Why do we need to diagnose someone else to justify what they did to us?
We tend to try and find a label for our abuser. Society encourages us to find a reason to make sense of what they did. Suddenly, everyone is now a narcissist.
Have you noticed this?
I have spoken about my experience of narcissistic abuse in the past.
On my healing journey, I have been looking at what has happened to bring me to this point. But I should have been looking at where I currently am.
It is a toxic game we seem to play. We focus our attention on what happened to us, instead of looking at the impact and the trauma we are left with. Or we hold ourselves in victim mentality—looking at our past emotional state instead of recognising that we have done all the work, and releasing it.
We need to focus on where we are and where we are going. The past is a reference point to help us identify behaviours that have caused problems in the past. But it should not be a place we constantly revert to in order to heal.
Healing is our future—not our past.
We can heal the trauma of the past, but that does not require us to dwell there.
But it is safe. It is comfortable to stay at this point. Because if we do heal, then we are going to be propelled into a new level of living.
A stage of life that has forgiveness and grace toward our past. And hope for the future.
It sounds beautiful, and it is.
But it is also unknown.
It is foreign territory, so we keep ourselves safe.
“A ship in harbour is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” ~ John A Shedd
In our victim mentality of finger-pointing and blame, we are safe. We are safe from growth, from uncomfortable responsibility, and the next level of life. We can stay small, and the rest of the world will let us, because of what we have gone through.
But what if that is not the life you are here to have?
What if the limiting beliefs that you allow to control your life are stopping you have the business you desire or the promotion you deserve?
What if the victim mentality and the blame game are creating a version of you that is unable to have a healthy relationship as you are always waiting to be hurt again?
Here are my top tips for how to get out of this trap:
1. When talking about your past, keep details minimal. Focus on the impact on you rather than the actions of the abuser. This is you taking back control. It is your life and your story. You do not need to go into great depth about what they did.
When you do that, you are giving them power again. Stop it—and focus all your energy on your experience, how you felt about yourself, and your emotional state at the time.
2. Move quickly onto where you are now. Focus on how much improvement you have made, even if you have little wins. The more you talk about them, the more your brain will work to find other examples. You are rewarding yourself again for those wins by acknowledging them. Allow yourself to feel pride in your progress instead of disheartened by what lies ahead.
3. Talk with hope, and change your physical state when discussing what you will have in the future. Sit up straight, smile, take a deep calming breath like when you have just experienced a massive relief.
Abuse is abuse.
We do not need to excuse it with a diagnosis, and they don’t have to have a personality disorder.
We do not need to tell everyone why we are the way we are. What we experienced doesn’t need to be understood or justified by others.
Take back control of your life and your healing journey by moving forward instead of anchoring yourself in the past.
And when we do reach that next level of life—we don’t stop there.
There is always more available to us.