You Are Not A Victim; You Are Making A Choice
Often I hear from clients who are in painful situations that they are not ready to leave. They feel powerless but they are not. And this is what I show them. They are in the situation because something they value in the situation outweighs the pain of the situation. When I point this out they find what it is that they value and they feel empowered. They realize that nothing is being done to them; they are at choice.
Here are some examples. (These are generic and not from any client’s specific story):
Bob’s boss, Teri, finds reasons to blame Bob for things that go wrong even when Bob is not responsible. Bob has examined his own behavior in each situation and taken responsibility where it is appropriate. But he’s also learned from other employees who have worked for Teri longer than Bob has that Teri always finds a scapegoat. And now it is Bob. Bob is unhappy and feels powerless. But he doesn’t leave because he needs the income and he has no other job prospects. When it is pointed out to him that he chooses to stay because his desire for the income outweighs the pain of staying Bob feels better. Whenever he is tempted to feel like a victim he reminds himself that he is making a choice and why he is making that choice. This make him feel empowered and he finds he is able to push back in a charge-neutral way when Teri blames him for mistakes that are not his. This has made his job less stressful.
Janelle’s Aunt Betty is a bitter, complaining woman who is never satisfied and never grateful. Betty is elderly and needs a lot of assistance around the home and with errand-running and doctor visits. Janelle is the one in the family who has the time to take care of Betty but she resents this. Betty is very hard to be around. When asked why she takes care of Betty, Janelle thinks about it and says it is because family is important to her. She also does not want to have any regrets when Betty is gone. She wants to be able to look at herself as a “good niece”. It is pointed out to Janelle that she takes care of Betty for herself. After recognizing this, when she is tempted to feel like a victim, Janelle is able to remind herself, “I am doing this for myself. I am doing this because family, no matter how obnoxious, is important to me. I am doing this so that I don’t have regrets later.” She has shifted to feeling empowered about taking care of Betty. Feeling empowered she has also found compassion for Betty, who Janelle now realizes is just a frightened old lady. She still does not enjoy taking care of Betty but she no longer feels powerless.
Krista is unhappy in her marriage to Mark. He is selfish and distant and has no interest in learning and growing to make their marriage better. When asked why she stays she says that if she leaves him her income will be enough to live on but her lifestyle will be greatly reduced. Wavering between staying and leaving has been a very close thing. Until now maintaining her lifestyle only just outweighed the pain of staying in the relationship. When she sees that staying is her choice based on her values she realizes she is not a victim. She comes to the realization that her fear of a lifestyle change is really not greater than the pain of staying in a dead-end relationship. She feels empowered to make the choice to leave.
In any situation in which you are unhappy you are always at choice. The power is yours. You stay because the pain (fear and/or practical considerations) of leaving outweighs the pain of staying. Be honest with yourself. Find what it is that you value more than what you would gain by leaving. Then you will understand your choice, accept it, and feel empowered. Or you will find that what you thought you valued is not really worth more than what you expect to gain by leaving the situation and you will be empowered to act.
(By the way, you can apply this to the question, “Why do I keep going back to ego?” You go back because you think it has something of value for you. You are not a victim of the ego; you are the one making the choice. When you learn that Truth is more valuable you will stop choosing ego.)
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