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Posts Tagged ‘Why do people marry child abusers?’

I understand why my mother grew up to be a child abuser. Her parents abused her, and she did the same to my sister and me. I don’t condone it, and I view her as weak, but I do understand that a person who has been abused might repeat what was done to him or her. I don’t even want to know how many generations of abuse took place that ended with my sister and me. I am glad that we stopped it.

What I find much harder to understand is why my father’s side of the family was prone to marrying abusers. My father could have married just about any woman on the planet, but he chose my mother, who abused my sister and me. Why did he choose her? What was it about her that drew him to her?

I just found out that my uncle (who married my father’s sister) was a child abuser as well. I knew that he was a raging alcoholic and could get mean as a snake when we was drunk, and I suspected that he sometimes got too rough with the kids, but I did not know the extent of his abuse until recently. In this case, none of the abuse was sexual, but he was physically abusive to his wife and children and even came close to killing them one time.

My father and his sister grew up in the same house. Neither of them were abusers, but they both chose to marry abusers. Neither of them liked the abuse, but neither removed their abused children from the abusive spouses. Why not?

There is one other sibling – my uncle. He had multiple affairs before my aunt finally kicked him out of his house. My grandparents (father’s parents) were very judgmental of this woman for dumping their son. My grandparents were also quite upset to learn that, in adulthood, my cousin cut off contact with her mother. They asked, “Who cuts off contact with their own mother?” Of course, they were asking this question of someone else who had done the same thing but did not tell them. I know why I cut off contact. Could my cousin have taken the same action for the same reason? If so, that makes this family 0 for 3 in choosing spouses.

What was it about this family that groomed three children to marry child abusers and not protect their children? (Assuming that my aunt was also a child abuser, my uncle left the kids behind and married another woman with children, so he made no effort to save the children.) Yes, I get that it was a different time and all that malarkey, but the parent-child bond has been the same since the beginning of time. I know how bonded I am to my child, and it would feel natural to kill to protect him. Somebody has to be really messed up in the head to allow another person to inflict harm on his or her child on a regular basis.

Does anyone have a hypothesis about what type of family dynamic breeds spouses of child abusers? To my knowledge, nobody in my father’s family drank when he was a child. My grandfather was strict and was known to hit the children over the head with the humongous family Bible on occasion, but I have never been told about beatings or sexual abuse. However, 0 for 3 is a really bad record. Any ideas?

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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