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"The worst guilt to accept is an undeserved guilt." - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
If you grew up living with domestic violence, it is highly likely that you carry with you a false sense of guilt, a false sense of shame. You believe that you are somehow guilty or that you have something to be ashamed of. That it was your fault. Let’s look at it more specifically.
The lie: You are somehow responsible for the violence you lived with during early life. It was somehow your fault or you could have stopped it. That it was a child’s job to control the actions of adults. There is something inherently wrong with you.
Why do we feel this way?
As a child, the emotional brain is fully developed, but the neocortex—the logical thinking center—is not fully developed until adulthood. As a child, you felt all the emotion fully, but you did not have a developed, rationale part of the brain to understand what was happening, to understand the truth.
As a child, you may have falsely concluded that it was your fault or you could have done something differently to alter the outcome. Or, that you were in some way wrong. This belief then becomes part of you and becomes true and is not challenged in adulthood. It is simply fact.
But what is the truth?
You are finally free. You are free from the environment of your childhood. It is now your time to be free from the illusion of guilt and shame.
Freedom is not something you can physically see. But freedom gives you the choice to take action. So your freedom is made visible through action. Guilt and shame destroy willpower and this false belief has held you back long enough.
You are designed to act in ways that move you closer to your full potential.
What step can I take today?
The key step is to share. Share with another your story or share with yourself through pen and paper. Specifically, conversation with another helps transform the meaning, you will see more clearly how you were never guilty, how there is no reason to feel shame, how you are finally free.
Learn how to share your domestic violence experience by becoming an advocate for other survivors in “Speaking Out.”
Looking for someone to speak with? Enter your location to find phone numbers for domestic violence experts in your area.
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