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Posts Tagged ‘victim’

Abuse

Early emotional and psychological abuse taught me how to be a victim. And I became an expert at it.

I sought out abusers, and when none were available I played dual roles in a schizophrenic dance of self-abuse.

I’m learning now that my relationship with myself is where all others take their cue. Only as I learn to stop the self-abuse do I become free of the abuse of others.

Which is beautiful, because my relationship with myself is also the only relationship I have any real control over anyway.

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Today is a new year and a continuation of my practice from yesterday.

I’ve been paying attention to how I’m reacting to yesterday’s plumbing mishap. What I realized is that it only seems like I’m reacting to it. But the time to react is when it’s actually happening. The thinking about it, the wondering how the conversation with the building property manager will go tomorrow, the worry that the carpet will stink from now on, the feelings of embarrassment about the situation–all of that is not a reaction to the situation. The reaction happened yesterday.

I am using the situation at this point, not reacting to it.

I use it for sympathy when I tell some people about it. I use it for humor when I tell others about it. I use it to reinforce my “poor me” victim story. And I use it to reinforce my empowering hero-overcoming-obstacles story.

I remember writing once that there are only a few reasons why people reference the past: to learn a lesson, to use it for positive effect (recall information, boost motivation, etc.), or to use it for negative effect (to beat up on yourself). Today I feel like that conceptual understanding of the past as something we use has clicked for me on an experiential level.

Another choice is to let go of the past, to not use it for anything. And there were times today when I did that, too.

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Source of inspiration: Plumbing mishap

So the year ends on an exciting note. A pipe cracked underneath my kitchen sink this morning. Water shot everywhere.

I panicked, of course. 🙂 But only for a moment.

Sitting there with my finger in the pipe–my tiny finger against the full pressure of the four stories above me–I did not know what to do. There was no way for me to shut off the water. And I could not think of a way to plug the hole so that I could contact Maintenance. I had two choices: sit there with my finger in the hole for a few days until someone came looking for me; or let the water pour out and flood the apartment while I ran to get help.

I took a breath, and I made my choice. And out the water poured. Into the hallway, into the living room, and it even made it all the way around the corner into the bathroom.

One thing I learned: most people in apartments do not answer knocks on their doors.

I was able to find one person who reluctantly agreed to help, and I went back to plug the hole with my finger. The maintenance man showed up (I don’t know if my helper found him or he just saw water pouring down somewhere and came to investigate), and he shut off the water to my floor.

As I write this, he is out getting what he needs to repair the broken pipe.

I can feel different forces within in me. One wants to blame me and show me all the mistakes I made that led to this situation. Another wants to create a story and lie about what happened to avoid consequences and embarrassment. Another wants to dwell on the victim story of “Why does this always happen to me?”

And then there’s a relatively new force that I notice in me. The one that says, “Just be with this experience.” Today, that is my practice. To be with this experience, fully in the present.

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