It’s Not All In Your Head (And It’s Not All Your Fault)

Recently I’ve been reading anewfreelife’s blog on “rising from the ashes of domestic violence.” Here is her description of the blog:

I am a survivor of domestic violence, and this is my voice. I am here to share with you what it feels like to be stripped of your dignity by those whom God and nature declare should care for you. And, I hope that this will be a place for other survivors to find their voices. Let the healing begin……..

The subject matter is not pleasant. But it is good reading. Her story of being abused throughout her childhood, and as an adult in her sixteen-year marriage, is heartbreaking. Yet her heartfelt, skillful, and evocative writing, and her ongoing story of breaking free and beginning a new life, is heartwarming. Give it a read. It’s well worth the time.

Many thoughts come to mind as I read her posts. For now, I’ll share just two:


It’s not all in your head.

There’s an idea out there that’s especially popular in New Age circles: There is no such thing as evil. Nobody else can hurt you. Anything hurtful that does happen to you is the result of your own negative or misguided thinking.


Yes, it’s true that sometimes we are our own worst enemies. And yes, we do sometimes bring pain and suffering upon ourselves by our misguided thoughts, feelings, and actions. If you whack yourself on the head with a two-by-four, you’re gonna get hurt.

But does that mean all the pain and suffering we experience is a result of our own faulty thoughts and feelings? That if we correct all our wrong thinking and wrong emotions, and become “enlightened” in the way promised by so many gurus, all pain and suffering will cease?

I don’t think so.

I simply do not believe that we bring all of our pain and suffering upon ourselves. It just doesn’t make sense. And it is not a compassionate way to view the pain and suffering of others or of ourselves.

Anewfreelife describes how she was hated and abused by her mother from the moment of her birth.

Does a newborn baby have wrong thoughts and feelings? Do babies and toddlers bring verbal and physical abuse upon themselves because they are unenlightened?

I don’t think so.

It’s not all in your head.

Sometimes other people do bad things to you that you did not bring upon yourself. Other people actually can hurt you. And though over time you may be able to heal from the pain and suffering, it will profoundly affect your life and character.


It’s not all your fault.

Although it’s not usually stated so baldly by those who hold this view, intertwined with the idea that “it’s all in your head” is the necessary conclusion that it must all be your fault.

That conclusion goes like this: You’re not a victim. You’re bringing it upon yourself. The person hurting you is just playing his or her part in the drama of life that you are writing for yourself.

Those who believe and teach this idea from a “spiritual” perspective will often go on to say that everything you suffer in this life is something that you chose before entering this world. Upon re-entering this world from your supposed previous life, you chose the exact circumstances of your birth in order to take the next steps on your spiritual journey.

A darker version of this same reincarnationist idea is that everything you suffer in this life is a result of evils and sins you committed in a previous life. It’s just karma.


Is it really possible to believe that the millions of children who are born into war, poverty, starvation, and abuse all decided in a previous life that this would be the best way to move forward in their spiritual evolution? Hunger, poverty, and abuse are not good for the soul. We do not evolve spiritually when all of our focus is on struggling for basic physical necessities such as food and water.

And as for karma from previous lives bringing about so much pain and suffering in this life, how is it just, fair, or constructive that a being who does not even remember the crime she or he supposedly committed is now being punished for it?

However, there is an even bigger problem with the idea that everything we suffer in this life is a result of our choices or our wrongs before we entered this life.

It’s just a fancy way of saying that everything you are suffering, you brought upon yourself. If someone is hurting you, it’s because you asked for it.

It is the ultimate form of blaming the victim.

Here are some ideas to consider:

Maybe those who hurt others are responsible for their own actions.

Maybe innocent people do get hurt by the actions of others.

Maybe much of the pain and suffering we endure in this life is not our fault at all.

Maybe there really is evil out there—and not just in our head.

Maybe we do get hurt by evil even when we have neither chosen it nor done anything to deserve it.

It’s not all your fault.

There are innocent victims.

And I believe that it is our job as human beings to protect from harm those who are innocent. It is also our job to reach out to those who are suffering harm in an effort to help them out of harm’s way, and to help them heal from the harm that has already been done to them.

If we ourselves are the ones who have suffered harm, there are ways to move beyond it—especially after we become adults. It’s not easy, and there is no set formula, but it can be done.

What I find so powerful in anewfreelife’s blog is hearing the story of someone who is slowly and painfully climbing out of decades of darkness into a new life of healing, humanity, and yes, even joy.

It is possible.


Lee Woofenden is an ordained minister, writer, editor, translator, and teacher. He enjoys taking spiritual insights from the Bible and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg and putting them into plain English as guides for everyday life.

