Trauma cracking our shells open to allow us to grow more is not opposed to grieving. Grieving is part of pushing the shell wider open.
And the personal responsibility that needs to be taken in any and all situations is an emotional one. If a difficult time in my life has made me harder and less trusting, its because *I chose* to be harder and less trusting as a result. That may have been a way to avoid the vulnerability of grieving and fully feeling loss in the moment... it may have been what served me at the time. If it is not serving me anymore and closing me off from connecting with others and experiencing intimacy and joy, then I need to take responsibility for that and change it if I don't like it-- instead of remaining a victim to my circumstances my whole life.
We have infinite choices as to how we view the things that have happened to us... and we need to take responsibility for that. I am not responsible for having been raped. The rapist is responsible for that. What I am responsible for is how that event impacts my life going forward. I am responsible for how I allow that to impact my ability to connect in intimate relationships. I am responsible for how that event colors my view of men that are not predators. I am responsible for using that event to deny my own personal power and live smaller. Mind you, the process is a slow one. There are layers. But if I'm punishing my very loving, very supportive, very egalitarian partner now because I was raped in high school and college, I am responsible for that. I don't get to be a tyrant that makes everyone else pay because people did bad things to me 10-20-30 years ago.
I can't change that I was raped. I have to accept that I was raped. It happened. I can't change it, I can't "fix" it (what does that mean? Isn't that just not accepting that it happened?) But I can use that experience to wake up to my own instincts. I can use that experience to highlight the importance of owning and developing my own sexuality instead of taking what is given to me by society. I can use that experience to help me appreciate my present loving partner even more because he's so NOT the men that hurt me before. I can clear the way that the rape has impacted me energetically, and work to keep weeding my psychological garden of the victim mentality weeds that will take it over if I don't stay up on my maintenance. My history of sexual abuse and rape is always there. But I do not want to carry it. If it wants to hang around it needs to walk on its own legs. And it will not drive. And it will not make decisions. It doesn't get to drive my life, and it doesn't get to dampen my joy.
It does make a pretty good watchdog, though. It barks its warnings, but I am the one that holds the chain and makes the decision about what-if anything- to do about its warnings.
The events in and of themselves mean only what we put upon them. If we allow all of our feelings to be felt, or push them under. If we see the feeling as just a feeling that makes us human in this moment, or if we see the feeling as "meaning" something about who we are or what kind of person we are that we would feel whatever way in whatever situation-- those are choices.
Its one thing to believe that the world can be paradise and people are essentially good when you've never been through bad times-- that's just naivety. But to have been through difficulty, to have been betrayed, to have your music stolen for a while, but then *decide* to find your music again, to open again, to love again... to *decide* to CHOOSE to focus on the good that is here-- that's when it actually means something.
We always have that choice. Taking responsibility for that has been one of the most empowering things I've ever done. I'm sad that I fought it for so long. What are we fighting for? Do we really want to win the title of Biggest Victim? Do we really want to win the battle to be defined by our limitations?