Family Secrets: Domestic Violence, Generational Abuse

As an adoptee On my own personal journey to healing, I sat down and wrote an Open Letter to My Birth Mother with the intention of releasing and or venting my own pain and frustration as a result of what I felt were HER choices vs. me having no choice.. Growing up as an only child with the knowledge that I was adopted and that I had siblings out there somewhere that I might never find, I wanted to speak to how the choice to place me up for adoption impacted my life and my choices. The search for acceptance and the elusive search for love family and a sense of belonging that led me down many a wrong path.

Fast forward to now it is most profound that the letter (and the internet) actually led to me being reunited with my sister and meeting my nieces and nephews and their children as well. The door instead of closing has opened wider to reveal a pattern of pain that has manifested in the lives of all of this family’s members and has brought understanding of some of my issues while at the same time highlighting the struggles and patterns being played out in the generations of women in this family.

I always knew I had abandonment issues and this manifested itself in the relationships that I found myself in which ultimately were mentally abusive and wound up ending badly. However meeting my birth family presented me with a generational look at the literal consequences of one person’s choice as manifested in a heart wrenching cycle of abuse.

It Is A Pattern

  • Without help, girls who witness domestic violence are more vulnerable to abuse as teens and adults.

  • According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families.

  • Every year, more than 3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes.

 information provided via Safe Horizons

My sister was in an extremely abusive relationship for years. In fact all her relationships have been with men that were both physically and mentally abusive. Her 5 children were raised in a household where they watched their mother being abused on a regular basis. Today three of those daughters are themselves in abusive and or toxic relationships and the pattern continues to their children in which some of the older ones are themselves in abusive relationships.

My heart breaks when I see these beautiful black women all struggling in abusive and in one case violent relationships and healing myself takes on a whole new sense of significance in the context of breaking the pattern. Educating myself on the issues surrounding abuse and domestic violence is where the journey now begins.

Not looking for gold at the end of this rainbow, just healing.


The articles mentioned in this story namely the Open Letter to My Birth Mother and the reunion with my birth family are all available on this site