3 generations of abuse

We are 3 generations of women in my family now that have experienced abusive relationships.  My mother lived as a young woman in the depression era; the motto for women in those days and the fifties was “get married, have children, be a housewife.”  So she did, but after her first two children she was widowed.  So she found someone to remarry; he abused her and her children.  He was also gay, and tried to hide it by being married to her.  He was an alcoholic, abusive, and would disappear for weeks, leaving her with nothing.  With no family to turn to, she tried to get by, but had 3 nervous breakdowns in the process, and almost lost her children while in the hospital as they had been placed in foster homes, but one of them was almost adopted out.  Another christian couple that she knew helped her to regain custody of him.  Both of the first two kids were physically and sexually abused by him.  She had two more children with him before it ended, and she was able to get a divorce.  Years later, she met my father, a good man who took on 4 children as his own, and also had me.  But, unfortunately, he also died when I was ten, and again she was on her own, with 2 children, myself and my sister to support and raise.

So I have a daughter; she was married and had one son.  Her husband physically and sexually abused her.  He gained custody of their son with an expensive lawyer that his grandma payed for.  My daughter tells me that he still subjects my grandson to pornography in his house.

And then there’s me; I started a second marriage because I wanted more children; had 3 more.  Then my husband became abusive, to the kids and myself.  I kept thinking it would get better, but it didn’t.  I finally got the courage to leave him with the help of my daughter and moved away to start a new life; but now the system has failed me like nothing ever happened.  And I am really tired.  It’s just like when I was in it; I kept thinking it would be the last time and then he would do something again.  And now every time the kids go for visitations that the court allows, he does something more.  And I try to report it to agencies, DHS, and the kids counselor, but nothing gets done.  And what really irks me is all the money in the form of grants that is being given to crisis centers and legal institutions that don’t do shit to help once they get the money; there is no quality assurance or watchdog to keep them honest.  So, now I have 3 kids to finish raising, and my daughter has 3 children to raise and protect.  But nobody listens.  Not even the churches here.  Went to one church for over six months, a mega church, and only met two people.  Found another one; the pastor promises that the female counselor from the church will call me, but she never does.  And I keep praying for answers and direction of what God wants me to do, because the only thing I know right now is the Lord Jesus Christ cares, otherwise I wouldn’t be here today for his purpose, still livin and breathin.

About mercy4women

Christian mother, survivor of domestic abuse and violence by the grace of God
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1 Response to 3 generations of abuse

  1. Amen! says:

    Dear Mercy4Women:

    (the site above is not mine, but a recommended one, and explains why the mainstream “help” group’s aren’t. )

    Many books of the new testament begin “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” but SOME of them begin “Grace, mercy and peace….,” such as I & II Timothy, when times were tough (including betrayals and persecutions) for Paul nearing the end of his life and ministry, which as we now know ended in a Roman prison. II Corinthians begins with lots and lots of the word “comfort” in many forms.

    Your story looks like from the same playbook almost — unbelievable, even down to the car story, the double sources of income, working two shifts, and your constantly negotiating for survival. And that “showing up at your shoulder,” I know about too.

    Maybe in this day of the internet you can teach your own children such things as how to do a background check, the importance of locating and interviewing (not listening only to his side of the story) former partners, and getting something of a financial and family history. I do want to say – thank God you were able to move out of state and still actually have custody of your children. Many women don’t. I couldn’t, and now I don’t, and like you am concerned about the next generation of accepting abuse and violation of every civil right, bill of right around.

    War is war, and world wars I’ve come to conclude do affect marriages; maybe THAT’s the “cycle of abuse” that we should be talking to. And of course many wars are really, basically, about money. This is why I’m thinking to start a 2nd blog (first is “http://familycourtmatters.wordpress.com”) dealing with the child support angle, and things women need to know (you already do, it seems)) about its negative affect on marriages, whether of the divorcing one, or of the next woman an abuser marries. In our case, this second woman was definitely “used” (although I warned her about both the DV and the child support arrears motive beforehand), and now is furious with me (on any contact) and I can’t say more in public.

