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!
The textbook for that program guided me through 12 steps out of the depths of my inner hell. When I reached the ninth, this is what was written:
"If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us-sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them."
I've named my blog, "...and we will know peace", same as I have tattooed on my upper thigh. It is a constant reminder of where I came from and the unimaginable peace that was gifted to me by working these 12 steps of recovery.
I'll write about recovery, mental dis-ease, depression, spiritual enlightenment, meditation, cognitive therapy tools, personal experiences, shared experiences, opinions on readings and events, and everything and anything relating to the above. But it all centers around peace of mind and how to attain it longterm.
If you have been battling with your own mind, you have come to the right place. I don't claim to be a guru or leader. But I am someone who has been through it, who has experience, who can relate, and who has seen hope and has finally experienced peace.... the thing I so desparately wished for so long ago.
Thanks for stopping by.