From the desk of Crystal Andrus:
They find themselves in situation after situation where they feel stuck and disempowered. Whether, wishing their husband would be different—more helpful and attentive, their boss would respect and/or appreciate them more, or their children would notice all the wonderful things they do—these women have become victims of their own lives.
They aren’t necessarily undergoing extreme abuse or neglect and yet they feel so trapped—powerless, alone, and unimportant.
But there must be a pay-off, I insist.
Why would we do something over and over unless we were getting some kind of benefit?
I actually had one client ask me last week: “Well, how can I still be a victim and be empowered? I mean victims are the compassionate, kind people of the world.”
I was speechless. Truly … speechless and that’s rare for me!
I quickly grabbed my dictionary and read the definition of victim to her:
- a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency: a victim of an automobile accident.
- a person who is deceived or cheated, as by his or her own emotions or ignorance, by the dishonesty of others, or by some impersonal agency: a victim of misplaced confidence; the victim of a swindler; a victim of an optical illusion.
- a person or animal sacrificed or regarded as sacrificed: war victims.
Why would she want to be a victim?
You may think its noble or even saintly to be a martyr—to endure great suffering in order to show the world—even just your husband, children, or parents—that you are willing to give up yourself for someone else’s happiness or needs, but it’s not!
As Marianne Williamson wrote so eloquently in A Return to Love:
“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.”
So, is that what my client meant when she said she wanted to be both a victim and empowered? Is that her pay-off? “Shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around her? Being a victim so that she doesn’t have to play big in the world? So she doesn’t have to be accountable for her own life? So she doesn’t shine?”
Maybe “shining” scares her? Maybe that’s the pay-off: Self-abnegation. We want people to like us and we’re afraid they won’t if we’re too wonderful. But we’re so deep in denial that we can’t see that no one has done this to us. We’ve done it to ourselves!
What most women don’t realize is that they have become both the victim and victimizer in their own life! They are deceiving themselves … cheating themselves by their own emotions. They are robbing themselves of their own happiness, success, joy and self-love, while they wait for someone to notice their pain, recognize how wonderful they are, and step up and save them.
Women … we have to wake up!
No one is coming to save us!
Women – there is nothing enlightened about giving up your own needs, wants, and desires in the hopes of making someone else feel better about themselves. We’re actually hurting the people in our lives—making them responsible for our happiness, confidence, self-esteem, needs, and dreams.
No one can make you feel beautiful … No one can make you feel fabulous … No one can make you believe in yourself … if you don’t!
Switching from the embodiment of victimhood to WOMANhood takes time and is a process. The starting point is recognizing that if you are blaming, complaining, mopping around, pointing the finger, waiting and wishing for someone to help you—you are a victim (to a circumstance or person in your life). You may not be a victim to everyone and everything but in this situation—you are a victim. Simple.
You may not even see it right now.
But I promise you that as much as there is a pay-off (you get to have people feel sorry for you), it is temporary and paltry. Besides, people won’t stick around for long before they realize this has become your drama—your way of trying to gain control; unconsciously sucking energy from others instead of realizing that only you can climb the empowerment ladder in your own life.
I’ll say it one more time: Women … we have to wake up!
Once you realize that you’ve become a victim, I encourage you to make a list of everyone you’re still blaming. Then write each and every one of them a letter using the “voice” of your wounded spirit. Give power to your pain. Tell them how they’ve hurt you, neglected you, betrayed you, or abused you. Give yourself permission to grieve what could’ve been and should’ve been.
Write it all!
Every. Last. Feeling.
Every. Last. Thought.
And then share your letters with someone who you trust and respect.
Once you’ve really “felt it”—once you’ve named it, claimed it, and grieved it—burn the letters.
YOU MUST BURN THE LETTERS for this to work!
Watch your words lose their power as they go up in smoke. Ask God, the Universe, angels, your spirit guides—whatever you believe—to transmute that pain back into love. God can handle the burdens. You don’t have to.
Say good-bye to the stories of your life. Decide to make these stories your history. Decide that you will not repeat them anymore. Ever.
Decide that you are done blaming. Done.
Finally, make a new list. Write down everything you’ve learned from these people; every gift—even if it’s just to learn how to forgive.
When you find yourself going back to the old stories, remind yourself of the silver lining behind every one of your darkest clouds. Realize that you always have a choice. And not making one is still making one.
Focus on where you’re going and who you’re becoming: Strong, confident, happy, beautiful, courageous, and completely empowered!
Here’s to you, girlfriend!