It’s a heavy topic, but it’s been on my mind for several weeks. There are a few reasons adults play the victim role such as: it gets them attention, it gets someone to feel sorry for them, it allows them to manipulate the situations and feel in control. Somewhere along the way, perhaps in childhood or with someone in their life, they found this role comfortable and acceptable. They are especially clever at using this role to create a situation, blame someone else, never say they are sorry, and then get people to be “on their side.” It’s a victory for them.
The way I deal with adults like this is the same way I deal with a child. I don’t give in to their tactics and I point out where they are wrong with logic and if necessary, scripture. Sometimes no response is the best response and to carry on with your life. Really, if you have someone in your group, crew, circle, church that is a “master” at playing the victim they need the Master to makeover them over. They need to master their feelings. People who play the victim want you to be responsible for their feelings. They need to be responsible for their feelings!
Why with love? These people are wounded and they have become accustomed to a false sense of power. Playing the role of the victim for your entire life, or whenever it is necessary is a weak position that renders you no real power. Real power comes from:
accepting when you are wrong
healing the wounds of the past
dealing with your feelings maturely
asking for forgiveness for your lies and games
not needing attention from negativity or period to feel important, to validate your opinion or your feelings
accepting that things do not have to go your way
living from a position of honesty and truth is power
Some of us grew up in loving and caring environments and some of us did not. Some of us grew up in loving and caring environments that were flawed on some level. Sometimes deeply flawed or sometimes tumultuous depending on the problems the parent or parents had. It could have been an ill parent, an unfaithful parent, it could have been arguing all the time, or the parent could be one that came and went. Today I want to speak to those that grew up with the Critic Parent. The one that ALWAYS had something negative to say or critiqued everything you did or every choice you made.
I grew up with one. Every choice you made, there was a better one. When you did your chores, there was always something you could have did better or forgot. When you did things to try to impress that parent, they were not all that impressed. Each time you did your hair or got dressed, they would frown up at your attire or choice and I am not talking about the typical parent-child disagreement about clothes and hair. This is beyond that. This is a tear down of the child. A ripping of their power to make choices and to feel good about their choices and themselves. All of this is about that and the child needing to be supported, guided, and free to be an individual. I felt singled out from all of my siblings. The boys in the family didn’t have this problem, but the only sister I had said she would experience it from time to time, but as soon as she was able to she left the house.
The constant stares, criticism, correction, and questioning of everything I did, said, or chose literally destroyed my self esteem. I was already an outsider with my red hair as an African American child, my brainy self, my extreme shyness, and artys personality. I wasn’t accepted in many circles and to be home and not accepted was traumatic to my sensitive soul. Did you know, that those who are artists and creative types have a spectrum on the emotional scale as more sensitive than normal and that can swing to more depressed than normal? I had no idea until I started seeing a psychologist. My mother always said “If you just look at me, I would start crying.” I wonder if she created that insecurity within me or fostered it. I don’t know.
I second guess everything I did, said, and every choice I made as a young adult. It caused me to be paralyzed with fear. I had no confidence. If this is normal mines was twice as bad. Even after choices were made I worried that I was wrong, I didn’t know what I was doing, there you go again…not getting it right. I was surprised when things worked out. An even then, I was not sure that things would be okay.
Many things contributed to my bouts of depression and need to want to escape this world by suicide. I know this was one of them. I equated a wrong choice in anything I did as a reflection of how I could never and would never get it right. Even the simplest things. I was beyond self conscious and not just in the way I look, but in the work I did. Even now I have to say “Hey, it’s good enough. You did your best.” I also had to learn to not do what was did to me to others and when I had my daughter, I vowed to not utilize that aspect of my parent. I did take all of the good from that parent, which was a lot, and use it.
