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March 9, 2016

Victim or Survivor? Life After Trauma.

Flickr/Harold Navarro
Nothing can control me, not even me. Everything can influence me, including me.

Therein lies our power.

I was listening to a friend sharing about people in his life with narcissistic tendencies (which we all have a bit of, as it is ego-driven survival instinct) and their need to blame the world for their unhappiness.

It reminded me that there is not a day in my life that I am unaffected by my brother’s cancer.

It is going to be a part of my life forever, and I could blame that experience for my troubles. That harrowing experience, seeing him in multiple hospitals and not being able to do anything. I felt helpless and frightened. It affected me deeply and changed the way I would see the world permanently.

Nothing can be done about that.

However, I have tailored which parts of that experience express themselves in my present life and living. After many years and a lot of focus, I was able to give my family the calming, peaceful, and depth of perspective that I gained. They will no longer be getting the rage-driven fury that led me to need anger management counselling or the addiction issues that put me in the hospital. Those are possible outcomes, and they are what happen when I am not actively engaging in the opportunity to do something positive with what what is going on inside of me.

One cannot help or control some life events, yet one can control the response, and those are interconnected. That’s the difference between opportunity consciousness and victim consciousness.

There is something we can do with everything that happens to us. Period.

It’s kind of like parenting. Our kids are outside of our control, but we do get to parent them. We can and should do that with ourselves, too.

Our history? Our traumas? They aren’t in the past. They are affecting us in the now.

We should ask how we are engaging that reality, influencing ourselves along with those. It’s vitally important for self-parenting.

At any moment, any time of day, we can pause and ask these three questions:

1) Am I being affected?
2) How am I being affected?
3) What can I do with that?

When we look at our lives, everything that has affected us is influencing us in the present moment—our history is a part of us. I bring my past traumas everywhere I go.

I bring my past relationships into the present ones. I bring my past job experience to my new job. I bring the whole of my history into the present. But I do so consciously, rather than unconsciously.

When we engage a new relationship, whether a new lover, a new job, or just a new habit, we need to observe how our history is expressing itself through this new connection. We need to do this because we want to find a way to healthily express ourselves in our relationships. This forms a harmony between the person we want to be and the myriad of experiences that have shaped us.

This is what we want to strive for, co-influencing ourselves so that we can co-create our world.

 

Author: Vito Mucci

Apprentice Editor: Kari Miller / Editor: Sara Kärpänen

Image: Harold Navarro / Flickr 

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