Breaking Generational Cycles: A Personal Journey of Separation, Self-Discovery, and Kinship

Breaking Generational Cycles: A Personal Journey of Separation, Self-Discovery, and Kinship

The sun rises over Sarnia, Ontario, a town where traditional Christian values still hold strong. However, education often takes a backseat, as our booming oil industry allows for lucrative careers in skilled trades with just a high school diploma. While this enables many to succeed within a patriarchal system, it also serves as a backdrop to my personal odyssey of breaking generational cycles. It's a journey marked by self-discovery, separation, and unexpected kinship.

Generational cycles, the patterns of behaviour or beliefs passed down through generations, can be a heavy burden. They can be riddled with pain, abuse, and toxicity. But they also present an opportunity, an opportunity to break free and chart a new course for future generations. 

My journey began with understanding and reconciling with the failures and flaws of my parents. My father, a soft man and a feminist, an anomaly in Sarnia, was not the hero I had believed him to be my entire life. Despite his amazingly positive attributes, he neglected me in times of need, failing to rescue me when I needed him the most. My mother, on the other hand, was a broken person, abusive and abused, struggling to navigate her own experiences and limitations.

I'm currently in the throes of a separation from my partner of over a decade. At almost 48, he grapples with his own undiagnosed abuse, trauma, and loss. I've shouldered the burden of breaking generational cycles for both of us, an arduous path fraught with complex issues.

The path to breaking generational cycles can be a lonely one, but it's also marked by moments of profound growth and transformation. Over the last two years, I've embarked on a mental health journey, shedding 100 pounds in the process. This wasn't the result of a diet, but a testament to the inner work I've been doing. 

My education at esteemed institutions like Stanford, the University of Toronto, and Michigan State, specializing in women's rights and gender in the economy, has been instrumental in this transformative journey.

In the midst of this, I've taken kinship with my sister's twin babies. Born a surprise, three months prematurely to an addicted mother, these children were an unexpected blessing, a beacon of hope in my journey. They didn't spark my journey to break generational cycles, but they've given me more courage to continue. They've saved my life in ways I couldn't have imagined. They are unbelievably healthy and thriving; proving miracles happen every day!

I've come to understand that loyalty to my family, in the face of their abuse, made me an enabler, a liar by omission. I've always been honest, a trait that has often put me at odds with my family dynamics. This realization was painful but necessary. It was a step towards breaking the cycle of abuse and toxic relationships.

To outsiders, my life may seem like it's unravelling. However, the truth is that I've been meticulously weaving a new narrative for two years now. It's been a lonely journey, made lonelier by the absence of family support and the struggles of my partner who is grappling with his own guilt and shame, neglecting everyone who is supposed to be under his responsibility as a self-proclaiming family man, creating a new life in a new town, for the third time, avoiding more responsibilities and proving patterned predatory behaviour to more naive victims like myself.

Breaking generational cycles is an uphill task. It involves confronting painful truths about the ones we love and standing up for ourselves. It involves setting boundaries and moving away from toxic relationships. It's a journey that may seem lonely and endless, but it's also one filled with hope, strength, and the promise of a better future. It's a testament to the power of personal transformation and the resilience of the human spirit.

Indeed, as my journey evolved, I found myself navigating through the entire community works system. Despite the financial security provided by my partner's income, I've witnessed firsthand the flaws and shortcomings of this system, because of my custody of the children. It's a system that's overflowing, struggling to cope with the current housing crisis. As I enforce my boundaries and navigate my separation, I face the harsh reality of potential homelessness if my partner fails to recognize my contributions throughout our decade-long relationship. 

I've lived a life of privilege, travelling four times a year, working for nonprofits out of passion rather than need, and providing for my adult children. Yet now, I stand on the brink of a drastic change, potentially having to scrape by to care for my sister's twins with no familial support.

It's a sobering reality to see people begging for groceries on Facebook while I've always considered $5000, not a significant amount. The stark contrast of these two realities is not lost on me. I am in udder shock of reality outside of my secluded world.

