First of all, this blog has taken me a year to post because it took me that long to really wrap my head around it. This is about sanitizing your thought process of self blame after experiencing trauma. We can take responsibility for ourselves AND our actions without being made responsible for actions, and specifically harm done to us, beyond our control.
Blaming yourself for events that happened to you keeps you looking back painfully instead of moving on with your goals, purpose and life. By listening to victim-blaming narratives, you may feel like you are carrying the heaviest weight in the world and have a block between you and your healing. Try thinking about the serenity prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Self blame comes up vigorously in toxic relationships, where we blame ourselves for not being the right partner or friend to make a relationship work or be healthy. In those instances I urge you to ask, “what is realistically in my control?” and really make a discernment on what you can do for your own safety, and mental peace.
How to Chill on the Self-Blaming:
Relate, Reimagine, Repeat. Relate to your own feelings of shame with a compassionate heart. If it was a friend, what advice would you give? Reimagine the situation from any other angle than self blame, this will help you get out of a downward spiral. Repeat. Do this until you have clarity about what you’re able to let go/ what’s not yours to carry.
Make a phone call to someone you trust. Ask them to help you change your language when you’re blaming yourself instead of stating events as they happened.
Re-frame victim-blaming reactions and narratives you hear from others and society. Even if it is silently. Don’t let those comments pervade your mental by literally creating an alternate response in your head and sharing it, or not.
I had been blaming myself for drinking too much the night I was raped. It took a couple days for me to completely recollect what had happened to me and what I did. Desperately trying to recount the “terrible night” I had, a friend said “It sounds like you were kidnapped.” That was the type of realization or re-frame I didn’t come to because I was applying full self blame to what transpired that night. Once I allowed the victim blaming to stop in my own head, I sure as hell wasn’t willing to let other people blame me for what I didn’t want, ask for, or do. An intimidated/coerced, drunk, sleeping, minor, or drugged person cannot consent to sex. Let the facts resurface and scrub your brain of self blame!