Posted by: forfreedomalone | 31/10/2010

The Power of Choice.

I was sitting in a restaurant the other day and could not help overhearing the conversation between two men at a nearby table.
“So,” said one,”that was how it kinda worked out. I had no choice really” The other nodded sagely and they sat for a few minutes in silence as they considered the first man’s situation; brought about by fate and lack of choice.

I wanted to get up, go over to them and tell them that there is no such thing as ‘no choice’, I wanted to tell them that ‘things’ do not ‘just kinda work out’. We, as adults, are in control of our world, we make things happen or prevent them from happening and we do it by the power of choice. If I believe that I have no choice in any situation then I am powerless. I have no control over what happens to me and I have no ability to decide how my life will play out. If I believe that I have a choice then I have power.

The two men went on to discuss the first man’s lack of choice. He had been presented with the information that his wife was having an affair with a colleague at her work and he, her husband, was filing for divorce. What other choice did he have? He had been humiliated, he had lost trust in her, he felt his marriage was defiled, he had no choice.
Well, actually he did. He could have chosen to forgive her. He could have chosen to see a counsellor, move to another city with her or look at his part in the situation. There were several things he could have done other than file for divorce but he did not see them as options. Now, does that mean he did not see them or that he did not see them as viable? I do not know as I was not privy to the whole conversation, but I do know that he felt trapped by circumstances and forced into divorcing his wife. This feeling of being trapped, being forced in a particular direction removed from the man all feeling of power, but it also removed from him all feeling of responsibility.

If he had no choice then he could not be responsible for any of his actions. She had forced him into this position, therefore, all the responsibility was hers and he was a victim of circumstance. Here we meet the real nub of the issue; he was a victim.
Victims do not have choice, they are placed in situations where all power is removed from them and they are utterly dependant on another. A baby who is abused by a parent is a victim. The baby has no ability to defend itself, to leave or to tell; it is totally helpless and at the mercy of the abuser.
An adult who is abused by their spouse is not a victim. They have the power to defend themselves, leave or tell. So why do so many adults believe that they have no choice and live as victims? They have been conditioned to believe this. They have been conditioned to believe that once a victim always a victim, but the good news is, this is not so.

In my work I have yet to meet anyone who has NOT been abused as a child. Abuse takes many forms from sexual, to physical, to emotional, to spiritual. The lasting effects of all forms of abuse are not on the body or even on the mind but on the soul. The damage done to the body will heal, the damage done to the mind can be dealt with by burying it, ignoring it, forgetting it or by various psychological stratagem to alievate the pain; but the damage done to the soul cannot heal with time, talk or therapy.

In all things we have choice. Even when it seems as though there is no choice, there is. What we see as the only way is actually the only way we would choose to go. If one were to see a child in difficulties in water one may say “I had no choice but to dive in”, but that is not true; there was the choice to walk away. Naturally, most people would not even think of doing that, but that does not change the fact that the option was there. When presented with the choice to hand over the bank’s money to the robber or be shot one may say “I had no choice but to hand over the money”, but that is not true; the alternative was to be shot. The fact that the option which we do not choose was unthinkable does not mean it did not exist. Recognising that we have choice forces us to recognise that we have responsibility and that is what many people are trying to avoid.

In order to remain a victim one must have no options and no responsibility. The baby who is being abused by its parent is, in no way, responsible for this fate. It is truly a victim.
The parent may tell us that he/she was abused as a child and is a victim of abuse too. Their behaviour today is as a result of what was done to them, they are not responsible. By implication, they had no choice but to follow the dictates of their victimhood. Void of responsibility and choice, they are automatons.
But if they are freed from choice and responsibility then they are held in chains to victimising and being victims. The path to freedom is recognising that one has choice and one is responsible, no matter what one does. This is a scary thought because is removes all excuse and makes one face, squarely, one’s behaviour at all times.

How can one be free from victimhood? By forgiving.
When I forgive the abuser, I let him/her go as the excuse for my behaviour. I take responsibility for my life and I live it on my terms, not theirs. I am free to choose, free to be responsible and free to stop abuse and victimisation going to the next generation.

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