I believe there are many reasons a parent does this. I think we expect parents to be perfect or to know better, but the truth is they are not perfect and they do not know “how to” always do better. Hurting people hurt other people. When we are children we don’t know or think about the fact our parents have lived some type of life before us and has experienced some type of childhood…both of these things either good, bad, or traumatic. These things have an effect on the parent as a child, as an adult, and as your parent. Many hurt parents have know idea of the psychological effects of their behavior on their children and we grow up to think many of the things we experienced were normal and acceptable until we meet other children and other adults. If you can’t recognize the signs of your behavior as detrimental to the shaping of the child, then you as the parent continue to do what you do. The generation before me were not privy to psychology or child psychology. They were too busy trying to make a living. The way they dealt with things were to not talk about them. But, guess what? Buried feelings and events of our lives are still alive if they are not dead. However, we as the children who grew up in some sort of tainted or warped environment, now have the privilege of that knowledge that we may be better parents and better human beings. We also have the work of healing ourselves from these scars.
I am now realizing that I survived by learning through trial and error, my commitment to not repeat those mistakes by taking different actions, some education about parenting, my relationship with God, the wisdom of the Spirit, other wise souls, and yes, therapy. I survived by accepting the relationship I have with that parent, sometimes calling them on their behavior and holding them accountable, and other times letting it go. I survived by releasing my anger and hurt. I survived with knowledge of the effects of trauma on people who never admit or talk about what’s really going on, but instead choose to respond with some outward action or to remain silent and bottled up.
However, for this leg of my journey at 42, I am here to be liberated this year and to be legendary in my doings. I need to THRIVE and not just survive. I thrive by forgiving and by forgiving I am free (liberated). I thrive by realizing that parent may never seek counseling, deliverance, or healing, but my choice to not feed into it or to have some compassion for the hurt child inside that parent, is liberating my emotions to choose happiness even if they are miserable. And all of that is a legendary step for my soul’s journey.
This week I battled a robin that wanted to build her nest on the rafters of my carport. When I first saw the formation of the nest, I knew it had to come down before it was complete. So, the maintenance guy got it down. The reason that it could not be built there is because if the bird lays eggs it’s illegal to remove the nest and if it builds it where I park my car my daughter and I would be in danger of an attack from a bird protecting her young. And I guess you can say, I was protecting my young as well. It was sort of a woman to bird, mother to mother, type of situation.
Within an hour she was back building again. I was back to stop her. This went on for hours. The night came and when I woke up the next morning…she had started again. We went at it for about an hour and a half. I realized as my arms begin to hurt and my shoulder swelled, I couldn’t keep doing this but, I couldn’t let her build there. Also, the stress elevated my blood pressure. At physical therapy, the PT said “Hey I had that happen to me. I read up on it just like you and I put a plastic owl where the bird wanted to build and it never came back.” So, I thought about the creepy owl I bought for winter decor and when I got home I put it in the rafters. Since Friday, I have not seen the bird. I pray she has found somewhere to build and lay her eggs. I am assured by the wisdom of Matthew in the Bible: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them…”
When it comes to problems in our lives, whether it be an illness that turns your life upside down or financial choices, a work situation or a life situation, somewhere in the daunting task of persistence there is a solution. There is a happy medium. There is a method to the madness. And as I trudge through one of the most difficult times of my life, if God takes care of the birds of the air, feeds them and clothes the flowers of the field…how much more will he take care of us? Our angels sends advice, we look up a solution, we try different things, we realize what is not working and soon the solution surfaces. The outcome may not always be what we want at the time, a temporary solution until the a permanent one arises.
She said “I do love myself. I get my hair done, I get my nails done, I take myself out to nice places, you know, I treat myself.” Yet, she continues in a job she hates, she moves from man to man, she allows the mistreatment of her heart, mind, and body. She is unfulfilled spiritually and goes through the motions as a single parent. Question: Has it ever occurred to you that loving yourself goes DEEPER than an hour long mani and pedi? Beyond expensive purses and exotic trips?
Those things are surface and fine. However, I urge you to search for a deeper love of self that involves self worth, self esteem building and fulfilling your destiny. I urge to a deeper connection to being in the present moment with your child/children if you are single parent. I urge you to a commitment to living in the now. Seek healing from the past wounds. Discover what is you want, need and desires in a relationship and don’t accept anything less that God given. Define what a healthy relationship to you. What are your values and your morals and grow your roots in them. Take care of your body via exercise and healthier choices. Invest in quality time with the religion you have chosen. TREAT YOURSELF to a JOYFUL, expanding life and not fleeting happiness or relationships (friendships or “workships”) that are everything you DON’T desire.
