I must confess, I remained in a victim mentality for years following my abuse experience as a child. This mentality allowed for that person to hurt me over and over and over for years without even laying another finger on me. The fact that I consistently used the old victim story as an excuse for my bad behavior kept me trapped in a never-ending loop of the abuse that had occurred years before. It wasn't until I realized that I had made all my poor decisions, I had abused my own body with drugs and alcohol, I had continually pursued less than ideal relationships, and my abuser hadn't done those things to me, I realized that I also had the power to change things.
That's the beauty in discovering things are our fault; we discover that if we were responsible for keeping the ugly in our lives, then we can also be responsible to end them. It turns our mentality from being a victim to being empowered.
Now, I realize that there is real evil in the world. People hurt other people, and there truly are victims out there. The difference I am trying to call out here is that if we keep using that single event (or period of events) as an excuse to remain hurt and disempowered, and we keep blaming other people for our problems, especially the problems we totally have power to do something about, then we are smack dab in the middle of victimology. Our ego is screaming at us to protect it with our beliefs that perpetrators are continually harming us, instead of realizing that we have the power to change if we want to.
We've all heard people say, "My life would be great, if only so-and-so would start treating me better." Or "I can't stop drinking (or smoking or eating or drugging or whatever) because my wife is such a nightmare." Or, like one of my ex-boyfriends said once, "I don't know why all my friends keep betraying me." These are the people who refuse to actually look at their own behavior and what they are doing to cause these poor relationships. OR, the people that stay way too long in a bad relationship, blaming the other person, instead of just realizing that they at any time can walk away if they are not receiving what they need.
And I'm not pointing fingers! I am totally guilty of staying too long in bad relationships. I am guilty of using my childhood abuse as an excuse for my alcoholism. I am guilty of protecting my ego by blaming my problems on things outside myself, things that in reality I had the power to change all along.
That's the thing we miss if we remain in victim mentality. If I am constantly thinking others are responsible for my problems, then I will feel stuck and trapped and victimized all the time! The moment I realize that I am partially to blame for anything, then I am already on my way to fixing it. Because the only thing I can change is myself. I can't change other people's behavior. So if I keep thinking that it's the other person's fault, then of course I will think everyone is out to get me. But knowing that things might be my fault gives me all the power to change whatever I can in myself to make the situation better.
EMPOWERMENT. I change the things I can change within myself to make the situation better. I release the other person from having all the power in the situation. I am no longer a victim, but rather I am empowered.
This doesn't have anything to do with forgiveness, by the way. We are in no way saying, "What you did to me is ok." What we're saying is, "I am releasing you from having any more control over my life." I am talking about release, not forgiveness.
Yes, this might initially hurt the ego a bit. It stings to admit we are wrong, or might be. It stings to release a real abuser or perpetrator from having so much control over our lives. But I promise you, the freedom and empowerment it gives us is so worth it!