Friday, June 26, 2009

From Victim to Victory

Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that I am a fan of feeling the pain. Go in it, dig in it, rub it all over your body, cry, writhe, scream, act a total fool and get it out. We've often kept quiet too long. We've hid our true sadness, masked our real anger, and been scared frozen of our own grief. For crying out loud (no pun intended) FEEL it. This is my mantra.

I don't really know exactly how long this process takes. From my own experience and walking with many clients through pain and grief, there seems to be a peak when the pain is at its worst, then it starts to recede and we're able to move. At times it is so painful we try to escape it through overeating, living out a rescue fantasy with a crazy partner, drugs, depression, work, whatever will distract! Then we'll go back to the pain until it is unbearable and start the escape process again. Working through pain is very messy. It is filled with stops, starts, and lots of damage done at times to our relationships while lashing out or completely withdrawing. There are sometimes periods where our work and family lives are put on hold while it takes every ounce of physical and emotional energy just to put one foot in front of the other for one more day. Nonetheless, we do make it through one more day.

The whole point is that eventually this does end. This horrible suffering is endured. Yes, it is. It is endured and it begins to recede. Unfortunately, I see people all the time who never seem to find this end. There are many reasons why this might happen. Sometimes people become stuck because they do not have the external resources to move forward. That is, they do not have social supports, positive relationships, or they continue to experience unfortunate life circumstances they set them back. Another reason people may become stuck is due to lack of internal resources. This is when a person may be fully willing to begin rebuilding a positive new life and they have no clue where to start. For these folks, there are little to no positive or helpful thoughts embedded anywhere in their brain that can be accessed during this time.

I believe a third possible reason people get stuck is they have adopted the VICTIM ROLE and are very hesitant to give it up. Being a victim actually feels good in some sense. When we are the victim, we can blame someone else for being the "bad" person. Look what he/she did to me! Being the victim requires little effort. We can just lie there, cry, and receive lots of comfort and empathy from people. This feels good and we do need that continually throughout our lives. Ultimately, however, we get up from our bed of ashes, take off the sackcloth, and decide it is time to take responsibility. When we stop identifying ourselves as the victim, we are forced to live life looking not at what people do TO us but rather to look at what are WE doing for ourselves. Frankly, sometimes we are just too lazy and/or scared to tackle this.

I have been a victim many times throughout my life. I grieve these episodes and validate them. I acknowledge the reality of what happened and the depth of the pain it caused. I gained a sense of self-acceptance and even self-worth by allowing myself the space to do that. What naturally grows from this is that self-love propels you into action. Yes, I have been hurt, and I am feeling strong enough now that I want to rise above it. I am nobody's victim today. I have not forgotten the past but I don't recreate it today. I don't even really need to talk about it today. My eyes are on the future and creating a great life for myself.

Jesus asked a crippled man, "Do you want to get well?" This man had sat by a pool of healing waters for years complaining that no one would help him into the pool. Essentially, Jesus said, "If you really want to get better, then GET UP."

If you are in your 10th year of grieving, cannot enjoy life, and are not sure why... well, gather your wonderful self together, organize your external and internal resources, and GET UP!

Photo above found at:

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