I'm always a bit angry (okay, more than a bit) when people try to use "Well, I/he/she/they were abused as kids..." as an excuse for passing on the cycle of abuse. It is ALWAYS possible not to abuse your kids and to change that cycleI struggle with the idea that I should have more compassion for my mother, who was abused (physically, emotionally, and possibly sexually) by her father. The abuse she received at his hands was worse than what I experienced at her hands, and I have the feeling that I'm supposed to be grateful that she was better than her father, and let her off the hook. "All parents make mistakes," after all. But again and again, I come back to the fact that it is NOT OK to abuse people, whether you do it a little bit or a lot. Regardless of what she experienced, she chose to have children, she chose not to get help, she chose to seek parenting advice from people whose own control issues and abusive temperaments should have been glaringly obvious. She was a psych major for a while, for goodness' sake. She should have understood normal development and the importance of parenting and the risk of passing on abusive behaviors. She knew her father was abusive, yet she didn't ever consider herself at risk for being an abuser, herself.
It is ALWAYS possible to break the cycle.