Do you believe that someone in your past—your parents, caregivers, or an ex-lover, for example—is to blame for your current emotional pain?
Most of us have experienced some form of abandonment, neglect, rejection, or abuse in the past. Maybe our parents couldn’t give us the attention and love we so craved when we were little. Maybe the way they spoke to us led us to believe we were bad or wrong in some way. Maybe they were just too busy or too distracted and we were left feeling that we weren’t important or worthy of their attention—even if they were good people with the best intentions. Or maybe they were verbally, physically, or sexually abusive which led us to feel deeply shamed.
Or, later in life, we fell in love with someone we thought was our soul mate, only to be deeply hurt when that person broke up with us without warning, or betrayed our trust in some way.
We’re left with these “wounds” from our past that SEEM to play a big part in how we feel about circumstances today.
We may be afraid to open up to love, for fear of getting hurt again. We are anxious when we get too close to someone, especially if they show signs of being cold or distant.
We get angry when someone at work talks to us in the same way our parents spoke to us, and it causes us unnecessary distress. We want them to stop being a jerk!
We feel rejected and hurt when a friend doesn’t call us back, all because it subconsciously reminds us of when a caregiver didn’t respond to our needs when we were little. Can’t they see how rude and uncaring they’re being?
We may acknowledge that we’re a bit more sensitive about certain things because of our past, or we think our past experiences make us more aware of other’s inconsiderate or unloving behavior.
But how we’re feeling today isn’t anyone else’s fault. Not even the people from our past that hurt us in the first place.
Blaming others for our emotional pain is keeping us in victim mode and preventing us from ever fully healing from our past.
Let’s say something happened in your past that made you feel unlovable and unworthy.
Maybe your parents didn’t give you the attention and care you needed as a child, or were abusive to you.
Or someone you loved in the past rejected you or betrayed your trust.
Now, in your current relationship, a pattern develops.
Something happens that “triggers” a subconscious memory of this past wounding. Say your partner flirts with an acquaintance at a party. You see this, and instantly you just about want to crawl out of your skin. It feels like history is repeating itself and the rug is being pulled out from under your feet.
You blame the emotional pain you’re feeling on what you experienced in the past AND on your current partner’s behavior.
Doesn’t your partner understand how hurtful they’re being, especially in light of your past? It’s like they have picked this very action to stab you in the heart. You’re angry—at your current partner and at your ex, for creating this pain in the first place.
But here’s why blaming others is keeping you in victim mode:
Whatever happened in the past created a lot of pain inside you and caused you to have false beliefs about yourself.
Your ex may have cheated on you, but that action led you to BELIEVE that you aren’t lovable. It led you to believe you aren’t good enough, or worthy of a partner’s commitment and devotion.
That belief is yours and yours alone. The person in your past didn’t “make you” believe that about yourself. YOU created that belief, all on your own. They just did what they did. YOU are the one that interpreted that behavior into these types of false beliefs:
I’m not lovable.
I’m not worthy.
I’m not important.
You’re now choosing to interpret current events through the lens of these false beliefs you created, which is why you’re feeling hurt/betrayed/angry/outraged.
When you see your partner flirting, you choose to interpret that as “I’m not lovable” or “I’m not worthy.” You have lost your ability to be impartial to your partner’s behavior in this regard. You are taking their behavior personally instead of knowing that their behavior is about them.
Your partner may be flirting. Or they’re being friendly with someone. You can’t be objective in light of your internal beliefs.
THIS is why you’re hurt and angry. It’s not because of your partner’s actions, it’s because of your BELIEFS about their actions.
Therefore, since these are your false beliefs that you created, you are the only person who has the power to change those beliefs or do anything about your pain.
As long as your focus is on blaming your past, others, or God for your pain, you have no power to do anything about your pain.
You will always be at the mercy of what other people do or don’t do for your happiness and peace of mind.
As long as you continue to blame your parents, teachers, friends, caregivers, or ex-lovers and spouses for the pain you feel now, you cannot heal from your past.
Although your childhood or past may have caused you much pain and helped create your false beliefs and resulting behavior, those beliefs are now YOURS. Your thoughts come from your beliefs and are what cause much of your current emotional state.
When you are stuck in the victim mode of anger, blame, depression, or numbness of your wounded self, you need to find a bridge that will take you into a different state: one of openness and learning.
That bridge is letting go of those false beliefs that you created in your mind about past events, then moving toward developing compassion for yourself and letting go of control over others’ behavior.
While this is simple to do, it’s not intuitive.
That’s why I co-developed a process that teaches individuals how to have compassion for themselves and how to take responsibility for their feelings through self-love. Teaching this process and seeing the remarkable results has been the highlight of my 50 year (yes, 50!) career.
Now I’ve partnered with Flourish, so I can extend that help and guidance to as many people as possible. Almost everyone can benefit from learning about how to take action on self love and heal the dysfunctional coping strategies we use to distract ourselves from anxiety, malaise, and other painful emotions. Blaming others or our past is one of the dysfunctional strategies.
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