After going steady on and off for years with playing the victim role, somewhere along the way, Susan Jacobs took that relationship up a notch and became fully committed.
Truth be told, I sometimes really love to complain, whine, get sympathy, and be the center of attention. Sometimes I just want to be told what to do, not have to make any decisions on my own, and completely surrender all sense of responsibility. But that’s my wounded ego talking, the little girl that still haunts a part of my being, and not my evolved higher and wiser self. That may sound woo-woo-ish, but ladies, I think you know what I’m talking about.
We women too often give away our power, don’t trust our intuition, and end up in unhealthy relationships that are physically, verbally, or emotionally abusive. Imagine how it would feel if we would all unite and stand proud of who we are despite our perceived flaws that hold us back be it cellulite, muffin top, varicose veins, wrinkles, or whatever else we conjure up under the microscope of self-criticism. Probably would feel spectacular.
After going steady on and off for years with playing the victim role, somewhere along the way, I took that relationship up a notch and became fully committed. This was odd given that I’m a predominantly confident, strong, and intelligent woman who should have known better.
I was true blue to my victim-ness and wore it well. ‘Woo is me, if only he then I… If only this, then that… Why is this happening to me?’ was my ongoing internal dialogue, the mantra that I lived with for longer than I care to admit. Becoming comfortable, even complacent as a victim and learning how to manipulate situations to feed my victim hunger could have earned me an Oscar. I wasn’t happy and wasted a lot of time that finally culminated in a hard-slapping, crash-and-burn relationship where my victim skills had evolved to a new level worthy of a PhD. Although my heart continued to beat as I moved through my daily personal and professional responsibilities, I was detached, going through the motions of life while muffled by pain.
I believe we attract people into our lives at exactly the right time for very clear reasons. My knight-in-shining-dysfunctional-armor was in my life for 4 years, during which time I completely surrendered all facets of the woman I once was. It wasn’t pretty, but I was a great actor.
he ending was ugly and filled with drama, embarrassing and humiliating behavior, buckets of tears, and hitting rock bottom — the perfect environment to further host and up my victim game. My tale was filled with pain, deception, financial hardship, and betrayal – all juicy elements that call for sympathy. I was queen victim and very comfortable on my throne, playing weak and helpless for all who would listen.
I felt empty and was perpetually battling inner conflict, flip-flopping between shame, one of the all-time most awful emotions, and wanting revenge, to hurt my not-shining-knight as badly as he was hurting me. I came frighteningly close to crossing the line of no return, to doing something that I would never be able to take back or heal from.
Thankfully, my guardian angels that come in both human and non-human form protected me from acting impulsively.
Then one day, perhaps from divine intervention, the real bitch slap came via a text message from a friend that had heard my story ad nauseum. ‘Victims aren’t sexy.’ Those 3 words were transformative. No middle aged woman, or at least not this one, wants to hear that she’s not sexy. And so I filed for divorce from my role as a victim and the healing process began to unfold. It was some of the most painful self-realizations and forgiving that I’ve ever had to do, but well worth every second. The woman I once was had been chewed up and spit out. But over time I reclaimed my power and the carcass that I had become came back to life in full Technicolor glory.
Are you playing victim either consciously or unconsciously? Ask yourself these questions:
1. Do you believe you are powerless, out of control, that everything happens to you and you aren’t a willing participant?
2. Do you blame others for your current situation?
3. Are you continually saying ‘if this happens then everything will be different, better, and I’ll be happy, in love, rich, successful…’ you fill in the blanks…
4. Do you feel helpless and trapped with no way out?
5. Are you hungry to tell your story to anyone that will listen in order to get sympathy and validation that you’re right?
If you answered yes to any of the above, you’re likely in victim mode. Do you want to snap out of it? In addition to the text, a few days later I woke up and was finally pissed. I started beating my pillow and as in the movie Network I began yelling, ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.’ I realized there was nothing wrong with me except that I had given all my power over to a narcissistic asshole. I looked in the mirror and said ‘today’s the day I’m reclaiming my life.’ And that was the beginning of the next chapter. I kicked victim out of my life and haven’t looked back since.
I’m no therapist or coach, but from my personal experience, if the concept of not being sexy isn’t enough to motivate change and reclaim your power, and if you’re not yet mad enough, then perhaps try any or all of these suggestions:
- Get butt naked, stand in front of the mirror, and have an honest conversation with yourself about what you really want. Naked is required because you can’t hide from yourself
- Smile and say hello to strangers every day while commuting to work and see how feels
- Commit to a 30-day challenge of some sort – journaling, exercising, calling friend or family member every day – whatever it is, just stick to it and track the days
- Take some kind of pen to paper — play with crayons or magic markers – draw even if you suck at it, or write in a journal. But make something that is off the computer and cell phone
- Put post-its around your house with things that make you happy be it pretty pictures, something you want to buy, or inspirational words
But most of all, remember this is a process, be gentle with yourself, and know that the journey is as important as the destination.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
I accept that I’m a middle-aged woman and that the view from here is different. Still working on accepting being single at this point in time.
2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?
I appreciate that I’m a perpetual work-in-progress and some days my evolution is further along than others. Still working on accepting every single second of every single minute of every single hour of every single day, and on and on and on.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?
Rewarding: Walking away from a job and career that was sucking the life out of me. Pride: Saying yes and being fearless to embark on things I may not know anything about, but always know how to figure it out, connect the dots, and make it happen. Outstanding goals/dreams: An endless list that grows every day.
4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?
Being an out-of-the-box thinker and do-er, and non-conventional is imperfect to many but it’s who I am. Coming from entrepreneurial creative parents, my sister and I were exposed to so many odd things along the way that when we get together with our mom and track it, we scratch our heads understanding why we chose the paths that we did.
5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my sass, ability to laugh at myself and inspire others. I love my wit and mostly fast mind, and I love all that has been that got me to here.