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Winston Churchill once said that success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. I have always looked to inspirational quotes like this to get me through hardships, and Churchills words are no exception. Over the years, I have learned firsthand that I, like everyone else, am not perfect. Instead of allowing my failures to discourage me, I have come to see them as learning experiences that have enlightened me and shaped me into the individual I have finally come to love and respect. All things in life have a silver lining. Through my failures, I have become a more efficient problem solver. I have gathered the strength to move forward in life and accomplish things I never thought possible.
This is the story of my life. It was not an easy story for me to tell since I am a product of childhood abuse and family neglect. I had to come to overcome my shame of being abused, but I knew that by not telling the story, I would forever remain a victim. To become a survivor, I had to speak out about what I endured. In the early years, I developed coping mechanisms like denial and the repression of feelings. At the time, this was the only way I could survive the harmful effects of my childhood traumas. Seeing firsthand how judgmental people can be, deterred me from being open with others about who I was and what I had experienced. But eventually, I realized that silence and these coping mechanisms I was implementing, were keeping me from becoming a healthy individual.
I began by examining the ways in which my childhood either adversely affected or actually helped me. I had to ask myself many painful questions. Could I become the good mother I was never shown to be? Was I able to break the chains of abuse and neglect? Could I finally stop the cycle and show future generations that there is hopethat life could be filled with love and free from abuse?
My children were my lightning rod, the reason that I pursued emotional health. They made me realize that I had to finally open up and speak out publicly. I finally understood that I could make the difference in the lives of others and be a positive influence for someone else.
Oh, how I wish I had had such a person in my childhood! But I have learned that my troubled past is not only a part of me; it has shaped me into who I have become. When I counsel others and hear all the stories, I am struck by how many people are still troubled by their painful childhoods and their own personal stories of abuse and neglect. Whats remarkable, though, is that now I am able to focus solely on what they are going through. I dont think any more about what I endured; rather, I think about how I can help. I have finally become the person I have always wanted to become, in large part because I have learned to accept, respect, and love myself. This knowledge has enabled me to accept, respect, and love others.
I believe that we all go through some sort of failures in life, and at times, many of us have fallen into a cycle of abuse. The only difference between those that stay in that cycle and those that break those chains is personal responsibility. I believe that we all have the potential to break the chains of abuse and neglect. The key factor is whether we chose to do something about it.

Biographies & Memoirs
September 29

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