Christy on a Journey

June 19, 2012

Overcoming learned behaviors….

Filed under: Uncategorized — christyonajourney @ 10:52 pm

So today I discovered something that disturbed me profoundly.  My daughter who is 9 and developmentally delayed had a bruise on her neck and a scratch under her eye.  I started to ask questions and discovered that the manner in which she plays with her friends is really quite physical.  The need to be “tougher” than everyone else has been engrained in her from the time she was a baby by her father. So when someone challenges that she feels the need to prove, that she is indeed “tough”. So in this instance it meant that she withstand a fight with another (younger) little girl which ended in her having the scratch below her eye.  I asked her why she felt like she had to do these things and she told me they were her friends and that she wants them to like her.  [cue memories of me at her age trying to fit in and never really feeling secure]

I then asked her about the bruise on her neck a little while later, and she tells me that the same girl was “playing” and was pretending to choke her. I get that kids play around with all manner of activities, and what bothers me most is that my daughter is over half way to her 10th birthday is still so easily manipulated.  So the discussion went through the whys and hows of what makes good and safe play activities and what makes unsafe and poor choices in play.  I explained to her, that friends who care about you do NOT want to try to hurt you and should not be finding sport in your tears. [ cue the memories of all the different times the kids saw me nursing hurts and tears at the hands of their father]

I find that I question what did I teach my kids? When I hear my son take “that tone” with his girlfriend with out even realizing it. When my daughter accepts abusive playing because she just wants to get along and be liked.  When my youngest son screams and yells and throws some of the most horrendous fits because he can’t get exactly what he wants…. All these learn behaviors and responses.

8 years  of marriage, the last 4 progressively more and more abusive as the drugs slowly took over his life.  I stuck it out because I thought that is what a good wife does. It took a long time before I felt like God released me, a lot of sleepless nights wondering where he was, and what he was doing and if he was still even alive. A lot of  “PLEASE GOD, HEAL THIS MARRIAGE” or “Please God, make him the husband and me the wife that you desire…”

sometimes God has no answer

sometimes God waits for the right question or request.

Then there were the “How long God, must I endure this pain?”  “How long God, is enough?” “When may I leave God?”

So when he came after me, it was that soft voice in my head saying “Go Now” so I walked out the door, and he came after me with the baseball bat…..I knew the time had come and I fled…


What does all this have to do with my daughter? Well, if I can learn to not be a subject of abuse, so can she. I will teach her to speak up. I will teach her to have self respect, self preservation, and self love.  Love doesn’t mean hurting each other. Love doesn’t come with bruises and scratches. Love comes with tender kisses, gentle hugs, and verbal encouragement. I feel especially protective as she is special, she is my tender baby bird with the huge heart. She is the girl that has lost so much that I refuse to allow her to lose herself too. If she can’t stand up for herself than I will for her. Between God and me, we have her back…along with her three brothers.

Psalm 144:11-13

New King James Version (NKJV)

11 Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners,
Whose mouth speaks lying words,
And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood—
12 That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth;
That our daughters may be as pillars,
Sculptured in palace style;







  1. BEAUTFULLY written Christy!! You really should be in school for a career in journalism!!

    Comment by Alison — June 20, 2012 @ 5:01 am

  2. I have typed and deleted numerous responses.. so here goes.. it’s what I really think I want to say.. I LOVE YOU!!

    Comment by trudi — June 20, 2012 @ 7:16 pm

  3. so powerful and well-written. a big sigh.
    thank you for visiting my blog. abuse is a big and heavy subject, isn’t it?

    Comment by Anna Kendalll — June 25, 2012 @ 5:18 am

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