LIVE AN EMPOWERED LIFE
From Victim to Villian – It’s a Short Trip | Finding Your Way to Emotional Freedom
Anger. Resentment. Distrust. Insecurities. Confusion. Hurt. Frustration. Unforgiveness. Sadness.
Would you marry someone who offered these emotions as a part of their marriage proposal? Probably not.
Yet, these are the emotions that women and men who have unresolved childhood trauma are likely to bring into their relationships.
I did not blatantly offer them as a part of my proposal to Elena, but because they were so deeply ingrained in me, this was the baggage she received.
Don’t get me wrong – I loved her. But parts of me that only knew love mixed with violence, could never let down their guards to let me love fully, with an abandon.
I trusted her…but never fully because I always expected that she would turn on me the way others did. Or that she would manipulate me the way my mothers and sisters did.
Elena told me many times: “Dee, I’m not Tessie or Anne; I’m not the Browns – you can trust me. I’m here to love and support you, not manipulate you.” As much as I wanted to believe her, and she gave me no reason not to, I always had an unhealthy dose of mistrust mingled in with my emotions.
It started early in my life. My mother, Tessie, tried to abort me with a wire hanger. Somewhere on a cellular level, even as an infant, I felt that women were not safe.
As I was growing up, she physically abused me. Sexually, I was exposed to things no child should ever witness. (You can read my full story about this in the SON OF A WHORE book.)
Then…she dumped me to be raised by others. Yet, I always longed for her love.
The family who raised me, the Browns, were very similar to Tessie. They physically and emotionally abused me, although they showed more love than she ever knew to muster.
Love was confusing to me. It was mixed with pain, suffering, anger, resentment, and sadness. I resented this kind of love. But that was the only love I knew.
And I brought this definition of love into my marriage.
Before long, all the things I resented, I inflicted on Elena. My love was always served up with a bit of distrust, insecurities, confusion, and on more than one occasion – pain.
I could not even have a civil disagreement. I would either lock up and retrieve or lash out and leave, forcing her to live in confusion. She was not familiar with that kind of love. Her upbringing conditioned her to define love as acceptance, forgiveness, support, conversation, patience, and understanding.
I felt that I was stuck in a vicious cycle. On the one hand, I wanted a perfect marriage – the kind that Elena stood to offer. On the other, I did not know how to commit to it 100% the way she did. I was always protecting myself from the possibility of getting hurt by yet another woman. So, while with one hand I was holding onto our marriage, with another, I was pushing Elena away. And, as you will read it in SON OF A WHORE, more than once, I pushed her beyond a point of no return.
The very thing I resented in my parents and guardians, I had become. I went from being a victim of someone else’s definition of love to becoming a villain in my marriage.
Dysfunction rarely produces function. I absorbed my dysfunction and manifested it in my relationship.
“Hurt or get hurt,” was my unconscious soul’s cry. “Do unto her before she does it unto me.”
Rather than learning Elena’s love language, which was not steeped in pain and betrayal, I forced my definition of love on her.
Going from being a victim to becoming a villain does not take long. It’s a short trip really. Separated only by choices and decisions. And most of such choices are made on a subconscious level, as a kneejerk reaction. So, most of us do not even realize we are making this transition.
Not everyone who grew up in dysfunction metamorphs into villains. What sets them apart from those who do is their willingness to learn from others and change. The operative words are “learn” and “change.”
After causing hell and distraction, I finally decided that I was ready to learn something different. From someone different than what my upbringing provided. I knew that I had to identify my villain ways and turn them, through work and commitment, into a victorious life.
I chose my teachers and mentors, starting with my wife, and allowed myself to view who I was through her eyes.
It was not always pleasant. In fact – it hurt like hell. Truth has a way of doing this – slicing you open to clean out an underlying infection, so you can heal. But I knew that it was the only way for me to break the cycle and to learn to love without pain, and become the best version of who I could be.
While my trip from victim to villain was a short one, my transition from a villain to victor took time, patience, and commitment.
I opened myself up to the possibility of challenging and changing my beliefs…all of them. Sorting through what could remain and what had to be changed.
I had dissected and inspected them one by one, creating my own formula for what LOVE should be.
Then the next step, even more laborious, but totally worth the outcome – applying what I had learned. Walking it out, one day at a time.
Not always easy, and far from being a sprint, it was a marathon and a journey worth taking. This journey was filled with mistakes and missteps. Some big enough for me to want to give up. However, I found that acknowledging my mistakes, apologizing, and making them right, gave me the fuel I needed to keep forging ahead…
All the way to my freedom.
What about you? Do you find yourself waging a similar war? Do you still need to find your deliverance from being someone’s victim and your own villain to winning the battle for your destiny?
I hope my process is going to help you start healing your inner child and release you from the prison of your trauma. And if you would like to go deeper, because we only scratched the surface in this post, get my book SON OF A WHORE – available to order today.