Children who have been physically, emotionally, or sexually abused or
neglected place the locus of control for the trauma with themselves.
Often a perpetrator also promotes this mindset. Beyond that, this
mindset helps the victim avoid feeling helpless, vulnerable, and
powerless in the face of the trauma.
The victim believes the trauma is happening because “I am bad.” Therefore the victim has hope that, “if I change,” the trauma will stop. In its original context this is a protective illusion. When that illusion is generalized across experiences, it keeps the victim locked in a cycle of bad feelings, self-abuse, and destructive relationships.
A major focus of recovery work is to contradict the locus of control shift, a step-by-step process which initially leaves survivors feeling exposed and vulnerable, but eventually leads to self-acceptance, grieving, and healing.
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