It took me quite a few years to change my perception of my life as a victim. I had felt safe in the pain of being a victim. People felt sorry for me. I didn’t have to do anything I didn’t want to do because I was the poor casualty. Nobody was going to change my perception of myself. Except me. I was really comfortable feeling like I was living everyone else’s choices- I was a weak pawn. I was just flowing by, through the wind and l didn’t have the power to change anything. Until I decided I did.
My new husband Matt always told me, “I take responsibility for that”. What? Who says that? Who would ever take responsibility for a bad choice or a loss or something hard that he really didn’t have much to do with? Someone who wants their power back. I also learned this way of thinking from Byron Katy who wouldn’t put up with anything. She teaches us to take responsibility for everything. See her book, Loving What Is.
I am not going to be (or pretend to be) a victim anymore. I wanted my power back and the only way to get it was to take control and take responsibility for my part in every situation. This took some new habits and new thinking and processing skills. Oh no, this meant I had to admit in some (yes some haha) situations I was wrong. Or admit my part of the story.
Ok so here it goes… My husband Jay took his own life. At first, I had extreme guilt, and shame and thought it may be my fault. This is where the difference comes in. No, it wasn’t my fault that he decided to end his life, but there were some places I could take responsibility. Like awareness. I did not do my research on depression as I should have. I didn’t even know that there was such a thing as a highly functioning person who could be depressed enough to die by suicide. I thought mental illness was those people who couldn’t complete a sentence in the park downtown. Could he have had a mental illness? I didn’t know because I hadn’t taken control of my life and what was going on in our marriage and his life because I was stuck on the victim mentality.
Now I am a WIDOW. I hated that word, but it got me things I hadn’t had before. Use that victim label and I didn’t have to take responsibility for much. Not my actions and not my thoughts. Everyone excused me and so did I. Jay’s death is where I had felt the most pain in my life. I didn’t have to show up for any more service hours as I had for years, and I didn’t have to clean my house because others would do it for me because I was in a fog. Yes, it’s true, I was in a complete brain shutdown, but for the first time in my life I had help and I liked it after I got used to needing it desperately. I didn’t have to show up to anything for that matter- I had a great excuse – I was having a bad day, or week, or year.
I learned some weak habits over the year. Poor me- a little lady with 6 kids and alone. Oh, I could suck stuff from that for a long time. Until this amazing healthy spirit entered my life- Matt. He was a widower himself but took responsibility for it. He said he was a bad mom. Haha I would not admit I was a bad dad (even though I was). He took control of the situation he was in, instead of letting others run him over or tell him what was best for him and his kids. But then there was a different side of this I had never thought about. He also could take responsibility for the good things. His kids meant everything to him and he was a really good dad. He wouldn’t miss a soccer practice or game, he knew where his kids were emotionally and physically all the time, and he communicated with his kids all day, every day. I told him he is a really good dad and he would say, “Yes I am”. I had the habit of not accepting nice comments. Others admit when they are good and when they are bad. Imagine that?!
Once I started practicing this new habit of being in control I felt amazing. It changed everything! I have my power back! Some days I even felt like a superhero and also felt very real– not numb anymore. I felt emotions again. I had let myself become so numb as my body was washed around in the waves of life- so bruised I didn’t let myself be up or down or hurt anymore. Things were great and things were hard and I could admit each one. I felt more alive. I started making boundaries that were completely new to me. This was and still is hard for me. I had trained myself to accept any kind of punishment or attitude toward me. Not anymore, girl! Take control and lose the victim mentality. Others would tell me I had a really hard life and that was easy for anyone to see. Now I correct that- I have a very blessed life for which I am grateful. Things don’t happen to me – it all was working FOR me- in the hard times and the fun times- I was learning something! It turned my life completely around. I still have to practice this because my old habits rush in, but I am doing much better as a victim-free person who loves life and everything that comes with living. Lose the victim mentality- it will do your body and spirit some good.
This blog post was created during SHARK WEEK!