Children who grew up with trauma and abuse often struggle with trying to explain it to themselves. When you’re a child, you don’t necessarily understand how large the world is, or your place in it. The world you know mostly seems to revolve around you. In fact, we normally associate understanding that the world doesn’t revolve around you as a sign of maturity. That’s why childhood trauma is so difficult to deal with. It happens at a time when our knowledge is limited, and we, quite naturally, start to wonder why it happened to us.
As I said though, as we grow older and more mature, we can hopefully understand a bit better that what happened to us wasn’t actually about us, it was about the choices of our abuser(s). But many survivors are stuck in their child like views of the world because of their trauma. This leads to a number of bad outcomes, and I thought this experience I had recently would be a quick illustration.
As we wrapped up a lovely vacation with extended family in the mountains of North Carolina, I wanted to get a photo of the cabin, but a yellow jacket decided it was time for something else entirely:
Now, as a child who views the world as revolving around me, I could have groused about this yellow jacket going out of it’s way to ruin my photo, As an adult, I posted the photo to social media and had a good chuckle. Oh, I also waited for it to go on it’s way and took the photo again. That’s the response that comes from understanding that the jacket was simply looking to see if I had anything sweet for it to eat. It was making it’s own choice about how to approach me. I didn’t do anything to draw it in, nor did I deserve to have my photo ruined, even though that’s exactly what happened.
Because stuff happens, and quite often it has nothing to do with me as a person. It happens because someone, or something, made a choice. That choice is not a reflection on me as a person. Blaming myself for this photo would be silly.
Blaming yourself for being abused is not silly. It’s much worse than that. Don’t do that to yourself.