Break the Cycle

My cousin Andre was born with diabetes… All he has known since he was born is insulin shots, pricks on his finger, and people watching what he eats…Even now, at almost 30, we still watch him when he reaches for a piece of cake… My Aunt Martha was born with an astigmatism, she was never able to see very well… Without her glasses I look like a giant Hershey bar (her words not mine). My best friend David was born with muscle dystrophy, he inherited it from his dad, whose spine, at 60, is completely curved. If you passed David walking down the street you’d never know that he was using all his strength to control his muscles…His biggest fear is that he’ll one day be like his father…. Even though he knows it’s more likely than not, that he will face the same future. I inherited a disease from my dad too…. Like David’s it’s one you’d never be able to see unless you came behind closed doors… I inherited hate… Anger rushes through my veins like venom…

I remember it like it was yesterday…I couldn’t have been more than two or three years old…. My dad came home from work and my mom was outside talking to Mr. Johnson, our neighbor, she was trying to get him to go home…. My dad grabbed her arm and pushed her inside…. Mr. Johnson was still apologizing when the door slammed… My dad’s fist kissed her cheek right where his lips should have landed…. tears streamed silently down her face as she stared at me…My dad walked by me, I was standing in the doorframe of my room, he grabbed my chin and told me, at two years old…. that’s how you keep your woman in check. He went back into his room to shower and changed out of his work clothes.

When I finally found mama in the kitchen, she was sitting at the table with one of my popsicles pressed to the side of her face…. I sat beside her, moved the popsicle, and kissed the part of her face where my dad invited his fist moments earlier…. This was my mama, the woman whose voice sang the sweetest lullaby to me each night before bed…who woke me each morning with the softest whisper…who I never heard raise her voice until she experienced the strength of my dad’s fists…

What I remember the most about that night is what happened at dinner. My dad emerged from their bedroom, kissed my mother as she put the final touches on dinner and then played with my trucks and me…. It was as if nothing had ever happened. It reminded me of this one time I got in trouble for coloring on the walls and daddy spanked me, the next morning before school he hugged me. He told me he had to whoop me so that I’d learn my lesson… Daddy was just teaching mama a lesson..

I never quite understood why it was the daddy’s job to teach lessons. Mama got on to me but she never hit on me like daddy hit on us… I guess I just assumed that’s what makes men different from women, men have to make sure everyone stays in their place no matter what it takes.

It wasn’t until I was in college when I met Rebecca that I knew it was time for me to assert my manhood. She had a smart little mouth, and most of the time I could raise my voice and she would get in line…She must have been stressed from school because when I told her to calm down, before we had a problem, she tested me…. When my massive hand hit her small face she knew I wasn’t playing with her.

Every now and then I would have to remind Rebecca that she was to be seen not heard .I didn’t have too many problems out of her so we decided to get married. We had been married almost three years when I got the call….

My dad called me at work and told me that things had gone too far. Mama was in ICU. I rushed to the medical center, pushed the elevator buttons as fast as I could…When I finally got to mama’s room there she was…. as angelic as I always remembered her…covered in bruises, her face marked with stitches, arm in a cast…Still when she saw me she tried to force a smile.. I kneeled by her bed, tears cascading down my face, life’s saddest waterfall… When my sobs finally stopped…this sweet woman who was responsible for the best parts of me took me by the chin, looked me in my eyes and said, “You have to stop…” She said nothing else as I stayed there and sobbed.

I drove home in a daze…I replayed every hit I witnessed, every strike I had given, every tear I had caused, every bruise I begged to emerge with my fists…How did I become this man? I couldn’t even bring myself to call Rebecca… by now she knew mama was in the hospital and probably packed her bags before she was the next victim to check in.. I can’t even blame her for that. You know what’s crazy about all of this? I love Rebecca…I loved her the only way I knew how to love… I never knew my love was laced with hate…

It was almost 8am when I began my drive home…I passed by the church I attended each Sunday as a child…pulled my car in and sat in the back…The old Pastor was just beginning his sermon but I knew I was right on time when he told me he was speaking about love… “ It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

At some point between 2 and 33 my love became toxic…how could I love my mother…love my wife… love my daughter like this…To be honest, I don’t even love myself…My love harms, abuses, fades in and out…The opposite of real love.. I have a disease just like my cousin….aunt….best friend…I have a disease just like my dad.. If I don’t fix this now…I will be passing this disease down to my son…

In an effort to bring awareness to domestic violence, I have written this blog…While the story is fictional the issues are real. The statistics on domestic violence are staggering…Abuse does not discriminate… Your race, class, financial status, educational background, religion, nor gender can spare you from its face. Both the abuser and the victim have their own separate issues…. their own diseases that alters how they receive/give love.

