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Breaking Free: The Power of Taking Responsibility

Are you feeling stuck in the past? Has something happened to you in your life which you feel you just cannot move on from?

Almost daily in my therapy room, I meet people experiencing just this. Feeling trapped and compelled to keep reliving something awful which happened in their past that they can't seem to break free from.

They will frequently explain to me that their life is difficult or they have unhealthy coping mechanisms because "This bad thing happened to me, and it wasn't my fault".

This may be wholly true. Many of us have experienced some awful things in life which we hold no blame for whatsoever. Maybe you suffered a devastating bereavement, maybe you were the victim of a crime, maybe you had an abusive childhood. Nobody in their right mind would ever say you were to blame for these events but here comes the very big BUT!

When we stay trapped in a mindset of blame and fault, that devastating event continues to hold power and control over us. We relive it, we continue to be hurt by it and we feel diminished by it. Essentially we remain a victim to it.

Here is where I encourage clients, and you, to try and alter your mindset and focus upon responsibility.

Yes, that bad thing happened and it was not your fault but it is your responsibility to decide how you will deal with it and move on.

When we acknowledge this, something wonderful happens. We begin to feel empowered, take back control and we lose the sense of being a victim. We are no longer trapped in the past but are able to be in the present and look towards the future.

Let's take a recent client whose beloved wife passed away. When meeting him, he was understandably struggling with the huge loss he felt but was predominantly focussed upon feeling anger to medical staff who he felt let his wife down towards the end. His anger was all consuming and entirely understandable, he had done everything he could to help his wife and others had certainly failed them. He relived events, played images over and over and had countless imaginary scenarios where he held people to account. But this anger was getting him nowhere, it was hurting him and even preventing him from remembering his wife with joy and love.

We worked on fault and responsibility a lot. He decided that he could take responsibility in several ways. He wrote to his local MP telling their story in the hope that nobody else will go through the same thing. He decided to focus on therapy to take responsibility for his own wellbeing. He took control of a beautiful and fitting memorial for his wife which brought him a huge amount of comfort.

None of us would ever say this man held any fault but it was only by taking responsibility for what he could control, that he began to free himself of the anger.

Taking responsibility will always empower you. Placing fault and blame will always victimise you.

Whether something big or small in your life, where are you wasting energy on fault and blame? And what do you need to take responsibility for?

If you need some help doing this, both Tom and I use a whole host of different therapies and strategies to empower our clients to feel more in control of their lives, so get in touch.

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