"You are not the victim. You need to change the victim vs. perpetrator dynamic or you'll continue to be disempowered."
This is what my therapist told me after I told her all the terrible things my ex husband did to me. What the actual f*uck?? Was it not me who was locked in the bathroom with my husband at the time banging on the door and cussing me? Was it not me who got her fingers jammed when he wrangled my phone out of them and smashed the phone in the driveway? Was it not me who was threatened to be charged with abandonment and foreclosed on if I left? Was it not me who was dependent on him to feed, clothe, and shelter my children?
How was I NOT the victim? Over the years, I've had many clients say the same thing to me. I get it. Women get together and vent about how their men mistreat them. They bond in their commiseration. They give each other advice. They don't follow it. Rinse, lather, repeat.....
So what gives? What I've come to think over the years is this: sometimes, you are the victim and you are powerless. If you're a minor and your caregiver is abusing you, if you are physically locked/trapped in, if you are physically/mentally unable to help yourself, you are the victim. In those situations, I pray that someone will intervene. I have LOTS to say about child abuse but that's for another blog....
Anyway, with those exceptions, let's just for a minute see this situation like this: what if you were NOT the victim? What if you were being mistreated because you ALLOWED it? Yes, you allowed it. You have the physical and mental capacity to care for yourself and yet you continue to endure being mistreated. It's a CHOICE. How could this be?
Maybe you allow it because you always have and it feels normal. Maybe you allow it because you're afraid that NOT allowing it would be worse. Maybe you allow it because you don't realize that you have a choice. Maybe you allow it because you believe it's what you deserve.
How do you make the shift? Not necessarily in this order but you need to get distance from the situation and you need to get help and support for yourself. You can't get perspective on your situation otherwise. There are many resources for help and support but to ask for that takes awareness and honesty about the truth of your situation. Getting help means being brutally honest with yourself about your fears, values, and beliefs. It means being willing to create a new normal for yourself.
You can understand why we stay. It's much easier in the short term to not see the truth. It takes so much work to change and it's painful to expose our demons.
But the good news is that when you make the decision to shift the dynamic, you will feel POWERFUL like never before. When you ask yourself these questions: What in me is receptive to this type of treatment? What am I afraid of? What if what I'm afraid of came to pass? What is my part in this dynamic? Where are my weak spots? Where do I need to make amends?
Side note: I believe that understanding why hurt people hurt people is extremely valuable and part of the healing process. Not to excuse bad behavior but simply to understand the entire dynamic. Seeing through the "bad guy's" eyes takes away some of their power and your fear. It's just not as simple as the movies make it sound- that there are bad guys and good guys. We all carry both.
You will learn about your receptors. What beliefs do you carry that make it ok for someone to project their hurt onto you? That make it ok for you to internalize others' hurts? You will recognize your patterns and cycles. Honestly, the first step is simply to SEE what's happening from an objective perspective.
Once you become AWARE, you will learn how to change the cycle/pattern/dynamic. You own 50% of the equation. It's amazing the power you have when you adjust your part in it. The entire dance changes.
You will learn these skills: how to be aware of your gut feeling/your instinct, how to create boundaries, how to verbalize boundaries and assert your needs. When you first learn these and put them into practice, it feels foreign and very difficult. It gets more smooth over time until it becomes your new normal.
I'm happy to help you with this. I love this process more than anything. Schedule a consult today.
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.