Evolved

Some of you may know that for the first three years of Gavin’s life, I was his primary care giver. Never have I hit Gavin. I don’t believe in hitting as a form of discipline. I couldn’t imagine inflicting that mental and physical distress on a child.

Now, he has fun, three days a week at daycare and is enrolled for Pre-K. However! Every morning I keep him 🙂 I play with him, I read to him and I make his breakfast. I ask him, “Gavin, what would you like for breakfast?” Lately his reply has been, “I’d like an english-muffin with peanut butter and chocolate, big-big strawberries, raspberries, apple juice, and a water. Paleaseeeee.” I drink coffee while preparing his breakfast and watch as my little Gavin plays with his dinosaurs or sea creatures. Or, a puzzle. Or anything. I love spending this time with him. When I was his age, I had no father. I made it very clear to myself and anyone listening that I was determined to be there for Gavin. Always. To be his primary care giver for the first three years of his life was a blessing.

And now, when I pick him up from daycare (we call it school because it’s much like a school) he smiles SOO big and yells, “That’s my Dad!” And man…..man does that feel good. It’s simple. I’m here to be a loving, supportive, husband and father. Writing is a bonus that I am ragingly thankful for.

Often I think of children who have been tortured, abused, and manipulated. I was that child. I broke the cycle. We all can break the cycle, if we are aware and want to. Mental illness is a subject I take very seriously. I believe that we, as humanity, have barely begun to truly understand how deep, or to understand how many levels concerning mental illness there are. I believe there are forms of mental illness that have evolved our human race. I also believe there are forms that are evil. I think it’s important for the broken children who have been abused to understand they are not the evil ones.

They are the evolved.

 

Matt

27 thoughts on “Evolved

  1. Tears. I pray daily that my children are the ones to break the cycle that has been in their fathers line for who knows how many generations. That the abuse and mental illness ends here and now. “They are the evolved” hit me in the gut in a beautiful way. Life will be hard either way you choose: to continue the cycle or to break it. But you chose the hard that contains strength and resilience and that changes the world for better. That changes your sons world for the better. Absolutely love.

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    • I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this comment. With your knowledge, you absolutely nailed it…unfortunately with some of the evil illnesses it is in their DNA (as you know) and literally handed down from generation to generation. I believe awareness is one of the first steps toward breaking the cycle. Speaking the truth out-loud makes the abuse real. Awareness though, can be incredibly difficult to come to terms with. Making the monster real for everyone to see..can cripple some. Support and love..and..some may not like this, anger. Anger is an emotion that we all have and we have it for a reason. When used properly, it serves a vital and needed purpose.

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      • You’re right… coming to terms with such horrible truths can be debilitating. I already see the anger in my older son as he tries to figure out how to love his father while not being able to stand him. I tell him often, “You are allowed to be angry or have emotions. You are allowed to feel all of these things. You just are not allowed to hurt others because of them”. I think I was meant to happen across you and your words. It’s purposeful to me. Thank you.

        As for breaking the cycle, I’m not sure I have. I only survived. But I hope I get to play a role in and watch my children break it and be stronger than I could ever imagine being. I hope they become fathers like you.

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  2. We MUST evolve and change or we stagnate and die. Thank you for being willing to break that mold. I have too. I would NEVER want to inflict the abuse and literal torture I experienced on another soul. I refuse to. Sometimes I feel the rage rise in me but I fight it. I must.

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  3. Matt, this moved me intensely. Furst of all, you are a WONDERFUL Dad. And your son sounds anazing. I could FEEL the love as I was reading, and it warmed my heart.

    you talk about you breaking the cycle and I find that very interesting. You say that you were abused. Like you I was abused horrifically and I was determined that if I had children I would break that cycle. I knew that if I ever had a child that child would be so dearly loved and anyway I would be giving the love that I ever had. I was desperate that any child that I had should be loved utterly and completely. However in my case it was my mother who abused me and she made sure that any children in my womb were got rid of. So I never had children. It used to be a huge grief inside of me that I could never even begin to describe. However I am now much older and I suppose I am to termswith it. My mother’s abuse of me was SO deep though.

