Are You in an Abusive Relationship or Do You Know Someone Who Is? Guest Post by Marala Scott

Marala Scott (Center) with her son, Aaron and her daughter, Alyssa.

Marala Scott is a screenwriter and a multi-award winning author of the memoir, In Our House: Perception vs. Reality. In her book, Marala shares her personal story of a horrific childhood at the hands of her father and her journey to happiness and peace. Marala’s story is especially powerful because she was able to rise above her past and become a strong woman determined to break the cycle of violence. She is an advocate, inspiration, and role model for women and men who are suffering from abuse.

Oprah Winfrey acknowledged Marala as an “Ambassador of Hope” in 2009. Member of Congress, Mary Jo Kilroy, presented Marala a Special Congressional Recognition of outstanding and invaluable service to the community. United States Senator, Sherrod Brown, recognized Marala for advocacy to prevent child abuse and domestic violence. Ohio House of Representatives gave Marala special recognition for humanitarian concern for hosting the inaugural HEAL event. Marala Scott and Tre Parker received a proclamation from Mayor Counts of Powell, Ohio, recognizing and commending their work on Domestic Violence and Child Abuse. Mayor Michael B. Coleman, from Columbus, Ohio, awarded Marala with a Certificate of Recognition for her dedication to raising awareness of domestic violence and child abuse nationwide.

Here is Marala…

Dear Moms,

I’m sure that you’d agree that you would do whatever it took to protect your children. I would give my life without hesitation. We know with certainty that our love for our children extends beyond boundaries of the imagination. We show our love in ways that may be challenging for us yet, important to them. Providing material things, keeping them healthy, attending their sporting events and recitals, keeping a clean home, cooking meals, going to movies, helping with homework, and teaching Gods word or spiritual guidance are all ways we show our love.  We want our children to emulate our behavior of showing love to their children one day, thus planting that seed early will make a difference. The goals that most parents have for their children are for them to be more successful, healthier, and happier than we are.

Regardless of how much we try to protect them, children have the tendency to take in more than what we realize. Some, we can control and other things we cannot. However, when it comes to what they will or will not remember, who can really say. Some of what they see or hear may be suppressed until their unconventional behavior or fears cause them to remember. They may not recall everything but their actions may show otherwise. I can tell you one thing for sure which is; when it comes to abusive relationships they will remember it, but how it comes out is a different story.

What we fail to understand is when we are allowing ourselves to be abused in any form, our children will learn that behavior. They are learning how to hit, hate, and hurt others. When the verbal abuse can no longer be drowned out by the television our children are absorbing all of the hate aimed at you. Trust me when I say that they are learning how to become abusive or passive and abused. As much as you love them, why would you ever subject them to this type of unhealthy environment?

Marala’s children, Alyssa and Aaron

The media is exploding with disturbing accounts of abuse–some that is committed by celebrities, but the majority are people who could be your neighbor, family member friend or perhaps, you. When we see this we are instantly appalled and sickened by what we hear but how did these men and women become abusers or abused and broken?

I want you to take this in and keep it with you always because we forget that those men and women were children once, many of which were abused verbally, physically, or sexually. No one actually thought they would ever turn out that way, but here they are, a whole new generation of abusers rising up in society with a destructive fury. The abusive crimes are getting worse because the passion for hate, anger and rage is spreading. If you love your children you will love yourself enough to make sure you do not allow anyone to abuse you, ever. If you love your children, you will love yourself so that they too learn how to love themselves. If you are in an abusive situation, make plans to get out of it with your children, while you can.

I speak to you from the heart and from my experience. I was that little girl who remembered everything and my story is a tragic piece of history. It took me a long time to leave the abuse behind in the house I grew up in because the memories followed me and almost destroyed the beautiful future that God had destined for me. Please understand that you provide a major contribution to your child’s outcome if you allow them to witness abuse or be abused, at all. It is your job as a mother who carried that beautiful child in your womb to protect them. There is help if you love your children like you say, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at: 800.799.SAFE (7233). Teach your children that love doesn’t hurt. Give them the chance to grow up happy, healthy, and knowing you loved them enough to protect them.

For more information on the Indicators of an Abuser visit: http://www.inourhousebook.com/feedback_story.php

With Love,

Marala Scott

Here is a poem that I wrote.

Forgive

In my journey through life, there are many things that I’ve learned, but one of the most important lessons is how and why to forgive. Because of my childhood, I had a lot of pain and with pain came the responsibility of carrying a heavy suitcase filled with mistrust, doubt, and anger. Overall, I had no faith in anyone but I could always count on the contents of my luggage. One thing I knew for sure was that what was inside my luggage would bail me out of every situation. If I met someone who seemed like he would make a great boyfriend with wonderful character, well I’d simply pull out mistrust. If I needed someone to count on, doubt was always there. But, my big protector was anger. Anger was a little greedy as it took up most of the suitcase. Everywhere I went I just had to take that burdensome piece of luggage with me. Regardless of where I was in life, it didn’t take long for me to remember to open my luggage and let the contents run my life.

One day, I turned around, realized that I was alone, and tired, but I had no one that would carry my heavy luggage. No one wanted the burden. Many people had their own luggage. So, I had to keep dragging it along throughout my life, and allowing the contents to keep holding me back because although I took it everywhere, it wasn’t wanted anywhere. With tearful eyes, I dropped to my knees, in faith, and prayed for God to help me with this problem. What was I to do?

