Abuse Is Wrong In Any Culture: for First Nations and Métis people
How can I get the courage and strength to deal with all this?
One woman who survived family violence shared a truth from her own life: "The more education we have, the more awareness and new things we can learn, and we can all stand to learn more things to make our lives better." She was firm, too, that through her education she learned more about her own traditions and culture. These helped her find strength to leave her life of violence, and move on into a much healthier life. She began to remember all the teachings from her grandparents, and began to hear the words that her ancestors had always spoken about leading a good life.
If you are experiencing, or have experienced, abuse or violence, remember that your culture gives you resilience. This is your strength!
If you are having trouble deciding what to do, and feel confused, you can start now to build up your own courage and strength.
There are many things you can do to feel stronger, more hopeful and independent:
- Talk things over with someone you really trust ... you do not have to tell them everything, just what you feel comfortable with sharing.
- Almost every town has recreation programs, sewing groups, "moms and tots" groups, AA and Al-Anon groups, adult education programs, Friendship Centre programs and a library. Going to these places and group get-togethers gives your mind and heart a break from all the worry, self-doubt, guilt and fear you may be experiencing ... you will go home with renewed strength and self respect.
- Spend some time on the land by yourself, or with your children and trusted friends or family. Everyone says time away from town gives them courage, hope and inner peace. It can be a time to "connect with yourself".
- Many people have found that spiritual practices such as traditional ceremonies, prayer, healing circles, and going to church give them courage. These activities help them see their situation more clearly, and make good choices.
- If you think you have an addiction problem, you can see the local addictions counsellor and ask about the treatment programs that are available.
If you cannot find the strength to change your life for yourself, then think about your children and their lives and futures. As one woman said
"My kids pulled me forward.
Just like when you see them pulling at their mother's hand.
Well, they pull at our minds, as well.
Then, we all move forward."
Making a better life for yourself and your children happens one step at a time.
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