My counselor taught me this concept, over and over and over again. He emphasized that how we view ‘facts’ can be reframed to change the meaning. I found an article that describes this process.
A frame, or frame of reference is a complex schema of unquestioned beliefs, values and so on that we use when inferring meaning. If any part of that frame is changed (hence ‘reframing’), then the meaning that is inferred may change.
To reframe, step back from what is being said and done and consider the frame, or ‘lens’ through which this reality is being created. Understand the unspoken assumptions, including beliefs and schema that are being used.
Then consider alternative lenses, effectively saying ‘Let’s look at it another way.’ Challenge the beliefs or other aspects of the frame. Stand in another frame and describe what you see. Change attributes of the frame to reverse meaning. Select and ignore aspects of words, actions and frame to emphasise and downplay various elements.
Every survivor needs to look at their assumptions, belief system, and anything framed by their abuser. Fortunately, I had an excellent counselor that helped me through this process. Every part of my life needed to be re-examined and reframed. Stepping back from my own life and my own ideas was difficult. Counseling helped. I talked and talked about big things and little events. I looked at what I remembered with new perspective, a new frame of reference, reframing what I remembered with new information. He taught me to stop defining myself by my abusers standards and twisted thinking. He taught me to look at the way I was set up to fail. I wasn’t a failure, the bar was raised or rules changed to guarantee I would fail. After counseling I learned to reframe other things. I was working with a student who condemned herself as being shy. I suggested that she reframe that information that she was an introvert and big groups were difficult. I pointed out that when we talked one-on-one she had no problem sharing her ideas and talking. Too often survivors think of themselves in the frame work of someone’s opinion, allowing others define who they are. I am thankful for a counselor teaching me that I decide what is good and what is enough. I am thankful that I learned to change my perspective. I wasn’t a weird little girl, I was a little girl raised in a weird world.