…but…it’s not my fault! Is it? Oh, my goodness. How easy it is to point at the other guy for the sole purpose of justifying our miserable attitude as we writhe in anger, bitterness, self-deprecation, and arrogance, unknowingly turning an elegant waltz with life into nothing more than a shadow, an eclipse, of what could be, destroying relationships at every possible opportunity, with an apparent lack of care.
Because let’s be honest here, it’s comfortable in that shadowy place once we’ve entered a few times with no backlash from those forgiving ones we’ve hurt, sometimes even on purpose. We think, “So, is it really my fault if others allow me to act this way? They are enabling me!” See? It’s not my fault. How neatly I’ve justified my abusing others.
Remember that bar, that expectation, you set for someone deep in your mind and didn’t tell them it had been set? Wow! The power that comes from those moments when they miss it! The puffed-up monster inside of us is diligently spoon-fed and, over time, with enough feeding and nurturing, that monster eclipses our right thinking. We become totally justified to be critical. Angry at their continued ineptness. Angry at them. We literally think they have disappointed us! It’s their fault we feel this way. And again, we are not to blame.
And what happens when those we’ve hurt get to that point where we have pushed them away as far as we can before they go over the edge, never to be seen again? They confront us, because, well, perhaps, they still believe that kind, compassionate person we once were is still in there somewhere, jumping up and down, wanting to be seen just behind the monster’s intimidating shadow. Just out of sight. And how do we react? Like poison. How dare they! Judge me? Oh no you don’t. Who do you think you are? You’ve failed me on every level, and you judge – me? Please, leave.
And they do.
It would be years and only through a revelation of God’s love toward me, that I understood what a jerk I’d been the majority of my life, and the process of learning how to love others could begin.
So, can this monster inside be tamed? Maybe even killed? Is this just “who we are” and I, and everyone else, just needs to deal with it?
Well, we didn’t start there, right? Remember, we were the ones doing the spoon-feeing and that sucker grew over perhaps a period of even decades.
The solution? Look at the monster as overweight. In order to keep it from growing any larger, we have to acknowledge that the spoon-feeding needs to stop, and the fat needs to be trimmed. No diet will help it. A serious lifestyle change needs to happen. A change that is purposeful – intentional – heart, mind, and soul altering. We have to taste the yearning of that new flavor. We have to seek help, because we can’t do this by ourselves.
And trust me, nobody can change me but me. No matter someone’s care, words of wisdom, forgiveness, desperate attempts of reasoning, arguments of hurt feelings – none of that matters. At least not until I care. Not until it’s important enough for me to acknowledge the massive amount of errors of my thinking and past ways of responding to the challenges that presented. I won’t change until I acknowledge that I am actually responsible for the way I think and behave! Imagine that!
We cannot change the abuser. The abuser must come to their own Jesus moment, and unfortunately, if you are with an abuser, they feel safe with you to abuse you. In my opinion, for what that’s worth, they don’t have the capacity to change first – but you do. It is your choice to stay or to leave. If you want the cycle of abuse to continue, then stay. If you want it to stop – leave.
I have been both the abuser and the abused. In defense, reflecting on my rational, I became the abuser in order to not be abused. Once I hit the threshold of wondering if misery was all that life held for me and that suicide seemed a viable, albeit selfish, option, I sought God and experienced unconditional love. Then, and only then, I changed. My heart changed. It was after that, that I then became the abused by a man I met in Bible college.
If you are the abuser, do you want to change? If not, please isolate yourself. If this article has made you reflect that, yes, you just might be that abusive personality who sets people up to fail, who is critical of everyone who doesn’t meet your untold expectations, who takes some sense of pleasure from being right when others are showing their humanness, who likes to start arguments out of boredom or wanting to dominate…please seek help through any and all means you can and don’t stop. Crave the change! You have years of overcoming your abusive monster and the scars left by its claws. Seek God with all your heart and soul. Do that serious introspection you’ve been afraid of. Let Him lead you through this process. Get counseling from professionals who understand you.
After I acknowledged how horrible I’d been, I started trimming the fat. I thought of situations where I was less than kind, and I wrote down the words describing that personality. Then the brainstorming took off, and I filled that paper with a hundred words that described my monster. It was exhausting. Humbling. Sad. And the tears flowed. Could those people ever forgive me? (Some did.) What about those who had died? (I had private conversations with them hoping they could hear me.) Could I really believe that God already had? (Yes.) Could I forgive myself? Time would tell.
Start right now. Whatever side you are on – abused or abuser. Figure it out. And change. You have more power in this area than you’ve ever given yourself credit for. Fear is not a reason to not change. It’s a convenient excuse to be weak. I beg you to find your strength and be the better person you know you could be – if you truly care.
Hi! I’m MJ! And I’m a survivor of Domestic Violence. This blog, yes, is for other survivors of Domestic Abuse. However, sometimes I like to write about other learning curve events or thoughts in my life.
Through VictoryLife House, survivors can find information to help them through the trauma they’ve experienced. Through this blog, I hope you also enjoy these random types of musings.
Life without abuse IS an option. Choose life!
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