- think they are “weak?”
- surround themselves with people who either act like or think they are losers?
- blame everyone else for their situations and don’t take responsibility?
- let others control their destiny?
Here are the steps I took to rid myself of playing the victim once and for all.
Step 1 is to understand that strength comes from belief in self. Once we start to believe that we can accomplish a variety of tasks, that belief starts to come to us and that self-label of being weak dissipates.
Step 2 is distancing ourselves from losers – pick winners – people who make us feel better about ourselves when we are with them. The only reason we pick losers in the first place is that deep down we know we are better than they and actually feel superior to them – even when they are tearing us down!
Step 3 - Blaming other people is just avoiding responsibility – take responsibility for everything in your life. Own that responsibility. Realize that we are responsible for what happens to us. Face it; don’t avoid it. Meet life head on. Every time you blame someone else, turn it around and think what your responsibility is in what happened. It could range from what you did to set up the circumstance to how you let someone else set you up for the blame!
Step 4 - Don’t let anyone else make choices for you. Take responsibility for those choices! Deal with the outcome, no matter what. If it’s a mistake, correct it … it’s not making the mistakes that counts, only how we deal with the mistakes, correct them and move on that matters.
Other Symptoms of “Self-Victimization”
- Thinking we are unworthy of a better life.
- Always taking the easy way out.
- Living in a constant pity party or sad state.
Don’t make a choice because it’s easy. Gather all the information available to you and make the decisions that are reasonably going to have the best outcome for you and those you love. Don’t run away from the difficult choices you have to make.
And know that YOU define WHO you are – if you live in a sad state, you’ll remain there. You can surround yourself with pity and all that does is hold you back. How can you move forward with your life if all you do is feel sorry for yourself? For example, a friend of mine was in a tragic car accident and was disfigured. She examined how she had emphasized her self-worth as her beauty all her life. One she faced the fact that her outer beauty was gone, she began to face what she truly was about as a person – and that worth was what is inside her. From there she was able to build her life back – not emphasizing outer beauty but inner worth. And she’s a truly beautiful person.
More Concrete Examples
Let’s take me for instance. I was a fat kid with a controlling mother in a dysfunctional family. I went through all the childhood humiliation and trauma of having a hormonal imbalance that I eventually got under control. But because of it, I was obsessed with my appearance. I was attracted to the wrong kind of men. I was insecure and had no self-worth. Even when good men were attracted to me, I pushed them away in favor of the other type. I married an abusive alcoholic husband who raped me and almost murdered me. He took my son away from me, and after we were divorced I was so very fragile – exhibiting all of the symptoms I outlined previously. But the last time he abused me before I left him for good, something happened to me. I realized that I was the one that had gotten myself into this situation. I was the one keeping myself in this abusive cycle. I started to apply all the solutions that I talked about a little at a time. First, I gathered the courage to leave – no matter what the consequences. I didn’t have time to think every detail through. I got help from my father and just did it. I made a hard choice and stuck to it – it was my decision. I was controlling my destiny.
Then, I started by surrounding myself with winners. That’s how I met my husband Mark. He recognized what a damaged person I was and gave me a “safe place” to be with him. Mark was so consistent with me. He 1) always meant what he said; 2) did what he said he was going to do; 3) told me if something needed to change and why; 4) was even-tempered; 5) interjected laughter into my life to smooth out the rough times.
Next, because I felt safe, I could start to re-invent myself. It started with small things like going to a department store and actually making a choice on a piece of clothing in one or two minutes instead of the usual several hours it would take. I would give myself a time limit and make the decision. This helped me to overcome my insecure nature.
Or, instead of going to a party and sitting in a corner alone or only talking to people I knew, I would force myself to go up and talk to people I didn’t know. I started by asking them to tell me about themselves, and, naturally, we would both look for common grounds of interest. I joined associations that forced me to meet new people. This helped me to overcome my feeling of unworthiness and gain self-assurance.
Then, I started applying for jobs outside my comfort zone and getting them. I became a publisher. I had success with that. I started winning awards. Again, goes back to self-esteem.
And a little later on, because I thought I was a weak person; I decided to try riding horses. Riding horses takes a great deal of mental, emotional and physical strength. I started taking lessons and got good enough to ride competitively. I took every aspect and started applying it.
How Long Did Re-Invention Take?
I was 30 years old, and I started turning around as soon as I took these 3 action steps:
- When I pushed away losers and started surrounding myself with winners.
- When I started actively working to build my self-esteem.
- When I stopped blaming other people for my life and started taking responsibility for everything. I even take the blame when it is someone else’s fault to save a bad situation! I can’t tell you how many friends that makes for me!
What Do People who Love You Need to Know so They Can Help You?
Understand that this person is fragile and needs a safe space to recover. Be consistent with them. Provide rational, logical reactions and behavior to them. Give them small challenges, a little at a time to accomplish. Applaud and support their decisions and victories. Realize that they may be terrified to be held down or restrained in any way. With me, being held down or restrained took me immediately back to moments of rape and abuse. And best of all, just love them and tell them that you love them.
Can Everyone Survive Their Past?
Everyone has the ability to survive their past; they just need one tool and the conviction to do it. The tool is simply facing the past. Examine it, talk about it in great detail and then let it go. That’s what Tina Turner did. That’s what Oprah Winfrey did. That’s what I did. Here are some steps to take:
- Seek out a life coach, a therapist or an intelligent friend that you respect who has always given you good advice.
- Talk about the pain in your past – all the pain.
- Plan to do this over several sessions.
- Pour your heart out – cry, be angry. Don’t leave anything out.
- Once you have cleansed yourself of it – let it go – forget it. Realize that it should never control you.
- The final step for me was writing my memoir, Riding Through It.
Why Did I Write such a Candid Book about My Young Life?
I had a lot of encouragement to share my story from my family and my best friend. In many ways I felt that part of my purpose in this life was to share my story so that I could help other women – I believe there was divine inspiration going on. If I can help one other woman with this book, then it will have all been worth it. When we open ourselves up, bare our souls to other people, trust is established. If you trust someone, you will open up to them, and seek guidance and help. I hope I can be that inspiration for others.
Riding Through It Is Free on This Website
If my story is of interest to you, it is yours free. Simply go to http://www.carolmckibben.com/free-ebook.html.
Til Next Time!