This week I realized that I am ready to return to wholeness. This past Sunday I had a huge fight with my dad. It was the first time in my life that I actually threatened to hit him if he didn’t stop yelling at me about a trivial detail of that moment. It was the second time in my life that I raised my voice at him to match his volume. And in my 33 years, it was maybe the 3rd or 4th that I even spoke up or defended myself against his constant attacks, criticism and irrational and unpredictable aggressive outbursts. It took extreme courage for me to use my voice that day, and the novelty of it blew both of us away. I have never threatened to hit anyone in my life, and don’t feel proud of needing to take it that far, but I do feel my life is different since Sunday.
Why? Because I FINALLY REALIZED THE TRUTH. I finally realized my father was verbally abusive and has been all my life. And I have to say, I don’t know what was more shocking – the fact that this was the case, or that it took an Ivy League educated woman 33 years of her life to figure it out. I’ve been so relieved to discover 2 wonderful books on the topic of verbal abuse: “The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to recognize it and how to respond” and “Victory Over Verbal Abuse: A Healing Guide to Renewing Your Spirit and Reclaiming Your Life” by Patricia Evans. They helped me to validate my experience and let me see that I’m not crazy! But if I’m not, then why did it take me so long to see this truth?
In my case, I was raised with abuse, as were both of my parents, so it was default for me, as well as all of my family. Growing up in communist Poland, still recovering from the traumas of 2 world wars, the country was broken, and many individuals felt that brokenness on a personal level too. Racism, sexism and imbalanced patriarchy are just some manifestations of that separateness. In essence, I grew up in a culture that normalized abuse because it itself was abused. Fast forward 12 years, when I finally arrive in the United States, a country that did not suffer direct damage from those wars, I still find a culture that largely normalizes abuse toward women. This time it is through a media saturated culture of separation and objectification.
Realizing this has brought me to start this blog. It is mainly a way to help myself cope and process my experiences, but also a way to join the growing community of voices speaking out against this broken system. One thing is certain after this Sunday. This PeacefulP isn’t willing to be silent any more.
I welcome your thoughts on this… feel free to leave a comment below.