I’ve recently had something blow up in my face that at first felt traumatic. But within the next couple of days, it made me see why I’ve had toxic relationships in my life and therefore will help me to stop the cycle.
Without going into too much detail, the thing that happened was that my father got extremely abusive towards me and my daughter; she is 27 and I am 54. He is 77. Emotionally abusive and almost physically abusive.
He has been an abusive man all of his life. A couple of days after the scene, my daughter and I were talking and trying to figure out why he was like this. We know that his father left when he was young and was not involved in his life. We know that his mother worked 2 jobs to support them and she spoiled him, probably trying to make up for his father leaving. We know my father is big and tall and has always had a bully personality and he’s condescending towards anyone with a different opinion than him.
But why is he like that? It’s so hard to understand. Someone can do something nice for him, like serve him a meal and if the meal is not done to his specifications, he’ll berate the person. Like he’s entitled to be treated like a king and if it’s not done right, there’s punishment, sometimes extreme punishment. The reason I don’t understand it is because if a person does one small nice thing for me, I’m almost overwhelmed by it and have huge appreciation for it, no matter how it is done. I could never even think that something was done wrong when someone did something nice for me.
So my daughter and I discussed this and it clicked. His mother and my mom bowed down to his every whim. Both of these women are the most loving women I know. They bowed down not only because they were/are (grandma passed) good people and loved him, but because they didn’t want to stir the pot. If they didn’t do as told, hell would break loose, so to keep things peaceful, they bent over backwards to please him. They put him over themselves.
What would have happened if they loved themselves enough to not tolerate being mistreated? They probably felt there was no reasoning with him, and they were probably right. But had they both walked away from him, maybe he would have learned a lesson. More importantly, they both would have had a better life and saved years of abuse to themselves and their children.
Because I grew up in this situation, I thought it was normal to put up with abusive behavior. I stayed in an abusive marriage for 20 years until I got the guts to leave. At this point all I knew is that I needed peace. I didn’t think of it as self love then.
When I started dating after divorce, I found I was attracted to, and attracted abusive types, or alcoholics. I didn’t get deeply involved with any of them, thank goodness. Now, with this realization of how my dad’s abusive behavior came to be, I hope I can have enough self love to begin healthy relationship cycles. I had enough self love to walk away from my father, and I don’t plan to return.
All of this said, there is no blame towards my mom, grandma or even my father. I know they were all doing the best they could with what they had and probably never realized the implications. I love them all, even my father. I’m just hoping to start a better life and also help my daughter break the abuse cycle.
I hope this helps someone that may be in a similar situation. For years I’ve struggled with anger and abusive situations and didn’t understand why. Now that I know why, maybe I can do something about it besides avoid all relationships, which is what I’ve basically been doing. If you love yourself, everything will fall into place. I’d heard that quote a long time ago, but I didn’t completely understand how deep it goes. Putting others above yourself not only hurts you, but hurts and affects everyone that loves you. When you love yourself, you make decisions accordingly and everything is corrected.
Please, please, please, make it a priority to love yourself!