We Get To Choose Our Thoughts, Feelings, and Responses to Abuse …

Mental Abuse: The Pizza Sessions
Creative Commons License photo credit: Otto Yamamoto

To move out of victim consciousness means to understand that no matter what an abuser does to us, we ALWAYS GET TO CHOOSE how we think, and feel about it. What we do with what happens to us is something no one can take from us. We can choose how to see the painful, abusive things we experience and we get to choose how we will respond … and THAT, my friend, makes ALL the difference in our internal state of mind.

Our perpetrators do not get to determine our emotional well being. Do what they will, for whatever their reasons are – which ALWAYS has more to do with THEM than us – they can never touch who we ARE  – unless we give them that privilege … and just WHY would we give them such power over us?! Why would we allow someone else to determine the quality of our inner peace of mind?

We certainly don't have to give anyone the right to dictate our life responses and outcomes – we can choose to take power over our own thoughts instead. That is what moving out of victim consciousness is all about.

To see ourself as a victim is to think negative, or low-frequency, thoughts; for instance, to believe thoughts like, “I am irreparably damaged, or deeply wounded by what they did to me.” Or more common perhaps, is such thoughts as, “I can never be happy as long as they mistreat me …” which means that I must now assert my power to control THEIR responses – and often ends up with me looking and acting just like them!

Such thoughts generate feelings of hurt, anger, resentment, fear, and powerlessness, which in turn prompt us to act defensively, so that we actually end up reacting in ways that perpetuate the abuse, rather than deter it! What lies at the heart of this matter is our relationship – not with them – but with ourselves! In other words, the way they mistreat us shows us how we mistreat ourselves – the negative things they say out loud to us are very similar to the kinds of things we often say to ourselves internally. We are the ones who truly mistreat us – they simply reflect to us how!

For instance, if we believe that we are unlovable, we tend to see and feel unlovable and then we act in ways that prove just how unlovable we are! We attract and are attracted to others who reinforce that painful belief for us in the ways they treat us – which probably looks a lot like what we grew up with – not that this is how we WANT to be treated, mind you, it's just that it's what, on some level, what we believe we must tolerate – perhaps it's all we believe we deserve!

When others mistreat us, it provides us with evidence that supports our belief in just how unlovable we are. We think it's them that makes us feel so bad about ourselves – failing to see that we unconsciously searched until we found the very person who could show us most visibly the exact nature of our relationship with ourselves and life.  In other words, they, whether they know it or not, play an important role in our journey to consciousness … and especially the particularly abusive ones, for they serve to show us the life reducing thoughts and beliefs we carry that are standing in the way of a greater relationship with ourselves and the Universe.

You might call this dance between the abuser and the abused as having this “sacred” function  – not that I'm advocating that we tolerate abuse! Not at all!  – simply recognizing that even abuse has something to offer us; it teaches us through horrendous emotional pain in a way that, chances are may well be the only way we might ever discover our own abusive relationship with ourselves.

With growth and consciousness, we come to look at the way they act to us as fingers pointing inward to how we treat ourselves in similar fashion, allowing us to refine our interaction with ourselves.  As a result, we become increasingly kind, responding more often in ways that are then reflected back to us in kindness, compassion, understanding, and forgiveness from others.

This does not mean we tolerate abuse, remember. After all where is the kindness to ourselves (or them) in that? No, we may find ourselves moving on – but not from a place of feeling beat up and victimized by … but from a place instead,  that says, “I have grown from this relationship and am grateful for all I learned about relating to myself and to others – and now I move on because I am ready for a kinder relationship. With all of my heart, and sincerest of intensions, I wish you well. ”

And it you are not ready to move on … then perhaps it's because there is still so much to learn from being there … Observe, question, find in yourself what you judge in them, and forgive you – and them … and watch the changes that occur as a result!


One Response

  1. I have a sister that surprised me with a comment about our dysfuntional family when I told her that her behavior was unacceptable. She used it as part of rationalization, which brought the surprise.

    We’re children of a alcoholic parents, which caused a wealth of problems in my life and my relationship with my wife. I had some professional help, and the goal to change my thoughts, when I had an epiphany that the misery I felt was my fault only. I thought may sister had made this step, which is probably what led to the surprise. It hurts to place boundaries, but sometimes they’re more than necessary.

    Anyway, your post really touched my heart. It’s hard to describe the relief and freedom that’s possible with only a wish. In my case, I was my worse enemy because I accepted victimhood. Probably the most abuse in my life was self-inflicted and unecessary.

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