God’s salvation is strong enough to help you; His love can reach the darkest parts of your heart…the deepest bruises… Salvation is defined as, the act of saving from harm…If you are strong enough to call out to Him. He can save you…even from yourself.

God only you know the secrets that take place behind closed doors. You are the only person who sees all the good and bad things about us and loves us regardless, deem us worthy of your grace and mercy. I am asking that you touch those in need of your love today. Heal the hearts of your people so that we can know for ourselves how painless love should be. God help us to understand love…the power it has to “protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere.”…Too often have we done things in the name of love that doesn’t reflect the love we receive from You each day. Above all, God protect those innocent babies… who eventually grow into adults and must decide whether or not to break the cycle..

If you, or someone you know, is the victim of domestic violence please visit: http://www.thehotline.org/ for more information on how to receive help

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Comments

  1. this is great

  2. Sonya Goins says:

    WoW!!! I have never been in an abusive relationship, thank God! but I do know of people who have and who is in one. Thanks for this message. I am sending out a prayer to every person who have or is in an abusive relationship and I pray that God will help them to get away before its to late. In Jesus Name Amen….

  3. You have a way of making your message come alive in my heart. Thanks 4 sharing, Sarah.

  4. TrulyGrateful says:

    AWESOME ! THANK YOU W.O.G. FOR BEING A VOICE AND SPEAKING OUT AGINST D.V. MAY YOUR CUP CONTINUE TO RUN OVER WITH THE WISDOM AND THE POWER OF GOD AS YOU MINISTER. MAY HE SEW INTO YOUR LIFE YOUR HEARTS DESIRE AS YOU HAVE AND CONTINUE TO SEW INTO HIS PEOPLE.
    BLESSINGS

  5. Frieda Alexander says:

    Great blog!!! So very real.
    I disagree with the victim having a disease. I experienced domestic violence & made a choice as quickly as it happened to get out. I don’t have any issues on how to give or receive love, he does. Most abusive men don’t show the signs for a long period of time after a traumatic experience triggers it. He was an abused child & never dealt with watching his mother, (Teacher/Principal who has a Doctorate in education), being abused to the point of loosing an unborn child while 6 months pregnant. It took loosing his job for him to turn into the very person he despised, his abusive father. But unlike his mother, I was not going to live that life nor allow my daughters to grow up thinking that is how a man is suppose to treat a woman.
    I am an intercessor, and prayer & fasting is a way of life for me. So I went to God and sought directions, strategies and a plan to smoothly move from that place. It’s been over 5 years now and I live in a healthy Christian environment with my two girls. Their father still have his issues that he refuse to be accountable for, and we are free in Christ.

    I have spoken at various Domestic Violence Rallies and counsel women in Domestic Violence shelters. Yes, the faces behind Domestic Violence can be found in every ethnic group, financial bracket, Christian, Non-Believer, city or country. All the victims need is to know & feel God’s love and know that somebody cares about them and is willing to walk them trough the process of healing and finding their worth.

  6. Well Done! It takes courage to write about things that others pretend not to see. I pray that God will continue to give you the strength, courage and wisdom it takes to be a great writer.

  7. You speak so rightly Sarah your posts are just pearls for me keep blogging

  8. Pam Grayson says:

    The impact on the indirect victims (the children) is just as critical as it is to the actual victim. Excellent blog. I’m a survivor! Love u girl!

  9. Alfreda Pittman says:

    Another great one Sarah. Thank you for sharing your gift with us. Have a wonderful Sunday.

  10. Patrice Hall says:

    Sarah thank you for bringing awareness thru your blog! God bless you for speaking for those who can’t speak for themselves. KEEP WRITING!!!! #3 Fan

  11. Brittany Eady says:

    Amen….God bless you!

  12. Powerful food for thought.!!

  13. Excellent piece!!! Thanks for raising awareness. I posted the contact info for The Domestic Violence Hotline earlier today (not even realizing that it was Domestic Violence Awareness Month- thanks for the reminder!). This is a topic that can’t be discussed enough. Blessings to you!!

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