Living in an abusive relationship, I still have the privilege of a home, a privilege that makes it difficult to break free. The prospect of homelessness can make even an abusive relationship seem bearable, a survival instinct that's as heartbreaking as it is overwhelming.

After years of loyalty and hard work, I've had to face the painful truth about my partner. He was not the person I thought he was, but a monster in disguise. The red flags were there, but I chose to ignore them. It's a harsh lesson learned, but an important one. When you see red flags in a relationship, heed them. I never imagined that the man I loved would discard me as if I never existed, as if I were already dead. Cutting off all finances that I never used in the first place, tampering with emails to lawyers and hiding my personal files and identification, all in an attempt to stall time and protect valuable assets that he had secretly been hoarding. It makes me question the many secrets that I have chosen to ignore over the years. I have never been a jealous partner, confident in myself until my injury, but now I am concerned about the things I don’t know, even though I may not want to find out. However, my boundaries are in place, and when dealing with addiction, they may not always work as intended. It has been important for me to deal with this crisis with empathy before consequences, up until now.

It's a cruel irony that the journey to break generational cycles, to create a better future, could lead to such a challenging crossroads. The journey is far from over, and it's one I must continue, not just for myself, but for the twins who now depend on me. Despite the challenges, the uncertainty, and the pain, I remain hopeful because breaking generational cycles is not just about escaping the past; it's about building a better future.

Throughout this journey of self-discovery, I've come to realize the power of sharing my story. The tales of my experiences, my struggles, and my victories could serve as a beacon of hope and empowerment for others navigating similar paths. I've often publicly supported my partner, but his nonverbal nature and the resulting ambiguity have left me to fill in the blanks, as I always have in the past as well, but in a much more positive light to empower him instead of seeing the truth. His frequent comings and goings and secrets now risk the safety of the children, and their well-being is my primary concern.

Despite being common law and contributing significantly to our shared life, I find myself on shaky ground as our house is in his name and he fails to acknowledge my contributions. The harsh reality is that I will need to share my experiences, and revisit and recount the painful stories, to seek justice. 

Over the past eight months, I've set boundaries and focussed on the children, which has led to a backlash from my partner. His lies and unravelling behaviour have left me noticing a relapse into his addictions, a path all too common for many in his situation. It's time for me to break free, share my story, and confront the painful truth.

I had hoped to avoid airing our dirty laundry publicly, hoping he'd be in treatment by now. But the truth is, he's not supporting me, despite public perception. In fact, I've been supporting him, financially and emotionally, for years. It's time I reclaim my financial security, including the money both my mother and father saved, which has been frittered away on hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of hoarded brand-name items stored in hidden locations. Proving this had motive with returning patterns from previous relationships.

As I begin to share my story, I hope to protect other women from falling into the same trap. He's skilled in his manipulations, and I've been ensnared for a decade. As difficult as it is to believe, I've been lied to, used, abused physically, sexually and most dangerously, psychologically, and treated like a doormat for ten years. The realization is all the more painful considering much of this happened while I was extremely disabled with my broken leg, and caring for my palliative mother. I was still his caretaker in those times when he was supposed to be mine. I lived a life of neglect and abuse over the pandemic, especially.

The expressions on the faces of professionals when I share my story are a stark reminder of the gravity of my situation - a situation that's been difficult for me to fully comprehend due to the magnitude of the betrayal. It's a harsh reality to come to terms with, but it's a necessary step in my journey. I could not understand their reactions to "normal things" in my everyday life, helping me see the truth of the situation, finally.

It's a cruel irony that the journey to break generational cycles, to create a better future, could lead to such a challenging crossroads. Despite the hardships, the uncertainty, and the pain, I remain hopeful. Breaking generational cycles is not just about escaping the past, but about building a better future. By sharing my story, I hope to empower others, shed light on the harsh realities of domestic abuse, and assert my right to dignity, respect, and love, as I continue on my path to healing and self-discovery.


Please sign the petition linked here to help individuals in untraditional "marriages" in 2023.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.