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????? So annoying.
One 12-step sponsor: “When you point your finger at someone else 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.
So freaking annoying.
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.”
Now random annoying people? What. the. hell?
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 realized that even though the words sounded harsh – including “Stop being an idiot” – they were said by people who actually cared about me and were going out of their way to give me advice/direction/guidance. They didn’t have to. They owed me nothing. They didn’t have to care enough to say tough things to me. They didn’t have to take time out of their day to try to penetrate my thick skull. They didn’t have to do any of that. They did it because they wanted me to take responsibility for my own behavior, my own lack of boundaries, my own lack of standards, my own continued failure to take care of myself. Because then AND ONLY THEN would the hurt stop. Then and only then would I realize I was in charge of my destiny and I was the only one who could do anything about it.
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.
I did not have to wait around for people to start treating me right because the people I was picking were NEVER going to treat me right. I did not have to keep whining about the stuff that other people did. I actually had the power to move away from the people who did it.
I had to stop being surprised by the same old thing.
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.
Look, I know I’m a person who a lot of shitty things have happened to that I had ZERO control over. Life is like that. Some of us get much rawer deals than others. But, two things:
1) I can’t control what was done to me but I can control what I do about it and what I allow from here on in and
2) Let’s be real about this. I’m not a starving child in Somalia. I’m not a woman being beheaded somewhere in the world because some guy looked at her and now she’s a disgrace to her family. I’m not living on the streets of Haiti with no house, no job, no future and no hope. I’m not the woman in Connecticut who lost both of her parents and all of her children in a house fire on Christmas Eve. I’m NOT any of those people and all of that stuff is MUCH WORSE than anything that has ever happened to me.
Yes I’ve had tragedy, crap that made my life much harder and blah blah blah. I grieve it, I acknowledge it, and I work through it. But let’s be real here: if I’m in control of not being miserable, why woudn’t I take that control?
The only reason I didn’t, for so many years, is that I didn’t know how. But then I learned. And I’m passing that on.
The tough love inherent here and in the books is what I know. If it’s too “harsh” for you, there are plenty less direct methods and people out there. I even have a YouTube video called “Stop Being An Idiot.” Yes, I teach what I know. I teach what worked for me and for hundreds of clients over the past 25 years. If it’s TOO MUCH FOR YOU, find another way to do it. Or keep doing what hurt you. But this is what I offer, what this group offers and what works….whether it’s harsh or not…it works.
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.