Do you feel like your life is out of your control? Do the same bad things seem to be happening to you over and over again? Do you feel powerless to what happens to you in relationships, with jobs, and with friends? If so, then I am sorry to hear it, and I think that there may be a solution for you.
The world can be a difficult and unpredictable place. Bad things happen to people all the time. Unfortunately, when someone has experienced a traumatic event that is out of their control, one might feel powerless and like other people are responsible for how they feel. And to some extent, they aren’t wrong. Other people make choices that impact us. There is no doubt about that. Someone may choose a fate for you, one that you would have never chosen for yourself. And this is where things get tricky, because if you are a victim of a crime or an assault, alcoholic or narcissistic parents, or relationships with controlling people, you may have forgotten that you too, have agency, and you too, can continue to make decisions that can affect the outcomes of not the past, but of the present and forward.
Let me tell you about taking personally responsibility and how it will change you life. Lets first talk about what it means to take responsibility. Taking responsibility is owning that you may be acting in a way that is propagating your current situation. For example, if you are in a bad relationship with someone who is selfish. Maybe you made a mistake and didn’t know what the warning signs were. That’s ok. There is no need to blame or shame yourself. But you also don’t need to continue to suffer. A way to take responsibility is to own that, although maybe you made a mistake, you are choosing now to stay in this relationship, and it is therefor your responsibility to choose to stay or to decide to leave.
Please do not mistake someone telling you to take responsibility for victim blaming. If something terrible has happened to you, such as a sexual assault, a car accident, or an attack, that’s not your fault. You cannot take responsibility for the actions of another who has harmed you. You cannot change the past, and you cannot stop bad things from happening. You can, however, take responsibility for yourself as much as possible. Going to therapy to explore your beliefs in the world, your tendencies in relationships, and what responsibility you are taking to heal, be accountable to others, and choose to surround yourself with supportive people can be helpful.
And this is how it will change your life: once you take responsibility for yourself and for your actions, you might find that you feel empowered, because when you believe that you have agency and you can change your situation, you may realize that you are making choices for yourself, as opposed to the world around you making choices for you.
Bianca Aarons LMFT is a licensed psychotherapist in San Francisco . Bianca’s specialties include attachment, trauma, sexual abuse, post traumatic stress, relationship issues, depression issues, couples work and work with teenagers. Learn more about Bianca at www.biancaaarons.com, email her at BiancaAaronsMFT@gmail.com, or call her at (415) 553-5346 to ask any questions or to set up a consultation session.