Coming from my history where sexual activity, alcohol, drugs, and value was only felt through being desired by a man; I’ve done some pretty horrible things in my life.
“If someone wanted to have sex with me, then I was worthy of existence”
My only perceived value was in my sexuality as an object, not as a person. Needless to say, seeing my value only through my being wanted by a man flowed into my adult relationships and my example as a mother. The broken spirit of ugliness, overweight teen with scarred disfigured skin from not bathing; black broken fangs for teeth from never having a toothbrush or given the human kindness and decency for proper hygiene; the teen I was with all my distorted perceptions felt grateful for any man wanting to be with me or choosing me as their wife.
“I was well trained to be submissive; accepting their degradation, control, beatings and almost murderous actions because I was nothing without them.”
This pattern of life was all I knew, it was who I was as a person. The training of all those childhood nightmares was such a huge part of me and controlled how I viewed my self worth; how I behaved and presented myself to others.
“The value of me was only in what others allowed me to feel.”
To say the least my behaviors and choices we all made with a broken and distorted thought process. These distorted views drove who I chose to have sex with, who I chose as my husband or boyfriends and how I allowed them to control my world.
Sadly it was those ‘bad’ choices and ‘bad’ behaviors that infected my children’s world. It is the greatest regret and guilt I still carry today. They grew up believing that the men in my life were more important and I’m sure my behaviors are what led them to believe this.
“How could they possibly believe they carried more value in my heart, if all of the men controlled my actions as a mother?”
Throughout my marriages and relationships I did everything to perfection to ensure the men were never disappointed. However, ensuring their satisfaction was done for reasons other than their importance to me. I ensured perfection in all details of my home in hopes to keep the man from exploding, which was my biggest and constant concern. I needed them to love me, but even more so I needed them not to harm me or my children. Thankfully I can say none of these men ever charged and attacked my children. However, hiding in the closet filled with terror because your mom is being slammed and beaten is nothing a child should ever know. My kids saw their mother’s crying battered body trying to console them and assure them it was nothing. “He was just drunk, just upset because of something I did or didn’t do, or listen as their stepfather beat me and raged because of something the kids had or hadn’t done, which I didn’t correct to the standards expected. Of course there were the times when he raged and beat me damning the kids, “How horrible they were and how I didn’t make them do this or that.” My kids absorbed this and perceived the beating and rage as their mother being battered because of their ‘BAD’ behavior.
“I accepted and tolerated this and then went to be sure this or that was never done again. What view did this give to the children? How could they possibly see themselves as being my most important concern?”
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There were extremes of these nights of rage that resulted in a family round table meeting with me, my 11 year old son, my 9 year old daughter, and my 6 year old daughter. Sometimes these round table meeting even included their father, whom I would call to come join us and then in my distorted thinking that I was trying to get them safe; I would ask my children who they wanted to live with and ask them to make a decision to leave me and go back to a man that ruled with an iron fist, a slap, a dancing leather strap.
“My poor babies, how could they think their mother wasn’t choosing to send them away for being bad or not worthy or not important enough for me to take us all and run?”
Thankfully, this is exactly what I started working on after a doctor insisted on my getting help at the local psychiatric counseling center when he was treating me for some broken bones and stressed out nerves. During my first round of therapy I began to understand how the demons of my childhood trained me to be so controlled by the men in my life and believe that getting beaten was completely normal. My eyes started to open and my soul started falling apart. A new me was found and the strength started to grow inside. The belief in my personal value was born and I started trying to escap0e the insane relationship. Twenty years of my adult life was spent in this destructive, volatile environment of distorted through processes and choices; even worse my children had to live and grow in this mess, be influenced and forced to accept it as well.
Thankfully I finally found the courage, the belief, the determination to leave and get my children and I into our own SAFE environment. Yes there was still the need to be loved, to find love, to have someone want me for me and there would be more boyfriends to come and go, but we would have our home and I wasn’t tolerating anymore raging, abusive, controlling behaviors. No one would control what my child did or didn’t do, except of course for me.
“It wasn’t perfect but we were a family. We were safe in our own home, although it took a couple years to finally get there. We were close to each other, had dinner together quietly, happily with laughter and tears as we discussed their day each evening. It was our SAFE HAVEN!!”
Unfortunately there was already much damage done by the time this happened. My behavior to go out drinking once a week, dress up sexy and go seek out the ‘value’ I still had issues with in myself, influenced my children’s view of personal value and what was acceptable behavior. My daughter’s were the most impacted by these behaviors and how they grew to see their own value through their sexuality and needing to be wanted and loved, accepted by a man to be a complete and worthy person.
Everything that encompassed how I viewed my own value by needing to have someone want me or want to be with me, all of these distorted thought processes is exactly what has left the deepest impression on my children, especially my baby girls.
This is now the root of all I commit myself to working on each day. It is my drive to end the insanity of generational abuse and/or the acceptance of family/relationship violence. It is an even greater hope that I can give my children a new perception of their mother and, even more so, themselves. To leave this world knowing that I gave it my all to change what I had so deeply wounded in them and distorted in their perception of their own personal value is what keeps my heart pounding each day. Every soul of broken mess that I can touch through the website, the radio shows, my writings; those who carry the same distorted perceptions because of what happened and how we are trained as children to see our value and worth, to be submissive and accept the brutal actions of others – this is the belief and the generational cycle of soul destruction we can no longer allow.
For my children; Brett, Jessica, Miranda…….
I give you this ————
Change what you can for your children before there is no second chance. I am grateful to have this chance and pray that I change what I have influenced in their lives today!!!
~~Love you always my babies~~
~~See your value in all that you hold within~~
Patricia A. McKnight
Author: ‘My Justice’
Advocate/Speaker/Writer/Talk Radio Prod & Host/Survivor
Founder: Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery & Talk Radio Programming
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