People who thought they knew best drove me crazy when I was trying to be a victimized-know nothing-powerless-whiny-whining pants. They kept making it sound like I had some CONTROL over what happened to me. How annoying.
After about 3 months of therapy my therapist started doing this REALLY ANNOYING thing of reframing my sentences that started with My ex did and changed it to “I allowed my ex to…”
Me: “My ex abused me.”
T: “I allowed my ex to abuse me.”
Me: “My ex cheated on me/had inappropriate relationships(“friendships”) with other women.”
T: “I allowed my ex to cheat on me/have inappropriate relationships (“friendships”) with other women.”
Me: “My boyfriend takes advantage of me.”
T: “I allow my boyfriend to take advantage of me.”
Me: “My boyfriend owes me money.”
T: “I foolishly allowed my boyfriend to borrow money.”
ICK ICK ICK
She kept bringing it back to me.
How DARE she?????
One 12-step sponsor: “When you point your finger you have 4 fingers pointing back.”
Me: “Technically it’s 3 fingers and a thumb.”
Me: “I know semantics, semantics.”
Sponsor: “That’s not semantics. It’s some antics on your part that is obstructing your ability to LISTEN to what you need to hear.”
Another 12-step sponsor: “If you’re looking for sympathy, you’ll find it in the dictionary between shit and syphillis.”
Same person: “I don’t care what anyone else has done or are going to do. I only care about what you’re doing and that’s all YOU should care about and you’re not going to get better until you realize that.”
Same person yet again after I went through some 35 minute recitation of my weekend with loser boyfriend and what he did: “The only question is: is your side of the street clean?” It wasn’t but I was so not ready to admit that or even talk about it!!! Sheesh.
Same person yet again: “You’re not a victim; you’re a volunteer.”
Some random Al-Anon lady after a meeting where I shared about how many people had hurt me for so long: “You want to hand the world your pain and you can’t do that. YOU OWN IT and most people don’t care about it.”
My response to all of this was, usually, HHHRRRRUMPH followed by STOMP STOMP STOMP and internal thoughts of “Oh screw you.”
But eventually all of this started to influence me. I did stop saying “My boyfriend did this to me” and did say, “Holy crap! I allowed my boyfriend to do this to me..” and I did start realizing that the only one I could change was me.
When these things started to SINK IN TO MY THICK BRONX IRISH BRAIN things started to change.
I had to take back the power that I had given away to others. I had to stop waiting for the world to feel sorry for me and rescue me. (it wasn’t ever going to happen) and I had to stop allowing inappropriate behavior from people. It wasn’t what they were doing TO ME, it was what I allowed to be DONE.
Once I learned that by building my self-esteem, figuring out where my boundaries were and how to enforce them and, most of all, TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT HAPPENED TO ME, things changed.
I didn’t like the messages. I was NOT crazy about the way they were delivered.
But they saved my life.
And you really can’t find an issue with that.
Take back your power. It starts with taking responsibility not only for what you’ve done and are doing but for what you’ve allowed others to do.
Remember, it does not MATTER what they are doing, but what you’ve done and are doing.
Take back your power.
Live your life.
Start with YOU.