Link – The two kinds of stories we tell about ourselves
Thinking about this from the perspective of a survivor, there’s some real truth in it.
An individual’s life story is not an exhaustive history of everything that has happened. Rather, we make what McAdams calls “narrative choices.” Our stories tend to focus on the most extraordinary events, good and bad, because those are the experiences we need to make sense of and that shape us. But our interpretations may differ. For one person, for example, a childhood experience like learning how to swim by being thrown into the water by a parent might explain his sense of himself today as a hardy entrepreneur who learns by taking risks. For another, that experience might explain why he hates boats and does not trust authority figures. A third might leave the experience out of his story altogether, deeming it unimportant.
For many of us, the story of our life starts with being abused at a young age, and then everything else gets filtered through trying to make sense of that. “I deserved that”, “Life is always painful”, and other non-truths become the narrative that helps us explain what happened, instead of the absolute reality of the situation, which is that being abused had nothing to do with me as a person, or something about me. It was an unfortunate side-effect of someone else’s story that is only part of my story, not the entirety.
Of course, that’s easier to say than to do, but getting to that new story is part of healing. I hope you can find your true story.