The soul cannot forgive until it
is restored to wholeness and health.
In the absence of love - how can one forgive?

With an abundance of love, starting with one's self,
forgiveness becomes a viable opportunity.
-Nancy Richards

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Stages of Blame...

...for me at least:

1) Self-Blame
2) Blaming the Perpetrator
3) Reclaiming and Taking Responsibility for my life - Moving from Victim to Survivor

1) Self- Blame: For me, stage one lasted the longest; more than twenty years. Sometimes, I still mourn for the little girl who felt suffocated under the load of blame and shame; hopelessness and betrayal.

Ever since childhood, I internalized my mothers blame, denial and the minimization of my abuse. Other family members and bystanders contributed to my feelings of shame as well. Sometimes, self-blame manifested itself by my arguing to be heard and defensiveness. Finally, during a therapy session at the age of 35, I pondered how I would react if someone threw one of my children down a flight of cement stairs. The thought of anyone hurting one of my kids horrified me. Although it was difficult, I turned the corner from internalizing blame to accepting my mothers responsibility for my abuse.

2) Blaming the Perpetrator: This stage also lasted a long time; approximately ten years. I placed the responsibility for my childhood abuse squarely where it belonged - on my abusers.

This ten year period was a time of huge growth for me. I was freed from my denial and had the opportunity to really examine my abuse and the effect it had on my life. I expressed my anger, I mourned my losses and learned to love the little girl of long ago.

3) Reclaiming and Taking Responsibility for my life - Moving from Victim to Survivor:

Self-blame was an unfortunate by-product of abuse. Blaming the abuser was an important and necessary shift in the recovery process. Armed with the reality of the facts, I was able to set a healing foundation to safeguard my own well being. At that point in my recovery- how my psyche became damaged, wasn't as important to me as how I was going to move forward to the life I deserved. I realized that the only one who could take responsibility for my life was me!

Moving past the blame was a huge relief for me. It gave me control over my own life and felt very empowering. This doesn't mean that I have erased from my mind that my abusers are responsible for my abuse. On the contrary. It means that no longer "obsess" about the blame, but rather take responsible for my life today!

I went through a similar process with my family estrangement: Self-blame and defensiveness; blaming my family; and then taking responsibility for my own life.

What a relief. My family no longer has control over my life!


Just Be Real said...

Nancy thank you once again for your insight. I have trouble with #2. Have not arrived there yet. I can admit who did it, but the feelings just have not connected yet. Blessings dear one!

healandforgive said...

Hi Just Be Real,

I get that. I always understand new concepts intellectually, long before they travel the distance to my heart.


Just Be Real said...

Nancy, I have an award waiting for you in the post "Just Be Real Award." Come by and take of it dear one!