Hurting people hurt.
How you treat others (your parents, your siblings, the check-out lady at the grocery store, the librarian, your child’s sports coach) says everything about how you feel about yourself and nothing about the other person. Think about that for a minute. Are you condescending with the wait staff at the restaurant? Are you impatient with the grocery store clerk? Are you judgemental of the homeless people on the street corner? Are you short tempered with your children? All of these interactions reflect directly upon ourselves and how we see ourselves. Some days I don’t like that mirror very much.
I believe that people who behave as victims look for ways (but it’s buried beneath the surface of their consciousness so far that they’re not even aware of it, it just becomes a part of who they are) to be offended and hurt by others, and therefor perpetuate the self-fulfilling prophecy that people don’t want to like them, be nice to them, etc….So when something happens in a relationship and that other person isn’t available to them like they think they should be, it feels to a professional victim like the other person doesn’t like them, or is blowing them off, and they instantly become thoroughly and deeply offended. Victims fail to see that other people have lives also and that often their lives are abundantly complex.
I believe God puts professional victims in our lives not to frustrate us or to hurt us (although we inevitably get hurt because of the emotional proximity to them), but to show us that if we live the life He has for us, a life laid out in His Word, filled with victory (and challenges), we can actually CHOOSE every minute of everyday whether to be a victim or not.
I believe that blaming someone for your lack of stepping forward in a relationship and being the best friend, sister, brother, father, mother, etc…. that you can be, is very passive aggressive. I haven’t read anywhere in the Bible yet where God says the path to true joy and fulfillment is blaming others because your relationship with so-and-so isn’t what you want it to be. I also haven’t read anywhere where it says that you give up on an important God-given relationship (mother, father, brother, sister, husband, wife) because there are hurt feelings and misunderstandings. (I’m not talking about criminal, abusive or addiction-based relationships here, I’m talking about a misunderstanding that goes unresolved and then takes on a life of its own)
I believe that if you were raised in a dysfunctional family you will repeat those patterns over and over in your adult life unless you choose to go into a 12 step recovery program (or something similar that also follows the same spiritual principles found over and over in the Bible) and work those steps every day. If you never deal with the initial woundings that happened early in your development, you will repeat unhealthy, and yet very familiar patterns over and over and over because you are desperately seeking to make the pain go away. Only God can heal our wounds, He often does it THROUGH recovery based programs, both Christian and secular, and most of the time it takes longer than we can possibly imagine. But God IS faithful and He DOES heal us when we trust Him to the best of our abilities.
I believe that handing someone over to the care of God as you understand Him, is a daily, no, a minute-to-minute process. It’s not a one-time thing. The part of you that craves healing will CONSTANTLY (especially at the beginning of your healing process) bring that person who wronged you to the forefront of your mind so you can pick up the offense again and carry it around like a 50lb back pack. At this point you have to be really careful with whom you associate. Don’t seek out other victims or they’ll just feed your flesh’s desire for pity. Notice I didn’t say or imply that the offense wasn’t real. People truly wound us deeply, and those who are in a position to be closest to us (brother, sister, father, mother, husband, wife) often times do it for years and years. And they may continue in their hurtful patterns of behavior, but if we stop acting like victims, we soon see that we have choices in how we respond to these people.
I believe that God wants us to do everything in our power to make our interpersonal relationships healthy, but if the other person is toxic and refuses to take responsibility for their role in whatever has happened between you, it’s okay to walk away.
How do you see yourself? For longer than I want to admit, I wasted my precious emotional energy and potential because I camped out on Wounded Peak. It was blustery, cold and solitary, and I lied to myself thinking I was going to stay warm with the knowledge that I was RIGHT; that person HAD intentionally and repeatedly hurt me (and they had). The worst part was, I was foolish enough to think that all of my bottled up pain and anger would somehow make them feel bad enough to beg me for forgiveness and I would finally have the relationship that I had craved, that I was entitled to, all my life. Ya, not so much.
Thank goodness I finally exhausted myself and chose to breathe oxygen instead. I had to learn how to do that by surrounding myself with people who were living happy, joyous and free with the knowledge that their Creator had made them with purpose and that they weren’t failures or damaged goods. All this was very foreign to me because I was so used to breathing the toxic air of victimization. But I came to know this truth for myself: That I’m not responsible for someone else’s health, happiness or well being.
Wherever you find yourself today, I hope you look in the mirror and say out loud, “I am a worthwhile and good person. I’ve been created with a special purpose. I am not a victim. Everyday I can choose how I’m going to respond to each and every situation. I am an over-comer”, and then go surround yourself with positive, life-giving people who encourage you to be the best you can be.