As I spend more time on this internal journey to get back to myself, I start to see where my shadows are. The hard crusty parts I need to scrape away. The darkness that I need to shed light on. The twists and turns that I need to follow to get to the truth…the sometimes very hard to admit truth.
Shining light on the shadow parts is never easy, usually uncomfortable but it is the only way that I know of to continue to feel more and more FREE. And more and more myself. Which is the glorious carrot that keeps me moving forward.
And as I go along, I am learning every day how important it is for us to share our stories with each other. As I continue to say, we can’t do this thing called life, well, alone.
So, here are some of the victim personas I used to get stuck in. (And when my self-care goes to shit, I can get sucked right back into them…) The personas and shields I put on that completely neutralize my mojo, deplete me, keep me stuck in the trenches and fill me with toxic rage, frustration and bitterness that only serves to feed the cycle.
Perhaps you will recognize some of them…
I’m a Superstar Achiever (and better than you)
When I’m in this mode, I am really disconnected from my self because this is all about outward presentation. I want to show the world, near and far, what I can do. Balancing work and family with ease! Planning a party with homemade pasta and perfect wine pairing! Mastering self-care, business savvy and happy household on the tip of my baby finger! There is a part of me that wants the admiration of every woman as she looks at me and says, “Wow, how does she do it all?” I want to impress, overwhelm and (what I’d rather not admit) make other women feel inferior in the face of my ability to do it all.
Ouch. Oops. And a million apologies for any woman who has ever experienced a whiff of this from me. Drinks on me next time around…
The real story is that I’m chasing perfectionism, putting all of my power and worth into all the wrong places, walking on thin ice (because the energy of this is unsustainable so there is inevitably a crash coming), and ignoring all of the signals my body is giving me to come back home to myself. I’m trying to lift myself up by what others think of me. What I need to do is honour and value myself so I don’t look outwards to get what I am missing inside.
I Refuse To Make This Look Easy because then I Can’t Complain
This is all about refusing to find solutions to problems because I really want everyone to know how hard this is. And the this could be work. Life. Managing my schedule. Taking care of kids. Waaahhh, my whole life is so hard! What I do here is resist taking responsibility for my own happiness, even when there are many ways to change my circumstances. I refuse to stand up for myself and instead, feel some sort of self-defeating satisfaction by pretending that there is nothing I could possibly do to make anything better. Because I think that if I find a solution and make things easier, then I won’t be able to ask for, and receive, sympathy. And I won’t feel appreciated because no-one will know how hard it is.
This is an interesting one for me because, at the heart of it, is just my need to express how I am feeling. My exhaustion. My overwhelm. My pain. My sadness. My fear. My questioning. In this mode, I express myself through complaining, anger, rage, bitterness and resentment. And most of the time, this expression gets turned outwards towards those dear to me or twisted inwards towards my heart like a screw. Neither is the kind of expression that moves me forward. Makes me lighter. And nothing gets released and transformed.
If I don’t make it look hard, I won’t be Earning my Keep (AKA, If I have too much fun, it’s not work)
Otherwise known as, my worth comes from what I do. This is about the belief system that says the harder I work and the more I do, the more value I have. In my family. To my partner. To my clients. In the world. This is how I earn my keep so it has to look hard. If I choose to sit on a patio and sip a cappuccino and read a book in the middle of the day instead of doing something, how can I gauge what my real worth is? Can my real worth be just. being. me? Can my value come from how much joy, happiness and truth I allow myself? Am I still valuable when I’m not doing, working, pushing, going, organizing, cleaning, feeding, tired, sacrificing…?
Quick story. I once met a woman on the street who had a week off from work and was planning to just stay home. The weather was supposed to be gorgeous that week and I suggested to her that she should find a time to go and sit on a patio with some friends. She looked shocked and horrified and said that she would probably spend the time getting things done and running errands.
As if it was illegal and shameful for her to enjoy herself and do nothing but feel good and have fun.
This whole doing things that make me feel good for no other reason than to feel good is a big one for women. Like, one of those 1.5L of white wine BIG.
It’s likely I have more victim personas in the shadows, just waiting for their time-release entrance into my life. But as my body and heart starts to have more light than shadow, they are running out of safe places to hide.
For me, seeing what is in the shadows requires me to get uncomfortable. To feel icky and yucky and to resist the impulse to run away, have a drink, eat something or to turn on the TV. Anything to drown out what I might hear if I pay attention. It also requires me to cut through the blame. The resentment. The ranting. The victim talk. It requires me to put on my goddess warrior panties and get right to the heart of the matter – where it’s all about me. It is all mine to own. And mine to change.
And I have learned that there is a difference in how I express myself and what it leads to. When I express myself (with the aim to hurt) by spewing out my rage, bitterness and resentment onto everyone and anyone around me, I am left with a tight, hot, angry ball of emotion that has not been healed, moved, cleansed or transformed. It has been tightened and hardened into place. (Because I haven’t expressed what I’m really feeling – which is hurt, sadness, pain, grief, challenge.)
When I dig deeper and allow myself to really feel the truth of what I’m feeling, when I acknowledge my hurt and my sadness, when I own them and see them in the light, they are released from my body. They are not fixed, necessarily, but they are transformed. They are not as they were.
In the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts about this. What does your victim look like? What is your relationship with her these days? Is she the boss of you…or have you figured out how to get your power back from her?