Religion, Divorce, and Domestic Abuse

April Killian

"Your kids won't always do what you tell them to do...but they will ALWAYS do what you SHOW them to do."

In other words, your life and how you live is the example your kids will follow. A very wise person told me that years ago when I had my first child. It stuck with me. Little did I know at the time, however, what a profound influence those words would have on my life.

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What example do you set?Pragyan Bezbyruah (Pexels)

What you do as a parent sets a cycle in motion that will continue in your children's lives and then in their children's lives. Are you in a relationship where you are mistreated? Do you take the abuse and stay? Are you raising your child or children in a home where there is constant fighting and abuse? Then you can expect your children to end up in the same kind of relationship - either as the abuser or the one being abused. They will think that's the norm. You may want a better life for them, you may "tell" them differently, but the example has been set.

After over a decade of marriage and 3 kids, I realized that I was setting the wrong example for my children. I was raising them in a home where emotional and physical abuse were the norm. I knew that I had to set a better example. My kids were 9, 5 and 1 at the time when we moved into Safeplace, a domestic violence shelter in my area, and I set in motion a different course for our lives. I have not been the perfect mom by any means, but that's the one thing I did that was right. My kids are now 25, 21, and 17. They are neither abusers nor the abused. That is foreign to them. It is NOT their "norm."

I was raised in an abusive home. That was my "normal" and I didn't even realize how wrong it was until later in my adult years. I don't fault my parents - they were very good in so many ways and tried their best. I love them both. They, too, were products of abuse in the home. My dad's norm was to dominate and rule with physical force and my mom's norm was to accept and hide it from the world. It was a different time and my mother did not have the resources to get help like I had. Today, however, it's a different world. THERE IS HELP AVAILABLE.

Religion: One reason I stayed in my abusive marriage as long as I did was because I had some deep seated religious beliefs that kept me there. I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church and later converted to more of an Evangelical or Non-denominational style of Christianity. I was told by several pastors and Christian counselors and friends that I should stay in my marriage at all costs. I was told to "work it out," to "pray about it" because "God hates divorce." I stayed for years because I was told "God hates divorce." I felt that I would be out from under the umbrella of God's grace if I left my marriage. Since that time, I have helped and mentored dozens of young women in the same predicament who struggle with the same belief system. One thing I can say with certainty now that I am a little older and wiser: GOD HATES ABUSE much more than he hates divorce. God also hates the "generational curse" you are putting on your children, if you still need a religious reason to justify leaving an abusive marriage. In secular terms, that is called an "Intergenerational Cycle of Violence" and an "Intergenerational Cycle of Abuse." Whether you look at it from a religious standpoint or scientifically, it is a PROVEN FACT that children exposed to violence and abuse in the home will repeat that pattern in their adult lives AND pass that learned behavior down to their children.

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What will you pass along?Kristina Paukshitte (Pexels)

In summary, it all goes back to the EXAMPLE that your life sets for your children. Remember that no matter what you tell your kids - even if you tell them that what they see is NOT how they should live and act when they are grown - chances are very great that they will still have that learned behavior ingrained in their minds and THEY WILL THINK ABUSE/VIOLENCE IS THE NORM. They will live that way themselves. They will live by the example that you have set.

As someone told me: "Your kids won't always do what you tell them to do...but they will ALWAYS do what you SHOW them to do."

If you are in an abusive relationship, especially with children involved, please get help today.
If you are in the North Alabama area, call:
Safeplace: 256-767-6210
One Place of The Shoals: 256-284-7600
Call the police or social services in your area for help. Google "domestic abuse help near me."

Please share.

From time to time, I feel led to share my story because I know that someone out there needs to hear it. If you are in a relationship where you are abused physically or emotionally, then this message is for YOU. It's no accident that you are reading it. The decisions you make today will have lasting effects on your life and your children's lives.... and even their children's lives.

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April Killian is a native of Florence, Alabama and writes about her home state of Alabama and the Shoals area. She is the mom of many pets and 3 adult children. Along with writing, she sells vintage items online and conducts estate sales in her area. She is a lifelong supporter of charity work, loves life, and tries to be a positive force in this world in everything she does! Her writing passions include: family and social issues, nature, humor, the paranormal and anything interesting or weird! Click on "follow" to see more of her articles in the future! https://www.buymeacoffee.com/Aprilkillian

Florence, AL
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