As you may have noticed, I can be quite hard on myself sometimes. I will put myself down for this or that, or find fault in things that happen in life that I have no fault in. I wrote a blog earlier about focusing on myself, and where I possibly went wrong… and realized that I didn’t do anything wrong. I did focus on myself in just the right way, which is how I came to be where I am in my life today: in a healthy living situation, free of abuse. I also was able to successfully escape a lifetime of sex trafficking and ritual abuse.
In fact, I’m the run-of-the-mill person who usually does the right thing. I’ve been involved in sports, music, I have a Master’s Degree, I’ve prayed, excelled at jobs, had a good relationship with God, and when I went to AA I worked my program perfectly. Still, my life has been far from perfect, and today I am on disability due to my many mental, developmental, and physical health problems. So what happened? Did God do this? Why do bad things happen to good people?
The truth is that life simply happened. Despite all of my efforts, my health got worse over time. I was hurt and abused by other people. Now I’ve even been diagnosed with a chronic and possibly fatal disease called Chronic Epstein Barr.
What this means is that I will need to continue to take care of myself and learn new methods of self-care if I want to feel useful in this life. I used to think that there were grand reasons that things happened to me, that everything was part of God’s plan or that terrible things or people were put in my life to teach me lessons. I see that when I did this, though, (always finding a positive within a negative) that I was really glamourizing difficult things in my life, including terrible abuses, and myself as well. Why am I so special to think that all of these things are happening due to some great purpose that I have in life that is God-given? Today I look back at that reasoning and think “Boy, I really did learn some pretty bad habits and ways of thinking from the narcissists that I grew up with”. And the truth also is that when I fell prey to these tactics, I really was quite naive. This naivety only served to make me vulnerable to more abuse. Until I began to really accept how horrific the abuse I went through was, including the emotional and psychological abuse, I continued to be vulnerable to more abuse, to the development of physical health problems, and to worsening mental and emotional problems in my life. For a long time, then, the abusers had won in my life. But not anymore.
The truth is bad things just happen in life. Humans can act in horrific ways and I need to do the best that I can despite it. Furthermore, I’m not any more or less special than anyone else because I experienced abuse and came to the other side of it. Accepting the reality of unfortunate and terrible things in this world means that I will have to be ready to deal with unpleasant (and pleasant) emotions as they come and process life as it happens. It also means that I must be aware that my own actions (and the actions of others) can both hurt and heal. I believe that this kind of attitude helps me to foster a new kind of awareness which results in a personality responsibility towards others and myself that is greater than what any other person, religion, group, or institution has taught me. It also helps me to understand those terrible things that happen in my life are usually not my fault, nor is my reaction to them. Today I am empowered in ways that I couldn’t imagine, while at the same time do not have to fall prey to the narcissistic and religious conditioning that I am somehow special or that there is a grand purpose to my life. All that does, in my opinion, is put a barrier up within myself and actually is harmful to any type of spirituality that I may have, and set up false expectations for myself and others. And when I didn’t fulfill these grand expectations that I had been taught, the result was serious feelings of failure.
If you are reading this and are currently glamourizing or rationalizing abuse, know that is pretty common amongst survivors. If you’ve experienced abuse, then you’ve probably been taught to do this by abusers. For some people, though, looking for positives within negatives works. Just remember, though, that if you glamourize, rationalize, or focus on the positives that result from abuse, you may just miss the true nature of what you went through, and that this is exactly what abusers want.
Thanks for reading! I hope that you learned something and/or can relate.