    We all need mercy, and to have a strong tower to run to. As you know this tower doesn’t exist in the government, the nonprofit agencies who receive tax$$ to help the government do its supposed jobs (relationship counseling was never a government’s job, but as your family background shows, governments do get into matchmaking and “breeding” when they shouldn’t.)

    Churches ( which “mega-church?” If you are in Colorado, or AZ, let’s talk!). My abuse happened “in the open behind closed doors” among home fellowships, church attendances, employers/colleagues, and my own family. The past years have been primarily a diligent effort to CTA (the plural of “CYA,” i.e., Cover Your Ass,” pardon the anatomy reference). Churches are nonprofit religious organizations, and behave according to their mandates, which are generally speaking as financial as anyone else’s — they have bills to pay and reputations to keep up. I have found help in unexpected quarters — always from individuals, NOT groups — except that I now expect it from any quarter. All my support networks were cut, but like a lot of women, I learned to sprout new ones, and try to hold it together, not letting grief get the upper hand.

    ===
    Can’t take too long today, but you see from my other posts that I am tracking grants, and though while I don’t think we can totally “fix” a system designed to manage families and create a constant stream of distressed customers (which are the clientele), we might be able to put it out of business by a number of means:

    1. Expose the mis-use of grants, and shut down the ones that are compromising the legal system for families (Healthy marriage, responsible fatherhood, access visitation. By the way, this is run federally from the OCSE, office of child support enforcement)
    2. Find ways for mothers leaving violent relationships (not all divorces involve this, but many that end up in the courts do, after which it gets worse, not better) to do so without entering family court
    3. Warn women NOT to engage in relationships where they are co-dependent or he is dependent upon them, do NOT sacrifice financial integrity.
    4. Warn everyone — men and women both — to “boycott child support” — don’t go after it as mothers if you have custody (it may cause losss of custody these days), and if possible to stay off welfare, DO SO — because when you get welfare, they will go for child support from the father, and from there he can (and often does) get recruited or helped to lower his payments by keeping you in court to get more access. The set of funds doing this are called “access/visitation.” That program is now so well established, it’s basically going into another generation (I think) and elsewhere.
    5. I have an unusually broad experience among “the faithful” and believe it’s time these churches either start recognizing, complying with, PUBLIcizing and acknowledging the laws in the U.S. which protect women against violence, and children against abuse.

    Pastors are mandated reporters. Churches who fail to report repeatedly should lose nonprofit status as churches, period. (we almost were shot, as a family, or stabbed to death — the threat was highest — while in “counseling” with an evangelistic, multicultural, prospering Protestant church. This church has since expanded and is doing “great.” So many people in it witnessed the situation, and they imitated their leaders’ silence on it, for the most part. As a result, today, though I have tried, I simply do not and will not attend a regular church. Many places attract predators and abusive men; they know where to find submissive women. Alternately, the pressure to have a family on these groups also causes women to compromise.
    ~ ~ ~ ~
    [[RE this part of your post: “And now every time the kids go for visitations that the court allows, he does something more. And I try to report it to agencies, DHS, and the kids counselor, but nothing gets done. And what really irks me is all the money in the form of grants that is being given to crisis centers and legal institutions that don’t do shit to help once they get the money; there is no quality assurance or watchdog to keep them honest.”

    ~>~>As women we are taught to be in “help-seeking” mode and that dutiful, compliant behavior will be rewarded by a fair government or some other enforcer. Narrating provides a track record, (I found), but doesn’t change the situation. We have to find other ways — I don’t recommend breaking any law, and being SMART about safety/risk assessment — your intuition being God-given for survival and protecting your “young” — to establish swift and tangible consequences for trespassing. Exceptions: some people “need” to engage, to fight, and this is perceived as a form of affection or opportunity to engage. Abandonment is the worst hell for them. [[I think you mentioned the abusive husband you had, had been adopted out? So he’s already experienced that.]] This is your life, and these are your children, too. Be strong and smart and wise; now that you know reporting isn’t helping, work hard to figure out another way to handle the situation. And be aware of the extent of judicial corruption in the system, I wouldn’t recommend “gambling” that you get an honest player in the court system — already you’ve seen that the other systems aren’t honest either. But God is faithful. . . . . ]]

