I was telling an acquaintance the other day about Creative Health Secrets. ‘You are blaming the victim,’ she said. I don’t see it like that, Instead I see it as empowering people.
Are We Powerful Or Are We Victims?
I know that if I were to be given a diagnosis of a life-threatening or life-changing chronic disease, I would rather think that I might have caused it in some way, than that it was an arbitrary event. If I had the power to contribute to a disease then I might also have the power to change it. But if it truly was an arbitrary event, then I would have no power and so would be a victim.
Now I know it is true that I do not have power over everything in my life. Things happen that, given a choice, I would not have deliberately chosen. But I also know that while I may not control all the events in my life, I can control my responses. And it is my response to events that largely govern the outcome in terms of my actions and my happiness. If I were to respond like a victim (“Poor me – it’s not fair!”) it would contribute to neither my happiness nor my likelihood of recovery.
Powerlessness and Learned Helplessness
While I don’t see most people as victims, situations of powerlessness can cause learned helplessness, a condition in which a person, or animal, who has been repeatedly exposed to frightening or painful situations they cannot escape, comes to believe that there is never a way to escape so does not try even when escape is possible. So people who have been abused, or subjected to deprivation, may become helpless.
To some extent, many people have learned helplessness around health and illness, because they have been conditioned to view physicians as the source of health and preventers of illness. Unfortunately the majority of physicians do not believe that the body is a self-healing system. so rely on drugs and/or surgery to address almost all conditions their patients have. While these approaches may be warranted in some situations, they also have their dangers. And when drugs and surgery are the only form of therapy they can take the power to heal away from the patient.
Understanding Mind-Body Health Brings Power to Respond Differently
There are many physicians who practise and have written about a mind-body holistic approach to health – Raymond Pelltier, Norman Cousins, Bernie Siegal, Norm Shealy, Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil, and Joan Borysenko, among others. Bur while mind-body medicine has been researched for over 30 years it still has not caught on in general medical practice nor among the general population. The importance of consciousness and the healing power of hope and of love are now well recognized, but I’ve never had a physician talk to me about the amount of love in my life or becoming more conscious, and I don’t know anyone who has.
So if you feel that you are being blamed for your illness, remember that you cannot be responsible for something you are not aware of. Actually, that is not totally true since there are things, like driving or child-rearing that people should know they need to learn before they undertake them. But people have had the supremacy of the medical system drilled into them for so many years, that most have no idea that health is as much, if not more, an inner game than an outer one. Few people see themselves as a self-healing system, and so cannot be responsible for not acting as one.
I hope that you feel empowered by the information on Creative Health Secrets. Blaming the victim is not my intention. Rather than feeling responsible for any health condition you may have, I hope that you feel better able to respond to your condition, so that you can find happiness and peace in the moment.
Please leave a comment and tell me what you think about being responsible for your illness.