There is a song that comes to mind by a legendary group named Maze (Frankie Beverly and Maze), with a chorus that says “After the morning after, and after the night before, when all of the fun is over, will you still want me anymore?” Now, I am a bit of a realest when it comes to being single, my past-present-NOW in that area, how much I share is at my discretion, and if I feel it will help you I will share and be honest.
We live in a world where one night stands and false promises of “let’s see” how things go AFTER you give a man your body run rampant. Often ending in no relationships, but just relations. I know to some your body, your sex, may be nothing to give away at all. It’s nothing but a roll in the hay for the liberated woman and I am so fine with that for you. However, for those of us that simply want more, well, we value our bodies in a different way. We don’t want to lay down with ANY body or EVERY body to “fulfill” the pleasure of the body and to wake up the next morning still “feeling” the want for something much more and something long lasting. There is no greater relief than avoiding the octopus arms and charms of a man and to find out a few weeks later he wasn’t all that interesting or interested in you. He was only after one thing. The calls dwindle. The conversations lulls. The avoidance is obvious. And you say to yourself, “Whew! Dodged a bullet!”
The temptation to give in when what you really want is more than a roll in the hay, what you really want is a serious relationship, what you really want is a lifetime, is the vicious cycle of being in the moment and waking up to an awful feeling. I’d rather get to know the person FIRST. I don’t want to take a chance with my body or my emotions too soon. I am fine with that meaning I am picky about who I want to sleep with. I am fine with that meaning I may not be his chosen one because I didn’t give up the goods sooner rather than later. I am fine if that is labeled as old fashioned. I just want others who feel that way to be fine with it, too and to know there are other women who are not so liberated in that area with their bodies or emotions.
When I first saw this, I thought to myself, I can relate. I never cared for the hoax of “I am single and I 100% enjoy it, 100% of the time, and I never ever have lonely moments or times when I want to through in the towel” type of single people. Or the “Sure, I get lonely, but you’ll never know it” type. I like real single people with ups and downs. I like real single people that can encourage, but say hey, I had a bad day, week, month. I like single people like me!
The other night, I don’t know what came over me. I was thinking way too much and feeling way too much. I said, “You know what? I give up! I’m never going to find someone or someone will never find me. This is taking forever! Just forget it!” I turned off the computer and I went to bed. All kinds of crazy thoughts bombarded me. I kept telling myself, I had the ability to respond to this situation….so respond. It took me some time to pull my disheveled emotions together.
“Okay, what is the root of this madness?”
You have to answer yourself honestly to get to the root. SO I went through some BS answers and got to the root…”You’re lonely. Things are not working out with the guys you are coming across, you are tired. You are upset.”
Now, “Do you want to just continue the self destructive talk and talk about this in the morning or do you want to try to handle it now?”
I chose now because I needed some sleep.
1. Deal with the self destructive talk. Are these things true about myself that I am saying? Are these things that I am spewing about myself coming from insecurity, frustration, or has someone said those things to me in the past? If so, is that person relevant now? If it is true I can fix it. If it’s not true then what is true? Speak those things about myself! (I did!I started feeling better instantly. But, I had to come out of that place of frustration).
2. Breathe. No really. Three deep breaths. Yoga. Breaths for clearing.
3. Now, reassess. “You’re having a meltdown. A single’s temper tantrum.You want what you want and you want it yesterday. It’s not happening now. It’s like 10:45 P.M. and you’re home in the bed. It may happen tomorrow. You should give up! You should give up for the night and get some rest. You should give up trying to make something happen before it’s time, AGAIN. You can’t force it. If you did, it wouldn’t last or you would be miserable forever. So, you know none of that stuff you said about you is true. Reaffrim the good things, the good qualities…and chill.” Then I prayed. And that was it! (still had to settle in).
Look, some of us will never be the poster child for the strong confident single woman/man. It’s too much pressure for me. 95% of the time, use to be about 50%, then it kept rising as I kept learning, I am okay. Other times, not so much. I don’t mind. It makes me reachable and relatable and I love to encourage others from a realistic point of view.