    “…So, now I have 3 kids to finish raising, and my daughter has 3 children to raise and protect. But nobody listens. Not even the churches here. ”

    [[Yes, that is true. they don’t. Don’t expect them too. Individuals may, though and individuals that know, love and respect you, or who are themselves of good character, as you find thm, they can. Also be aware that people sometimes need to distance themselves from our trauma for their own sake. For example, my support systems were VERy strong (the profession I was in formed strong connections between people, good ones), they eventually wore out, because these things can go on forever.]]

    Went to one church for over six months, a mega church, and only met two people. Found another one; the pastor promises that the female counselor from the church will call me, but she never does. And I keep praying for answers and direction of what God wants me to do, because the only thing I know right now is the Lord Jesus Christ cares, otherwise I wouldn’t be here today for his purpose, still livin and breathin.”]]

    ~>~>~>~Amen to that, and I’m glad to hear it coming out of your lips. Keep confessing those truths and make them your own, watch them come to pass.
    When I read about the air bag that didn’t go off, consider that God. Many women have had our moments like that. Abuse/violence CAN kill, and that it hasn’t, is something to be thankful for.

    (we exchanged comments on Anne Caroline Drake’s post yesterday)
    (now that I’ve commented, as blog-owner, you have my email. I am going through tough times now, housing and immediate future at stake, and I have no contact (“no” means “none”) with the children I raised, and who lived with me til they hit puberty, approximately, after which time, custody switch through court order violations, after which this was further sealed (with help from my family) through combo physical intimidation (from the ex/stalking), his girlfriend’s assistance in continuing to break the custody orders (i.e., when I became a noncustodial parent, and court ordered visitation — it basically didn’t happen, and ceased having meaning the moment they entered that household)., and basic poverty, as no one can work around all that. Pick one — your job, or your kids. Now, repeat — year after year. See how the job situation looks.

    This is also why I believe women in the courts should be not be employEES but into some other form of survival and sustenance. We know women whose wages are being garnished to below survival level (i.e., they’re homeless!) after a custody switch. Some are exploring the discrepancy between how child support is assessed to mothers (after switch) versus fathers. An entire federal program (responsible fatherhood) exists to help noncustodial men get to their kids, even if they’re in prison, and especially if they’re highly in arrears on child support. Nothing like this for women; that’s our U.S.A. I was shocked when I learned about it, after spending years trying to get a response from local agencies which proclaimed that they actually did what their names implied and their missions statements said they did. Nope, it’s basically a racket.

    WOuldn’t it be great to make a racket about the racket(eering)? But first, the business for mothers is raising our children or (noncustodial mothers) — well, survival and regaining contact, if possible, and safe, before they are adult.

    As a Christian woman, you became in some ways more vulnerable to abuse, but as a Christian woman, you also have real source of strength, faith and hope to turn it around and leave a legacy and example of this for your kids. It’s just that this faith is no longer in the systems. . . . . . This is actually a healthy approach, because when we walk up to systems, any system, saying “HELP! You receive federal $$ (or private) to help people like us/me/my kids” you are legitimzing their business plan. I think private and individually obtained relationships and contacts are better, even if started later in the process.

    I will pray for you. Psalm 34. Romans 15:13, and read what comes before and after, too. (Avoid megachurches. Did Jesus hang out primarily in the temple? Read the book!) These are tough times, and the tough get going during them. My weak point these days is narrating the problem instead of declaring the solution, either directly from scripture (as that’s vital to you) and/or from what you are inspired to see as how to address the problems you have noticed. Both are necessary. And you’re not here/now by accident, that I guarantee you!

    Hug your kids and remember the Moms who can’t.

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