Generational curses are considered negative patterns from your family history that are repeated in your own life. I was first introduced to the idea of generational curses when I became a budding teenager. I was getting closer to the age of 16 which was the magic number for dating. As I slowly approached my sweet sixteen, my interest in members of the opposite sex was growing rapidly. As the phone calls started coming more frequently, panic started to creep in my mother’s head and heart. I remember her practically begging me, “Please don’t become a teenage mom like me.” She went on to explain that her mother had become a mother at 17, and she followed the pattern by becoming a mother at 17. Although I was very much interested in boys at 17, I wasn’t THAT interested. While I was able to break this generational curse by not becoming a mother at 17, there were many more negative behaviors my family displayed. Unfortunately, they didn’t recognize their actions as cynical so no one ever begged me to break other cycles or helped me avoid traps of other obstructive bearings. I, however, knew I needed to spin out of several cycles before my own conduct became fatalistic.
- Physical Abuse – I witnessed so many of the ladies in my life allow men to physically abuse them. Some were abused by brothers, some by boyfriends and many by their husbands. Clearly abuse was misinterpreted as an act of endearment because the scars were worn as a badge of honor. It was almost as if the women were proud they survived the battering. This was the first cycle I knew I would break. I walked through life silently daring a man to put his hands on me. In my mind, it was bound to happen, I just needed to be prepared to respond so it would never happen again. The first time a guy raised his hand to me, I didn’t even flinch. In a very even tone I said to him, “Before you hit me, please call your mom and tell her to get her black dress ready.” There was a long pause and I was asked to leave the area. His activity let me know men are capable of processing their thoughts long enough to allow you to walk away before they abuse you. I refused to believe men could get so angry they couldn’t allow you to walk away or vice versa. That was the first and last experience I had as it relates to physical abuse or the notion of it.
- Children should fear you. – Wrong! Children should respect you. I never wanted my son to fear me, I wanted him to be a respectful young man. As kids we were lashed when we did wrong or even when we did something right but we did it the wrong way. I thought it was the way to get someone’s attention. If your child didn’t respond the way you expected them to, tap them a couple of times. When my son was in his primary grades, I would watch him climb into the backseat of the car and practically disappear. His answers to my questions were minimal and he would try to reduce the conversation to avoid saying something I wouldn’t approve of. Watching his trepidation saddened me. As a result, I started to correct some of my habits as it related to discipline. During my son’s seventh grade year of middle school, I decided I was going to whip him for below par grades. Whipping him was exhausting and the impact was far more emotional than it was physical. We both ended up taking a nap at the conclusion of the whipping. I realized that while I received whippings through the 12th grade, that would not work in my household. I had to learn my son was old enough to understand and it was easier to talk to him.
- It’s okay to not be okay – Unfortunately, I didn’t learn this lesson until recently. People made it seem like I always needed to have it together. And if I didn’t have it together, for the sake of people on the outside looking in, put on a facade and make it seem like I had it together. Wellllllllll, I don’t! Some days I have it together and some days I don’t know my right from left. Other days I allow myself to have a complete meltdown and it’s okay. I was recently ridiculed for attending therapy. I didn’t see the humor in the statement. It was almost as if I should have been ashamed of myself for needing help of any kind. Sorry my friends, I will not die inside for the sake of looking good on the outside.
- Speaking the truth – Why are we considered rude when we speak the truth? I’m not talking about the candor in simply saying, “Your hair is ugly.” I’m talking about the sincerity in saying, “Your behavior is unacceptable and inappropriate. It offends me.” Why are we not allowed to call people on their behaviors if it is having adverse effects on us? Everybody in my family moves quietly around the elephants in the room. They will talk about you behind closed doors, but they dare not cause confusion by saying things directly to you. I figure it’s better to address the issue because my feelings matter.
I’m sure at this time there are more negative behaviors within my family that need to be imploded without me feeling demoralized but you have to start somewhere. I will continue to break cycles that are hindering my ability to have the best relationship with God and my family and keep me from functioning at my highest capacity in every endeavor I set out to conquer.