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From Raised on Fear to Living Love
Book Review: "Raised on Fear" by Lee Cox and Marge Hulburt
"Raised on Fear" is the true story of Lee's life as an abused child and abusive adult and how he finds healing from a life of violence. This is a story that will open the readers eyes to the reality of domestic violence and also inspire them through the openness and tenacity of Lee's spirit to bring more love and intentionality into their own lives.
The story begins with a look at Lee's parents and grandparents and the family curse which seems to be passed from generation to generation. There are patterns that impacted Lee's life long before he was born. It then takes the reader into Lee's childhood in Moses Lake, Washington, where the confusion and violence in his family is shown through the innocence of a child s point of view. We catch glimpses of how the mind adapts to a life of pain. The story then moves through his teen years in Tonopah, Nevada, as the violence escalates until Lee is finally forced to flee for his life.
As a young adult, Lee struggles to make his way in life on his own. He searches for family and a place to belong and tries in vain to win his father's approval. He goes into the military as a last resort and comes out with a dishonorable discharge. His lack of direction finally lands him in jail. The story follows him through two rocky and abusive marriages, the second with a child at stake. The reader is allowed inside the mind of an abuser, to feel the push-pull of desperately wanting love and approval while feeling the need to hold onto it by control and force. Lee shares his frustrations and learnings through years of counseling, workshops, and sheer determination to get his life under control. We share in his triumph when he is finally able to take responsibility for his life.
As Lee's story reaches the expected happy ending, he is suddenly catapulted into a medical crisis and near-death experience. This gives him the opportunity to find true healing beyond the tricks and strategies he had learned to hold his life together. He met his father in a dream and was able to forgive him. He envisioned the kind of person he wanted to be and was eventually able to change his life to match that vision. He experienced overwhelming and unconditional love from the people in his life at a time when he had nothing to give in return and was able to begin to conquer his fears.
This is a story of the kind of healing that changes a person's life and in turn changes the world around them. Like all of us, Lee's work is never really done. At the end, we see him backslide for a moment and wonder, as he does, if he'll make it. But his story makes it clear he has the resources and the personal power to go on and live the life of love he has dreamed of. It inspires each of us to take responsibility for creating our own lives of quality and awakens us to both the needs and potential of abused children and adults.