There was one little word that flooded my heart and invaded my heavy spirit. That word was forgive. I huffed and refused. Why would I? That’s cowardly of me to let the people that hurt me the most off the hook. I can’t … I won’t. I’d been carrying the luggage so long anyways that I didn’t need anyone to help me. Sure, it would be nice but … forget it. The contents of my luggage protected me from everyone. So, I picked up the tattered handle and dragged my luggage around a little longer until I realized that it was wearing me down. My heart was heavy, and I was sad. I wasn’t moving at the pace I could have, if I didn’t have this big, heavy piece of burdensome luggage, and when I opened it, oh, look out! I prayed again, in faith, that God would answer me. He did, but the same little word came, yet again, forgive.

I was deeply troubled because I knew that if I did … forgive … it meant that everything I’d been through was for nothing. Everyone that hurt me and caused me great pain got off the hook. Just like that, they would be forgiven for everything they did to me. What about my pain and suffering? Surely, I wasn’t going to let anyone off the hook. So … you guessed it, a few more long years passed with me dragging my luggage. Although I was a bit unhappier because of mistrust, doubt, and anger, I felt safe with my luggage. The contents sure caused a lot of problems and losses. There came a point when I wasn’t confident it was worth keeping that luggage anymore so I prayed, again. This time, I opened my heart and asked God to help me, because it was too big a task for me to take on alone. He did, as He had before, and it was a process that I was finally willing to undertake. I had nothing to lose but mistrust, doubt, and a lot of anger.

I didn’t forget anything that happened to me as a child, but I realized how many years I wasted dragging that luggage. The forgiving wasn’t for anyone other than me. They’d probably forgotten what they did to me or perhaps they had asked to be forgiven at some point. Some of the people who hurt me, I never even saw again but I thought the burden of carrying that luggage was protecting me. It wasn’t. It was destroying me. Just me. I had wasted years, for nothing. Why was I so determined to be angry, when I had a whole wonderful life ahead of me to enjoy with the past long behind me with each waking day.

It wasn’t until I let the word forgive have true significance in my life that I began to truly live. I was able to let go of that luggage and take any flight I wanted without penalty of that heavy bag. The power mistrust, doubt, and anger have are destructive. The act of forgiving someone is an amazing release to your spirit. When I did, I realized the pain in my past allowed me to help others in my future. Forgive. Try it soon. Don’t waste your valuable life the way I did.

Love & Blessings,

Marala Scott

*Thank you for everything you do, Marala!

Here is another article by Marala that Angela & I published on Plus-Size Models Unite. This is a Story About Letting Go of the Past and Finding the Strength & Courage to Change Your Life. The Difference Between a Caterpillar and a Butterfly by Marala Scott.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Tweets that mention This is great relationship advice especially if you have or want to have children. PLEASE SHARE. -- Topsy.com
  2. Marie
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 14:28:16

    I completely agree with what Marala said. I am studying psychology in school and I learned that modeling is one of the strongest form of learning, especially for children. When children observe their parents drinking, smoking, cursing, showing aggression towards someone, they pick up on these things. As well, they learn to exhibit the same behaviors when they get older, so why would parents show their children it is ok to do this? Parents need to eliminate these dangerous behaviors from their environment not only for their children, but for themselves. Thank you so much for sharing such great advice Marala because everyone needs to know this!!!

    Reply

  3. Gina
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 14:30:22

    I appreciate Marala sharing this information because it is imperative for parents to know this. This is really eye-opening especially because Marala has been through this situation. I hope parents understand what they are doing to their children and change their behavior immediately. I’d recommend everyone to read her memoir In Our House: Perception vs. Reality because it deals with the topic addressed. Thank you for sharing her advice.

    Reply

  4. Aaron Curry
    Feb 18, 2011 @ 10:25:21

    Some parent’s speak without ever having done what it is they expect from their children. I can honestly say that my mother is an exact replica of the parenting style that she speaks of. For instance: My sporting events, she attended every single one. I barely played in high school and she would fly back from whatever business trip she was on to be there no matter what the circumstances may have been. If my parent’s argued, which they didn’t, I never witnessed it because she would have never subjected me to something that could have potentially scarred me for life or changed my views on relationships or parents in general. My religious beliefs stem from my upbringing and helped mold me into the man I am today. She always stayed on me about my homework and of course helped me with every class, EXCEPT math once I got past the 5th grade ;-)

    She was and is the epitome of a “protector” … until I matured, I didn’t realize how much she truly guarded me from. Most of my friends would die to have a mother like her. Usually when you know you have something, you take it for granted. I was constantly reminded by my friends at a young age that what I received from my mom was rare and unique. Now being 24 with no kids, no record, attending college and having a genuine respect for life and the gifts that God continually blesses me with on a daily basis … I have no one to thank but my amazing mother. She is truly an inspiration to all who come into contact with her and as many say, an Angel. I suggest that every mother or father who reads this article, take note from a parent that has lead by example her entire life. My mother lives life the way it ought to be lived, with love, compassion and an unwavering faith that has been tested, yet never broken.

    ~Your Son

    Reply

  5. Laci Greer
    Feb 19, 2011 @ 10:00:18

    Yet another great guest! This should be posted everywhere for everyone to read. Marala said it best “one of the most important lessons is how and why to forgive”, if you don’t know how to forgive someone you will never make it in life. But we also need to be aware of who we are forgiving. All of us have been hurt in the past and we are the only ones who can make the choice to forgive or not to forgive and where to draw the line. Thank you so much for a wonderful post.

    Reply

  6. Jess Canzater
    Feb 23, 2011 @ 21:40:40

    This is the best advice a loving mother can give to all parents out there. I was brought up with nothing but unconditional love and support from my parents as Mrs. Scott brought up her children, and I thank them everyday for that. It made me into the strong, loving young woman I am today. I strongly suggest everyone read “In Our House Perception vs. Reality” It is truely life changing and touching.

    Reply

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