There are many versions of the Serenity Prayer. My favorite one goes like this:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know that's me.There is simplicity in this little prayer, and it's also a bit infuriating. As trauma survivors, we want to control everything - and that makes a lot of sense. In many kinds of trauma, power was taken from us or we felt completely powerless - and that feels awful. It can feel unfair and frightening and angering and it makes a lot of sense that we never want to feel that way ever again.
We want to make sure a trauma like this never happens again in the future, which is incredibly logical, but this implies that our past trauma was somehow our fault or that we could have prevented it.
But it wasn't our fault and we could not have prevented it. I know that this is hard for trauma survivors to believe. This is why in Cognitive Processing Therapy, a treatment for PTSD, we talk about power and control "stuck points" and work to shift our thought processes to aid in our healing and start the PTSD recovery process.
Any change can feel especially risky for those of us recovering from PTSD because we develop a habit of grasping for power and control issues in all arenas. And that, my friend, is crazy-making because the only thing I can change is me and the only thing you can change is you.
There is no such thing as overnight change when it comes to PTSD, but we can start by recognizing that we've built a habit that is very logical in the context of PTSD - it makes perfect sense. And, when this is no longer working for us, it is time to start a new process of putting this habit down.
Time to drop the rock.
“If you believe change is possible, you want to change, and you are willing to do the work, you absolutely CAN get your life back.”
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