In response to Angela, a subscriber, who wanted to know how the idea that our feelings come from what we think, not what happens to us, applies to children:
As children, the principle that we feel the way we do because we believe what we think, was equally applicable, it’s just that nobody told us that! So, we, like everyone else around us, blindly believed that what we thought, no matter how painful, was true, and then we naturally blamed what was said or done in the outside world as the reason for our misery and suffering. There was no one to tell us any different – it’s simply what we all did … and do!
This habitual way of seeing the world, though distorted, is nonetheless the way the majority of the world sees life – it is a victim’s consciousness.
Children can get through incredible abuse relatively functional, simply because they naturally looked for a way of framing it that helped them rise above it, reframe it. We have labels for this … and often we see it as a problem. We call it denial, and dissociation, etc … and begin to see the child through a lens that says they have been eternally damaged, a message we pass on to the child via our well-intentioned efforts to fix them, which only more strongly convinces the child that your opinion about them is true (as outlined above). Once we take on a belief system about ourselves, (I’m damaged for life, for instance) we automatically feel and act the part of the forever-ruined-wounded-one-who-cannot-have-a-normal-life. Needless to say, we become quite convincing – to ourselves as well as to those around us.
Imagine a child who knows what causes their feelings (their own thoughts) … Instead of blaming the world, they would be questioning their own thoughts, and looking for ways to move to happier ground that does not make it about them – This, I think is what was modeled through the life of Jesus, who though undergoing extreme victimization never succumbed to victim consciousness. I believe he could do this because he did not take on the confused thinking of the world around him. He did not focus on how he was abused, misunderstood, etc… he did not cry, “Unfair” though clearly what was done to him was pure injustice and perverse abuse.
Instead, Jesus saw himself as going through something he came here, having agreed to endure, for a higher purpose. This is my highest aspiration for myself and those I work with who have been abused. To encourage a child, or the child in us, to see that it is not what happened to us that determines our feelings about ourselves and the world, but what we do with those happenings in our own mind that determines our direction.
No amount of railing about how it should have been will heal … all that works is a decision to turn whatever life hands us into an opportunity for our own personal refinement. We are meeting the obstacles in life that end up pointing us to our very life mission – or not. It depends. Do we use the happenings as proof of our unworthiness – of our defectiveness? Or do we turn it towards life purpose? This is the choice that every one of us have the right to know is ours … and so I share it with you. 🙂
I am not saying there are no victims … I AM saying that we get to choose whether to see ourselves as one. We choose, consciously or not, how we see ourselves and our life situations, as well as how we see children who have endured abuse. We can see them either as hapless victims who have been damaged for life by what they went through, or as souls who have been made stronger, tempered in the fires, towards becoming more of what they came to be and do. We do everything we can to protect them … and when abuse happens, and it does, and always has, for this is Reality, we share with them a way of seeing it that takes them to a stronger place.
Just to offer those of us who have experienced abuse another way of seeing … but only if we want peace.