I have been to a college reunion. The college was part of a Children's Home and we were training to be Nursery Nurses. As I was returning home, I knew what this blog would be about.
Then I thought that I must have written about this subject before, as it's one of my favourites. A 'search' has revealed that I started to write this blog in September 2009, but never finished or published it.
So here is the beginning from 2009. I will follow it up with further thoughts from this week in 2013.
That is how I started in 2009. It would appear I was going to write about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but I've done that elsewhere, so I'm going to write about control.
As I'm writing, a biting wind is howling through the bare trees. Snow and chaos are being reported in other parts of the UK and I can imagine that many people are going to blame the weather for ruining the day, weekend, holiday, wedding, outing and so on. Or important regional meeting, as in my case.
A headline on a newspaper reads, "The lottery ruined my life." How the newspapers love a story like that. In fact, tabloids thrive on anything or anybody that has "ruined my life." An immediate 'must read, get emotionally aroused and outraged'.
It's the second time I've heard the "... has ruined my life" expression this week. The first time was at the reunion. There were women in their sixties and a man in his late forties. He had been a child in the children's home from two weeks to five years, moving on the other homes until adulthood.
How many of you think that it must have been the man who said it?
No, it was one of the women. She had recently sold her house in the south and bought a beautiful, large house in her son's partner's home town in the north, where she didn't know anyone. Her son, partner and grandchild had moved north through redundancy. It has been a disaster. "I thought we could all live in the house happily ever after." How old is she emotionally? In fact the reported behaviour of all the adults, left us wondering about the EQ of them all and most concerned about the child.
We supported her and comforted her. She said, " They have ruined my life". Before I could speak, another friend said what I was thinking. Her own daughter has problems with addiction, amongst others. "No", she said, "they have not ruined your life. You are allowing them to ruin your life." There were nods of agreement from others, who knew from their own experiences, that she was correct.
Not easy to understand or believe. I certainly didn't want to, many years ago.
If we look at the difference between those who are victims and those who are not, one of the major differences is those who give control of their lives over to an event or other person and those who take control of their own life. Those who change the word 'ruined' to 'changed' agree that, "...it changed my life...", but will not allow to ruin their lives.
I feel I might be hearing some, "yes, but..." from some readers. Have a look around at your friends, family and wider circle. How have people dealt with life experiences? Do events control them or do they control their responses to events? People who have experienced the grimmest of circumstances have chosen not to become victims, whilst others have chosen that path.
The man, who attended the reunion sent us an email afterwards:
It was delightful to meet up with many of you in the evening. It's hard to explain just how pleased it makes me to be able to meet and talk with people who knew me as child. You made a big difference to my life way back then and it continues to have an impact on me today. Growing up in care can leave some people with a sense of loss or abandonment but I can say that I have never felt like that. In fact I feel blessed to have had so many people looking out for me and to me you are all part of my family. As a child I used to tell people that I was brought up by angels and to me, that's what you always will be.
Lots of love,
He could so easily be going through life 'out of control', blaming his mother, unknown father and various institutions. He could be wearing that unhelpful label 'abandonment issues' round his neck and receiving treatment and on medication.
He has his own family, home and good job. He has grown up chronologically, intellectually, physically and most importantly, emotionally.