Abuse running in families is considered common knowledge. There are always exceptions to the rule. Perhaps to put it more diplomatically: It is not uncommon for abuse to be passed down from one generation to the next. Such an argument is frequently employed in court cases. I remember a PSA (Public Service Announcement) showing a little boy who is aged from small child to adulthood. The sound in the background is his father scream and threatening at his mother. The frames show the boy first horrified, then cringing, then embarrassed, mocking, and then screaming and threatening his own wife. The cycle continues until someone decides to break the chain of abuse. A chain breaker.
A chain breaker understands they need help out of the cookie jar and actively seek it.
Years ago, my sister and I discovered a card at DaySpring. Unfortunately, it was an ecard and, as far as I know, no longer exists, except in our memories. We refer to it often, to this day.
Frame One: A lovely, sunny kitchen, with a cookie jar on the counter.
Frame Two: Two gingerbread girls are in the cookie jar gazing up at the opening they can't reach on their own.
Frame Three: One gingerbread girl pushes the other gingerbread girl out of the jar.
Frame Four: The gingerbread girl who is out of the jar reaches down and pulls out the other gingerbread girl.
Frame Five: The two gingerbread girls toddle off into the sunset with big smiles on their faces.
Since I first saw the card, there are times when I believe I haven't escaped the jar, yet. I've slid back in. I worry I may not escape in this life, but I keep trying. The old habits still pop up too easily, but I am doing better.
This isn't true. I have escaped. I've stopped lying. I refuse to carry on the tradition.
The truth will set you free.
I'm not very good at it. There's so much I have to learn now, so many things healthy people learn as they grow up.
The freedom came with a price. I know how crippled I am from living most of my life stuffed in the jar, in the darkness, suffocated by lies.
Darkness does not snuff out light. Ever. Light always banishes darkness. As feeble as the flickering candle appears, it is still better than the total darkness beyond it.
God blesses me with other survivors who aid me in my efforts to nourish and encourage my flame. I also do my best to help as many as possible, no matter how many times someone falls.
Thank you to all the amazing people who share the struggle, without recriminations. I would not be where I am, without your encouragement, understanding, patience, and love. I thank God every day for you. I'm holding my stub of a lit candle aloft, able to peek over the edge of the jar and offer my hand to others stuck in the jar.