there is this paradox that most people who have been abused in childhood do not go on to abuse children themselves, gives me a lot of hope and continues to inform my belief that at his and her core the human being upon entry into this world, and parented and loved good-enough, is basically good at heart. It is what we do with the impressionable child, and what we show him and her, as well as the kind of world/community/society, and its particular legacy that the human being is born into, that shapes and further informs, for (even) better or worse.
But there is this wonderful thing called Self-awareness, interchangeably and sometimes referred to as Agency that embraces ‘difference-making;’ the kind that aims to overturn out of balance negatives into life-affirming positives. And there is also this mysterious, powerful, spiritually and emotionally nourishing thing called love, that undo much and gives life that qualitative and creative Midas Touch. And love has so many well-being, well-meaning and well-doing inner-side out relatives, like Empathy, Peace, Truth and Joy, and they all cost nothing, though demand your heart.
I can speak most confidently on these things because I have found this to be so and deeply true on my own healing and self-rediscovery journey. I have also found these things to be true through the experience of accompanying others on their own journeys, in and outside of my counselling practise.
And in particular regards to the recovery end of the self-discovery road, when dealing consciously and purposefully with the trauma that has been unloving dished out, there comes a point when the remainder of the journey becomes about learning to live with the what that has been left behind. Like all deep flesh wounds, psyche-logical wounds leaves scars which every now and then, in and of themselves, as well as in response to live events, will throb and hurt. This is what is left behind and need to be learned to live with and moved forward with, anyway. And I would not call myself religious, though I can be called a Christian: a very unconventional and rebellious one -much like I think Christ was before his white washing, I believe in Spirit. I believe in Spirit, I believe in Soul, and I believe these things to be awesomely benevolent and overall good.
I believe the essence of me has been fashioned out of this benevolent mysterious awesomeness; this Great Being who is too the maker of miracles: in the bringing forth of things that to the current human mindset is deemed impossible. Like the miracle of choosing of love, of choosing of life, of the choice to healing when one has suffered and endured the very worse and unimaginable of the so-called human condition. So for me, and as I currently am, Great is the Mystery! And great is the power and potential that lies within me waiting to be reached to do similarly: not in amount, but very much in humane kind.
We don’t -and I believe can’t -know everything, but perhaps what we know in our hearts to be true for us, from our own learning, growth and experience, IS Enough. We come into an already made world, and we all one day will leave this imperfect ready made world behind. And no one truly knows where we were before we came, and wither we shall go and/or return, but I think we can relax and have faith. We can relax and have faith and still endeavour to put our best foot forward whilst in this world. We can put our best foot forward and endeavour to create in our lives mini worlds that are overall good, and for those of us who parents, give our young the best of possible starts, which by the way does not have to be perfect, just good-enough: meaning more good than bad. And the same very much applies to the relationship we have with our heart and soul selves.
Peace & Love,