Is your past a reason or excuse for your present?

The more internal digging I do in therapy, the more I come to this resolution:
I am terrified of using my trauma as an excuse for my current behaviour.
I will find myself saying ‘but that’s not an excuse‘, ‘i wasn’t completely innocent though‘ or ‘I let myself stay in that situation for so long.’
It seems that acknowledging the reason I have insecurities equates to making up apologies for it in my head.
If it sounds like lots of shame is involved, that’s because there is!

Is it really a choice
if you never had a say in the options?

I tell myself that the slightest form of agency means I had a role in choosing my trauma, and hence I deserve it.
But if I enjoyed getting praise from my parents who usually withheld it, was I truly complicit as a child?
If I was doing the best I could at the time with the information I was given, am I at fault for not cutting contact sooner?
There is so much judgment towards myself instead of the gentle compassion I wish were there.

With excuses, we deny any responsibility.
With reasons, we acknowledge a link and all agency.

It would be one thing if I blamed my trauma for inflecting pain on others.
Having suffered does not give us a free pass, and it is our responsibility to strive towards healing.
But understanding that PTSD comes with symptoms, triggers and flashbacks is a fact.
Abandonment anxiety, social awkwardness, obsessive thinking, these mostly just hurt myself.
They have a cause, but they don’t become a cause within themselves.

I hate blaming my parents for my problems.
Mostly because they did exactly that.

My abusers justified their behaviour by having been broken by their abusers: they couldn’t help it.
So, by admitting that my trauma is the source of some of my problematic behaviours, do I fear that I will become monsters like them?
If it is the obsessive worrying of becoming like them that makes me unlike them, how could I ever stop?
I feel stuck at this point, but the solution is literally in the name of this blog:
I need to reparent myself.
Slowly, and with lots of patience.

3 thoughts on “Is your past a reason or excuse for your present?

Add yours

  1. I truly think we can acknowledge the harm our parents did unintentionally and then stop blaming ourselves.. I feel terrified a lot of the time I am using my trauma as an excuse but the truth is I struggle the best I can.. I think getting to self compassion is hard, its only then our distorted thinking that confuses blame and responsibility gets untwisted.. it takes a hell of a lot of work.. so I empathise totally with this..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your comments are always so insightful and helpful, thank you! It’s all about being aware of our patterns and approaching them with patience and compassion! x


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