How do we step out of the cycle of being the victim of someone else's pain? In small and subtle ways, most of us still allow others to be abusive with us in their words or deeds. Even if we have ended or limited a painful relationship with these people, we may still feel they can hurt us in some way. We feel unable to release ourselves from the cords between us.
When we feel verbally, emotionally or mentally abused by another, it is their judgement that feels abusive in the first place. Being criticized, controlled, belittled, shunned, interrupted, humiliated, ignored, patronized, or blamed are all ways that others can dump their own inner pain onto us. Telling us how wonderful we are while they complain and speak poisonous words about us or others is another way it can show up. The judgement we hear from them can trigger our own inner childhood story and resonate as the truth. If we believe what they are saying is true about us, we may feel trapped with no choices to take care of ourselves as they dump their own inner pain on us – a victim. What if we could ‘cut these cords’ in our mind and heart?
The first thing we can do when this happens is to make some space for ourselves away from this person to ask ourselves if their judgement is actually true in THIS situation. If the old limiting story in your mind says ‘you’re not good enough’, you can ask yourself, ‘Is that really true in this current situation?’ It usually isn’t. We are constantly in a state of learning and expanding. This means some things will work as we expect, and others won’t. It has NOTHING to do with our value as a human being.
The second thing we can do is acknowledge what is actually happening for US without judging them for what they are doing. Recognizing how it is for us is the key. We can connect the feelings we are having to the limiting story running in our mind. Different circumstances, same feeling. The story wasn’t true then, and it isn’t true now. It was simply an ego strategy to help us make sense of what was happening around us as a child. Our job is to recognize and own our feelings so we can disconnect them from the old story. I am a big fan of Emotional Freedom Technique to do this (EFT). There are lots of good short instructional videos on YouTube that you can ‘tap’ along with. Another great approach is to get in the car and allow yourself the space and time to express your anger, hurt, rage and/or grief without needing to change or fix it. This is a judgement-free expression and allows you to recognize and acknowledge how it is for you and offers a responsible way to express the feelings without dumping them on others.
The third thing we can do is to acknowledge what is actually happening for THEM at the broadest perspective. They, like us, are on their own journey and while we may need to limit/eliminate contact with them, we still want the best for them. We can wish them well in this way: “May you have all of the kindness and fulfillment that you have ever desired so you no longer need to abuse others or be abused by others ever again”. This takes you out of judging them and getting caught in the cycle of abuse. If you need to reduce or eliminate contact with this person to be loving to yourself, this ‘wish’ can help you feel better about doing it. Taking care of you isn’t about them, it’s about you. In this way, you can see them as having what they need and want so they no longer need to stay in the cycle of victim-abuse. This way, you are both free.
How will you release yourself from the cycle of abuse today?
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