I have this cousin god is she gorgeous. Unfortunately she allows men to treat her horribly and abuse her. I won’t get into the details, but what she has gone through is horrendous. I always wonder what had to happen to her to ever allow it to happen. Why is she attracting these sort of relationships? Why is this her experience? I know she was raised by an alcoholic. I’m not sure what sort of abuse went on in her home growing up, we rarely saw them. She is a fraternal twin like me, except with a brother. One is gay and one is straight, just like me and my twin sister.
They were our favorite cousins growing up. We looked up to them and we loved visiting them. Her brother never spoke about being gay and still doesn’t to this day. My sister never spoke about it either but after a 10 yr marriage to a man, left her husband for a women and is now married to her and they have a child from a sperm donor. This was my same twin sister that when I wanted to leave my abusive ex husband told me ” I don’t believe in divorce.” The same twin sister who saw bruises in my daughter from my ex husband and did nothing. The twin sister that helped my ex husband take my child that I could not see or speak to for 5 months while my family helped him.
I had heard that my cousin had been abused by the father of her child. So badly so that she had to go to a shelter. I wondered why her mother or our family never really stepped in to help her. I guess I wondered why my family never stepped in to help me. The sad truth for many is and that no one really talks about, is that when you decide to end the abuse and change your life, there is no one there to save you, you have to save yourself. You’re on your own kid. Your going to have to dig deep and find strength you never even knew you had, but watch out because when you get to the other side, they won’t even recognize you & there’s no turning back.
I asked myself the question, “why was it that on both sides of my family 3,000 miles apart ,half on the west coast/ half on the east coast, abuse was happening to two of their own and none of the older generation or other family members were willing to step in to try to do anything about it?” As I got further into recovery I discovered exactly why. My cousin and I didn’t end up in these abusive relationships by some sort of a fluke. This happened because we came from an abusive family system. This was our normal, we were subjected to and witnessed violence and abuse.
We learned at a young age that to conform in the family system we had been born into we had to allow people to control and even abuse us. As children we had to conform for survival reasons. We didn’t allow this to happen for any other reason than the fact that we were trained for it from the time we were born. My cousin and I may as well have had victim written across our forehead. We were an easy target. Low to no self esteem, easily controlled, super sweet, attractive and needing desperately to be loved. We did not receive unconditional love from our family of origin. Our “love” had to be earned based on conditions that we had to meet and by allowing others to control and even abuse us.
Where we ended up was no accident, it was by design. That was our normal. You allow people to control and abuse you and that is “love.” That was the message we got growing up. I have learned to change the unhealthy, dysfunctional messages and beliefs I received as a child. My cousin is unfortunately still living this way. What changed for me was that I made a decision that I no longer wanted to live that way and I certainly did not want my children thinking that abuse was acceptable. I absolutely did not want them to equate abuse with love or ever be disrespected the way I had been.
Somewhere deep inside me I knew I deserved better and could have better. It didn’t have to be like this. I found recovery, thank god and through that recovery found that love should ever be based on conditions. That abuse is never my fault, abuse is never acceptable, ever… and that control is not love. Also, that I am worthy of love and respect and I must first find that within. I found the courage to end the cycle of abuse.
The family cycle of control and abuse that has gone on for generations on not one, but both sides,of my family ends with me. I am breaking the chain. I was the only courageous one amongst cowards to say no more. I pray that my cousin finds the strength and courage one day to say no more as well. To begin to recover and heal, to find self love and to no longer accept abuse in any form. I hope she will take back her power and start to create and live the life that she truly deserves. I send her and all the women out there who have been abused all of my love, in hope that one day they can love themselves enough to end it. Wishing you well on your healing journey Anne-Marie Wiesman