Us humans seem to be obsessed with labeling and explaining everything and labels can be very useful, if I went into hospital for an operation, I would want to make sure I was properly labelled so I didn’t come out with the wrong parts missing the same goes for my car or anything else I value and that is the issue with labels. When we label something we give it a value, we take ownership of it and we adopt a need to protect it, this need to protect our labels can make them extremely unhealthy particularly when it comes to the labels we give ourselves.
Some examples of labels that can turn on their owner are; sufferer, depressed, anxious, smoker, shy, mentally ill or victim. In this post I want to talk about victims, some people suffer from a nasty crime or abuse, they are able to see it as a one off event from which they can heal and move on. Even childhood abuse when they had no control of the situation, where they were too small to protect themselves. When the people that were meant to be protecting them actually abused them and left long lasting mental scares, by not adopting the victim label even those people are able to come to terms with what happened, forgive and move on to live happy and fulfilling lives. “Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting somebody else to die” – Malachy McCourt.
Healing from a traumatic experience and forgiving can be a rough ride, it involves realising you are responsible for how you feel and taking ownership of your problems. I am afraid every problem needs an owner, if no one took ownership of their rubbish/trash it would just pile up, everyone would shift the blame onto someone else and the pile would get bigger. It might sound like an absurd comparison but that is what you are doing if you don’t take ownership of your problem, you’re just adding to the pile, making your problem more complex, more difficult to deal with, you maybe even making other people put up with the smell.
You might have been helpless or unable to defend yourself when you suffered the incident or incidents but once you are in control you’re responsible for the story you tell yourself and what you do about it, you can even use it as fuel to propel you into a more prosperous future. It’s all about perspective and the story you choose to tell yourself. Victor Frankl was a Jewish Austrian psychiatrist who survived the Nazi concentration camps, he knew a thing or two about suffering and he said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Some people refuse to forgive or take any responsibility for the issues a past trauma may have caused, they chose to permanently adopt the victim label, to blame other people for their attitude, to drag whoever they can grab a hold of down into their misery and suffering. These people can become narcissistic and abusive themselves but because of their perspective they can’t see it.