I did a quick Google search the other day for "broken home upbringing success rate." My computer went ablaze with questionable articles and supposed-evidence-based pieces that essentially said if you grew up in a broken home, you'll be destined for failure.
These results included things like: "Children from Broken Homes are Five Times More Likely to Suffer from Mental Illness," and are "nine times more likely to commit crimes," and let's not forget the one about, "How Broken Families Rob Children of a Future."
Now, I'm sure the science behind some of these articles is fairly accurate. However, what concerns me is that articles such as these ones pave the way for certain stereotypes to be emphasized. These articles give power to this idea that just because you come from a broken home automatically means you'll either end up unsuccessful, unhappy, emotionally unstable, poor, or all of the above.
The truth is, though, - just because you come from a broken home, DOES NOT mean you have to live a broken life.
The basic definition of a broken home is: a family in which the parents are divorced or separated. But, the term can carry a variety of meanings based on different situations in a person's life.
I classify myself as being from a broken home and this is for a number of reasons: My mom is a drug-addict. She often did drugs in my presence when I was a little girl. She also suffered from bipolar disorder. My parents divorced when I was in high school. When my parents were married, their relationship was toxic, and fights became battles that ensued right in our kitchen. I was in the crossfire and the cops often paid visits to our home. Dark memories of my upbringing randomly resurface, and remain a shadow in my everyday life.
All too often, people seem shocked to discover that I didn't come from a picture-perfect family. This was probably because I didn't follow the broken home stereotype, and instead, I fought it: I was a straight-A student, and I loved going to school. I used homework as a distraction. I never got in trouble in or outside of school. I was on a dance team. I was the first one in my family to graduate from college, and have been working full-time since. I am now working on my Master's Degree.
What I'm trying to say is I did not allow myself to follow the darkness I was surrounded by for most of my childhood. Yes, my upbringing certainly had it's consequences (I have anxiety, I often rethink traumatic events, I experience depression easily...and so on), but all things considered, I think I'm doing pretty damn well for myself.
You can fight those stigmas and overcome all the odds and obstacles this life decides to throw at you:
1. Let your experiences make you stronger.
2. Don't be afraid to share your story with the world. You'll be surprised how many people come from similar or relatable situations.
3. Create a support system and surround yourself with positive and kind-hearted people. These people can help lift you through rougher times, or moments when your past makes you feel weak.
4. Remember to depend on and trust in yourself. You have come so far, keep going. You can defy the odds.
5. Build a better life for yourself.
6. Always Remember: You do not have to follow the path you came from. Regardless of the home you grew up in, or the broken family you may have been raised from, you do not have to end up the same way.
So here's to us. The ones who grew up in an unstable environment surrounded by pain, loss, trauma, and heartache.
To us, who have been through hell and back, but we are still standing.
We are still pushing, and growing, and learning. We still live and love with our entire hearts. We took our past and focused all of that energy towards building a better future for ourselves.
We are strong. We are resilient.
Here's to us.