Barry Pearman of Turning the Page, which is a group in New Zealand dedicated to “empowering your mental health” with “faith, hope, and love,” has had roles as a mental health support worker and a community chaplain pastoring people with major mental illnesses. In a blog post for members and friends of Turning the Page, Pearman asked:
What do you do with your history of mistakes? Blame others? Minimize what you did? Try and ignore them? The healthiest thinking people I have come across are those that take responsibility for what they have done. There may well be extenuating circumstances….
Pearman talks about Joseph of the Old Testament who was sold into slavery by his own brothers. Joseph found himself later in prison, based on false accusations. Pearman reflects, even in the prison where others’ (and not his own) choices had placed him…. Joseph made choices to continue to live in integrity and humility….
The weight of our symptoms (whether from from post-traumatic stress, mental or physical health impact, or other impact from the abuse) can not only feel like a prison, but can become our prison whenever we forget that we do exercise choice over our present. This choice may appear as a decision to find a therapist or to restart therapy. It may be to take our medications as prescribed, or to speak up if the medications don’t work. It may be to choose to take the risk to trust someone or try to step outside the precious zone of safety we all build.
Pearman’s post is a great read for taking a self-check, taking an honest look at whether we are getting two very distinct things mixed up: first, the abuser’s and his enablers’ accountability for abuse perpetrated on us, of which we are innocent, and, second, our own solitary accountability for finding and living our best life right now. Freedom and happiness are to be found in rejecting the former but embracing the latter.
Some time ago, The Healing Voices posted a great Will Smith video on the same topic here.
SOURCES: “Joseph and His Coat of Many Colors” by Susan Tornquist is needlepoint Judaic art you can find here. Interested in a mental health care blog that blends the 12 Steps? Follow @barrypearman on Twitter. Turning the Page has other social media accounts too. (The Healing Voices and Spirit Fire make no commission on artwork featured on this site.)