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Breaking Trends of Abuse in Your Family

Breaking trends of abuse requires conscious effort. We often aren’t aware of the patterns we’ve either grown up with or developed on our own until a relationship crisis brings them to the forefront. One of the best things we can do for our family and the succeeding generations is to break abusive habits and practice a harmonious lifestyle with the ones we love. This does not mean we won’t ever have conflict but it will result in healthier ways of resolving conflict when it arises.

Grandparents walking down a trail

While I am not a professional counselor, I’ve seen enough patterns in families to have gleaned some insight into ways we might break bad patterns. I’ve detailed some thoughts on breaking cycles of abuse and not passing them on to another generation.

First, as with all changes we want to make in our lives, admitting an issue exists begins the journey toward resolution. That admission may come with difficulty. For example, some people can be physically abusive and not believe they are doing anything wrong because they grew up in a household where physical violence was the norm. For a spouse or in-law who did not grow up in similar circumstances, it may be a terrifying and horrible new reality.

Next, look for the patterns. Is this situational or generational? An isolated incident or a true pattern of ongoing abuse? Approaching the problem, recognizing root issues, and finding a solution that ends the abuse may look different depending on the patterns revealed through some family analysis.

Once some parameters of the abuse are identified, we benefit greatly from learning as much as possible about what’s happening in our life. We have a better foundation for identifying the help we might need. Help that may include:

  • Spiritual guidance

  • Professional counseling

  • Interventions and physical separation for safety

  • Termination of a relationship

Ending relationships is painful and not the most desirable result, of course. There are a multitude of resources available to help those struggling with abuse and possibly avert ending family relationships. Depending on the degree of danger present in an abusive relationship, many may be able to break patterns simply through acknowledgment, study of relationship patterns, good communication with abusive family members, and conscientious work to change behaviors.

One very important lesson to learn when trying to make any self and relationship improvements is to watch for old patterns to pop up. Habits can be hard to break. Stress, fear, anger, and other emotions may cause us or our family members to slip back into old patterns and behaviors. We have to be diligent and never give up if we want true change in our lives. If abusive patterns resurface, we can choose to start again until we come to a day when we no longer fall into or accept those patterns in our lives.

If a relationship crisis has brought you to the point of acknowledging a need for change, I encourage you to make wise choices about eliminating abusive patterns in your family. It is possible to live a life free of abuse and every human is deserving of loving, respectful treatment.

If you or someone else you know is struggling with abuse, or is a victim of abuse, please call 800-799-7233 or go to


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