Ending the cycle of spanking

My personal work in the last 15 years included lots of work with my inner children. All the grown and not so grown parts deep inside me that felt unloved or  stuck in fear. A major hurdle I overcame in my later 20’s was when I realized I had continuously had partners that were physically or/and mentally abusive. However,  not only was I a victim, I was also using abuse. In my teen years, I got into fights, bullied people I didn’t like and was often cruel. So coming to the conclusion that I was being abused was also coming to terms with the abuse and harm I had caused. That is always the hardest part for us humans. Seeing the harm we caused is not something we want to look at. But in all cases, we have to look at ourselves if we want to grow.

Once I realized the connection between the harm that was inflicted upon me and the harm I caused others, it was a huge step forward in my healing process. I could see how being spanked as a child made me internalize aggression and created a belief that it’s okay for people who love me to hit me or harm me and for me to hit and harm people.

That’s what I believed, so that is what I did and what I got. I made a decision soon after, that this was not something I wanted any longer. I changed my mind and I no longer wanted to believe that it’s ok for people who love me to hit me or harm me. I no longer wanted to harm others I love, or anyone else, for that matter.

Then, I decided that I wanted to talk to my dad about the spanking. So I went home for a visit. The night that I planned to speak to him, I became physically ill. I was sweating, had a fever and felt like I was burning up inside. I remember all kinds of things trying to stop me. But I stuck with it and I got my dad to talk alone with me.

I was barely able to get the words out as I spoke my truth. I said I believed he was wrong to punish me with physical abuse. That I could see how it set me up to accept physical abuse from my partners and that I have had years of painful abusive relationships. I shared that I believed I may not have had to experience that if I had not experienced abuse growing up. I told him I don’t believe it was ok, that its effects on me were painful and I wanted to speak out to try and stop this cycle in our family.

That was one of the most difficult conversations I’ve ever had to this day. Luckily, I had done a lot of healing beforehand and I did not blame my dad. I simply told him my truth. He didn’t have to believe what I believe. I will continue to chip away at working to change my family and the world's minds about spanking. This is something so dear to my heart because I know I broke that cycle in my home.

Not long after that very conversation, I met my husband and he was not hit when he was raised. I can see a whole different life now for myself, my children and the world. It’s a wonderful world where harm and pain are not leaving their mark. Where love is the key thing that comes through in our parenting and painful punishment is left in the past, where it belongs.

I ask, beg, and implore people to please educate yourself. Please take time to research, feel, and be with the pain handed down from generation to generation.

Pain only begets more pain. Only love can bring about more love. Pain doesn’t make love. Pain comes from misinterpreted love. When love is painful it’s usually because it’s not unconditional. Unconditional love is not painful.   Unconditional love is when you feel loved no matter what. No matter what you did or no matter how you acted, you feel loved. Just because a parent doesn’t know a better way to parent doesn’t mean spanking is ok.

The challenge is that in order to let go of this belief that hitting your children is ok, you have to look at two very difficult things: your own childhood and the pain that is there. If you continued the cycle, then you have to look at the pain you caused your own children, too. You have to come to terms with that pain. The pain you suffered and the pain you inflicted.

But if you decide to look at, to take the time to evaluate, educate and empower yourself, you may save generations from making the same mistakes. You can heal your heart. You can make a powerful commitment to end violence cycles and you can make amends to the precious ones you have harmed. In each of us is the unresolved pain and trauma from our past. The more you deal with it, the better off the next generation is. If not for your own sake, do it for your children and your children’s children.

Here is some information on this topic to educate, empower and support you on your journey. 



May love surround you and always keep opening you,

Laura Doctor