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Posted in Pain and Suffering, Sex Marriage Relationships
5 comments on “It’s Not All In Your Head (And It’s Not All Your Fault)
  1. Bethany says:

    Thank you for this!! So many people do not understand and we are trying to help them understand that it is hard but every step is worth it. There is no price you can place on freedom. How many people are willing to die for it? How many people have died for it? Freedom is why we live!

  2. Madrepérola says:

    <3<3<3 Lee <3<3<3 – Blessings

  3. Madrepérola says:

    There’s so much to say 🙂 The complexities are many because those who don’t think to abuse, also abuse. So the difference is often only in degrees.
    Abuse belongs to this world: regeneration and the Blessed Beautiful Holy Sacred Third Testament which will bring Humanity a little higher, a few steps, in the direction of THE BELOVED, is the ALIVE WORD that will/can change that reality.
    One thing is sure also, we can not defend ourselves against people we know people are doing their best to help…, etc :))

    Around abusers and abused, there have been many people complying with the abuse, making even great profits from it…
    so, the abused often comes in the “Simone-Weil-like” knowledge that those are even worst, then the abuser. Unfortunately.
    (You understand me: it’s the non regenerate human being… the non Godly part in them, acting).
    This makes it often that the abused can not do anything of what needs to be done. And all those people around it, will defenitly (?) and greatly defend their self-love, as it is impossible for them to recognise what they were doing. Unless there would be a social reality where that is made possible!!!! * )
    A well known version of this, is the Justice or social help one deals with after abuse. It is there to help, and yet, often, the story of a new abuse. Wether they were the orphan institutions, courts, judges, psychiatrist institution which has been a tremendous machine of abuse, etc etc.

    These are cases where abuses are the most subtle and go on and on and on, whatsoever the abused does. Believe me.
    There are abuses which have a one straight line. But the history of abused who fought on their own their whole life (because ALL!!! complied with the abuse, knowingly, not knowingly), and fought greatly, can get to extreme complexities.
    Nobody will be able to understand it, or knowit 🙂 And when it comes to that, people will be searching for what that person did then and then, that could have been much better…. not knowing it could not. And then they have a condescendent attitude to the abused. And then they abuse again, for they hold thoughts of the person which aren’t real, and which make what she needs of, impossible, including happy simple communication.
    Sorry if it gets quite vague: it is Complex! And beautiful!
    I’m sure many many women fighters in this world nobody ever ever heard of, have made such processes. It’s because of this, that at the present moment, it is necessary that they don’t die just as before. Just “forgiving”. Because the result was and always would be that abuse goes on.
    Dear Lee, I think that there are some thousands of women who made deep processes or regeneration, (I don’t mean me) because of having forgiven their abusers…. but then that makes it that humanity doesn’t get up from the abuse stage. And who are the abusers?

    Why I say that it is beautiful? Because these people, when they will be helped, (:)))) ), they’ll have an immense energy to help the world, dearest Lee !!!! And by that, I mean, the “help the neighbour” from True Christianity.

    Here I am again, writing things nobody likes :). I leave it here for a while. Maybe it is useful. A step for a day when it can de DONE – not said but most of all, DONE stronger.

    * – That’s why I believe one of the best way to help abusers is to spread CHRIST’S TRUTH ALSO AND MAKE POSSIBLE AN ALTERNATIVE SOCIETY AS JESUS AND JHON WANTED IT AND PREACHED IT !!! ( “What is needed to come to Heaven?” — “Give the half of what you have” ).
    For, dearest, as things are now, the guilt is too much on too many!!!!!

    Not that one shouldn’t bring it out!!! Yes one needs to. We need to!!!! But the self righteousness of the ones who were not involved in that specific abuse, is often as blind, blinder. And if one would bring it out, the whole society would fall apart like a card castle.
    The individual stories of subtle and complex abuse, are the same at large in society. So the crucified abused may be the one that God uses to make the change possible. For it is exactly the same politics, in micro or in macro level.

    Remember: there’s so much acute horrible suffering in this world: this has nothing to do with God’s wish. Has to do with evil’s wish. God’s wish is that we are brought to regenerate!!! Helping each others. Making it available. For all who want it.
    Arcana Coelestia is not just for inner “spiritual” affairs. It is ALSO to be applied in life, even if it takes the whole life to find out how !!!!!! :)))))) <3<3

    Much much love to you. May God go on inspiring you a million fold.
    Together we can DO SO MUCH, as JC said !!!!!

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Lee & Annette Woofenden

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