    I am very interested in this post as my mother is now 93 years old and dying of emphysema and despite all that she has done to me the one thing that I feel is that I do not want her to suffer. To this day she is a malignant narcissist and for much of my life I have had little to do with her. However this being the end of her life I am not totally cut off from her and even now she can still cause the most horrific pain.

    I am therefore very interested in what you say about mental illness. Many upon hearing about my mother asked if she is mentally ill. The answer is that she has never been diagnosed with anything. I do not really know the answer to this question as it would appear that indeed you must be mentally ill to do the things that she has done.

    All I can say is that at this stage in my life as an older person myself as well who has been very sick with cancer I cannot afford to allow the pains of past abuse go to deep within me. It is difficult to overcome the effects of deep abuse, but I do know that it is possible. We all have our different ways of overcoming it and there are some people who never managed to do it but I think most who have been abused to try because the life force within us is so great and most of us want to live the best life that we can.

    This is a very brave and honest post Matt and I am so glad that you wrote it. Thank you So much for opening the subject up.

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    • Learning a small amount of what your mother did to you angered me. Your mother didn’t deserve you in her life. In my opinion, she still doesn’t. I believe illnesses such as narcissism is much more prevalent than realized because most cases go unreported and undiagnosed. An abuser always needs the supply and will do anything they can to cover their tracks and live as though NOTHING has ever happened. I hope you keep on writing and enjoy yourself as much as possible.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bless you Matt. I agree with everything that you say. In fact recently I have withdrawn even my care whilst she has been so ill. I will probably be there at the last but now, with my own disabilities I cannot even get into her house. So that is that. Yes I deserve some peace and happiness now, and yes indeed I will go on writing. Fortunately we have had long periods of time away from her – when we lived in different counties. So we have had decent times. But it does leave its legacy. Thanks Matt for your thoughts. This is a good subject for us to be discussing

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  4. Matt, I was that child too. Read my poem broken. It’s about my father. He was that child and his father was that child. They both perpetuated violence on their families. But I also broke the cycle. It’s the greatest single thing I have done. No more legacy of fear.

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  5. I am interested in more posts like this. There was a time all I wanted to do was jettison my past. Not possible. But it makes us who we are, and your parenting with intention is yielding a happy, well-adjusted little guy. Yay! It’s tough when a parent is ill. Sometimes they don’t know. And the child sure as hell doesn’t. Makes for a painful, confusing road. Of my bipolar mom I used to say, a court of law would acquit her for murder on the basis of her illness. Can’t I find it I need my heart to acquit her for being a terrible mother?

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    • Gavin is an amazingly little human. I can’t wait to learn all of his individualism and who he’ll grow to become. It’s remarkable and true. Often, the parent does not know they are ill. I’ve witnessed this. They ‘Never’ do anything wrong. I’m sorry for your painful childhood.

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  6. Total respect for you good Sir! Especially after reading two things. That you broke the cycle of abuse (I can only imagine how difficult that must have been) and that you will never hit your child.
    I’ve come from a home where my parents never once struck any of us. My dad just had a ‘look’ and it wasn’t even one that put fear in our hearts. It was just a look that made us feel the error of our ways. Made us feel disappointed in ourselves.
    I wish you and your family the best of luck!

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  7. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject, Matt. Child abuse, any form, is something I have condemned my entire life. I’m glad you were able to break the cycle. When it came time to parent myself, I also decided my children deserved better than I got. Although not primarily abused physically, my sister and I did grow up with an emotionally abusive/narcissistic mother and an emotionally distant/unavailable alcoholic father. I’m guessing my mother was also dealing with undiagnosed bipolar disorder. It took me a lot of time and effort to deal with the aftermath of being raised in that household, counseling and close friends got me through most of it. Writing these last few years, helped me put a lot of the pain experienced in its proper place – that it wasn’t ever my fault. I’m glad to have contributed sanity to my children’s lives and not continued the chaos for another generation.

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