No matter where we grew up, who are parents were, who we’ve been in relationship with or who we’ve worked for, all of us have had some version of ‘The Legend of the Lousy Bastard’ in our lives.
‘That lousy bastard’ undoubtedly hurt us, betrayed us, used us, abused us, overpowered us or abandoned us in the middle of some horrific time or situation in our lives.
In our personal legend, ‘that bastard’ generally didn’t listen, didn’t care, didn’t try, wasn’t honest, wasn’t fair, wasn’t trustworthy or wasn’t kind. He or she didn’t validate us, acknowledge our right to be human, or give us the love and respect we so desperately needed at that time.
Our ‘lousy bastard’ may have been male or female, young or old, rich or poor, smart or stupid, but whoever or whatever he or she was in the world, he or she obviously never treated us the way we deserved to be treated.
Feeling Like A Victim
When we perceive that there is a ‘lousy bastard’ in our lives, it’s generally because we feel victimized. We feel helpless, powerless and afraid that there’s nothing we can do to overcome the damage that is being done to us.
“Victims typically identify themselves based upon attributes of powerlessness, dependency, entitlement, apathy, worry, fear, self-doubt, and the like. The victim lives at the effect of what happens around them and has little personal capital to choose and direct life’s direction and destiny,” according to Dr. Frank Thomas.
All of us have felt like a victim at some point in our lives, but feeling like a victim is particularly common among people who were truly victimized as children. If you came from a dysfunctional family where you were neglected, abandoned, or abused (whether it was verbal, physical, emotional or sexual abuse), you probably developed an unconscious pattern of victimhood that has carried into your adult life.
Left-brained, intellectual people love to tell victims to “Stop being a victim!” Maybe you’ve heard those words before. Stopping the pattern of victimhood is not as easy as it sounds, however, particularly if you were programmed from early childhood to tolerate dysfunction and abuse.
Define Personal Responsibility
Have you heard the term ‘personal responsibility?’ Personal responsibility is actually the opposite of victimhood. It’s been defined as a person’s ability to respond maturely to the challenges and circumstances of life.
Steve Brunkhorst says, “Personal responsibility means being accountable for what we think, say and do. It involves working on our own character and skill development rather than blaming others for situations and circumstances.”
So how can you become a responsible person when you have a lived a lifetime in victimhood? The first step is simply to become aware of the emotional pattern you are stuck in. Just noticing your own victim behavior is an important step in the right direction.
Secondly, if you want to break out of your victim pattern, it’s very important to be kind and gentle with yourself in the process of change. Don’t expect perfection overnight! Changing emotional patterns is challenging! It often involves finding a safe person or situation to express the painful feelings you were never able to express from the original abusive situation.
Giving Up the Victim Story
At the start it’s very important to tell your victim story to someone who genuinely cares. Telling your story in the presence of compassion (rather that judgment and criticism) is what finally can free you from believing you deserved the negative treatment you were given in that original situation.
But probably the most challenging step of changing your victim pattern is the point when it’s time to give up your story and move forward with your life. Sometimes your story has become like a two-year-old’s blanket that they can’t let go of—it’s the safety and security that helps you believe that you are valuable and worthy.
Still, like the two-year-old, at some point you have to release that outer security and find your security within yourself, rather than hanging on to your victim story to prove your value and worth to the world.
Understanding Your ‘Lousy Bastard’
If it’s difficult for you to release your own ‘Legend of the Lousy Bastard,’ it’s probably because the ‘lousy bastard’ in your present life still triggers the unconscious memories and feelings from someone who hurt you, abandoned you or abused you at a vulnerable time in your childhood. You may still need to take some time to process through those early memories and feelings.
Yet, in the process of your growth, you will probably come to understand that the ‘lousy bastards’ in your life were simply acting out their own emotional trauma and pain. That certainly does NOT give them the right to hurt other people, and definitely NOT to abuse children, but it does help you to understand their negative, ugly behavior.
It’s very important that you learn to set boundaries with the ‘lousy bastards’ in your life, so that you don’t continue to be victimized. Learning to set boundaries is challenging, but not impossible! With some on-going practice, you’ll get to be much better at it.
Moving Beyond Blame
So rather than staying stuck in your legend for the rest of your life, you could choose at some point to move beyond blame and find a healthy way to break out of your victim pattern. It’s like when you play monopoly and you get the card that says, “Get out of jail free!”
Moving beyond blame is unbelievably freeing! When you begin thinking of yourself as a SURVIVOR rather than a victim, it’s like coming home to your true self.
Why not focus on the strengths that helped you overcome the negativity or abuse in your life? What are the qualities you developed from overcoming that challenging victim situation? What attributes do you have today that you wouldn’t have developed if you had not experienced it?
Aiming for Spiritual Freedom
Freeing yourself from the past is a wonderful way to start fresh and create the life you have always wanted. It’s the perfect way to start getting high on life!
I read a beautiful quote on Twitter recently by Isaac Friedmann, that simply says, “Forgiveness is the sweetest revenge.” Isn’t that an interesting thought? Keep in mind that forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning the neglectful or abusive behavior that you experienced. It’s just setting yourself free to be the amazing person you were always meant to be!
When you aim for spiritual freedom you set your goal on living in the state of consciousness that people like Mahatma Gandhi emanated. It’s that state of mind where there is nothing that’s important anymore except for you and spirit. Fame and fortune have lost their attractiveness to you, because you know that living from love, peace, truth, joy and service is all that really matters.
Some of us may never reach a full realization of spiritual freedom and that’s okay. Our growth happens at it’s own pace. Yet, when we are aiming for that freedom, we will always have those beautiful moments of unbelievable joy and bliss in our lives that make all of our efforts worthwhile.
Only you can decide when it’s time to let go of your own “Legend of the Lousy Bastard.’ No one else can decide that for you. The fact that you’re still reading this blog post is probably a good indication that you’re getting very close. I’m sure you’ll know when the time is right to let go!
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