How To Blossom from Victim to Victor (Curing Emotional Pain)
Get ready to take charge of your attitudes. No more wallowing in self-pity over this breakup. If you dumped or were dumped, get on with life and love. Understandably, this command is more difficult for the rejected party to obey but all the more essential. However, if you have been following along conscientiously, making the mental move from victim to victor is only lines away.
Perception Is Key
Throughout our discussion of the full course of relationships (Previous articles) from attraction to breaking up, there have been continual references to perception. It should be obvious by now that how you, your partner, and outsiders perceive one another and your relationship has tremendous room for variation. Some researches go so far as to assert that how the interpersonal relationship is perceived by each partner is more important than the actual reality.
Some individuals perceive events in a way that enables them to cope better for the moment. Those who don’t may distort events in a negative direction that causes a loss of control, a demise of positive moods, and an increase of stress. That’s where the victim mentality comes into play.
The Victim Mentality
The individual with the romantic victim mentality displays an overabundant number of self-defeating behaviors. Check off how many of these qualities you have on the following list when it comes to love:
1. Fear of future relationships.
2. Fear of planning future events.
3. Loss of self-esteem.
4. Loss of trust.
6. Fear of inadequate relationship skills.
7. Inability to make healthy decisions.
8. Loss of ego.
9. Feels used, ill-treated, and lead on.
Any check marks in the Have column are reason to pause. Each behavior is representative of someone who views themselves as a victim of love or a love partner. The more Haves you total, the harder you will have to work to evolve from victim to victor. Yet, if you fail to acknowledge a twinge of at least one of these behaviors following a breakup and all your marks fall into the Don’t Have column, you are either in denial or are not being completely honest with yourself. Face up to the loss, how it made you feel, and what you can do about it. The options offered throughout this guide are plentiful.
A Woman’s Thing
Women are more prone to see themselves as victims of love than men are. They berate themselves for giving too much in a bad relationship and failing to get enough back. In the extreme, this scares women enough to avoid romantic possibilities, erect emotional walls, and impede self-disclosurean essential ingredient for love to take hold.
Love’s Essential Ingredient
Don’t moan or groan. Yes, it is time for the proverbial, required topic in all romantic discussions self-esteem. Whether you view this as a beginner or refresher course, pay close attention to every word of this important message. Your level of self-esteem could sabotage a relationship in one of two ways:
1. You could have so much self-esteem that you expect and demand too much from someone else in a relationship and deem their needs, interests, or goals as less important than your own. Too much self esteem can make you overly confident and inflexible to other points of view.
2. You could have too little self-esteem and accept any partner who will offer you rewards, possibly mistreat you, or fail to recognize your needs.
Just the Right Measure of Self-Esteem
We have already noted that too much or too little self-esteem can be lethal to a romantic relationship. What then, is the right amount? I offer you two views mine and that of psychotherapist Nathaniel Branden. They are not mutually exclusive. Rather, they compliment one another and create a healthy picture of what just the right level of self-esteem should provide for you. Strive for this level.
My choice: Enough self-esteem to:
Ensure maintenance of your own identity.
Maintain respect for your partner’s identity.
Monitor your relationship.
Keep a good relationship on track.
Demand respect, consideration, love, comfort, and support.
Psychotherapist Nathaniel Branden defines a healthy level of self esteem as that which enables an individual to feel:
Deserving of happiness, love, admiration, and respect.
Bloom into Affirmation.
Every breakup lowers your self-esteem to a degree and for a measure of time. Negative thoughts about yourself are normal and natural. Make sure, however, that they are fleeting. Here are some tips on how to shatter your self-doubt and reaffirm your identity and self-worth:
Look for proof of your competence, whether that be in sports, work, family relationships, hobbies, school, or friendships. If that requires a change in your job or field of study, so be it. Competence in one endeavor promotes overall self-esteem.
Take time to get to know who you are and not through the eyes of others. Self-discovery can be exciting, stimulating, and challenging. Without knowing who you are, you may impair your individual power, fail to use your abilities, and never nurture a healthy level of self-esteem.
Learn to love and value yourself. If you do, you get a bonus. Self actualization theorists who promote this idea say it is impossible to love someone else until you love yourself first.
Develop appreciation for your body intimate body parts, odors, and all. Unless you achieve this, you may find yourself sexually dysfunctional and see your self-esteem remain in the depths of despair.
Work on becoming autonomous. Autonomous individuals are independent and self-directed. They govern themselves and move their will into action. They are self-sufficient and responsible for themselves.
Don’t get carried away and let your self-esteem become overgrown. It is a defense mechanism that might get in your way. Overcompensating for a real lack of self-esteem or a temporary lapse of it in the wake of a breakup can make you come off cocky and turn potential love interests away.
Cut back the self-esteem that grows out of control. Sure signs you need to prune are convincing yourself:
You are always right.
No one is good enough for you.
You can’t find anyone worthy of bestowing your love upon.
No one can appreciate just how wonderful you truly are.
Only you have the secret of how to love.
Once you have attained the level of self-esteem that will enable you to insist upon and function in a healthy, equitable relationship, you will automatically begin to shed your victim mentality. Other signs that you are on your way to becoming a victor will be described for you.
Budding Signs of a Victor
The individual who eventually emerges from love’s disappointment fully intact is a victor. He or she has developed a healthy potential for love. Therefore, he or she:
Trusts their own expectations of success.
Maintains a realistic perspective.
Has ample self-esteem and confidence.
Demonstrates an understanding of love’s strengths and weaknesses.
Uses cautious optimism when approaching a new love interest.
Asks for the truth and is able to accept it.
Extends trust to others in a wise and prudent manner.
Realizes they learned something valuable from their lost love relationship.
A Victor’s Truths
Victors, not victims, carry these truths with them. So should you. Repeat these truths to yourself until you commit them to memory:
1. I will not allow one person’s crushing blow to break my spirit, diminish my self-esteem, or damage the essence of my being.
2. I will not delude myself into accepting a bad relationship.
3. I know I can do better and am ready to seek greater happiness.
4. I am unwilling to put up with untruths.
5. I am not desperate to find a mate.
6. I value myself and will make healthy decisions that foster my well-being.
7. I am aware of the good and bad consequences that may evolve out of a new love relationship and am prepared to take that chance.
8. I am going to be smarter and act more cautiously in the dawn of my next love relationship.
9. I am not going to allow my passions to put me in harm’s way.
10. I am going to take my next relationship slowly.
The Last Step: Turn Off the Grief
You’ve come a long way. Be careful not to undo your hard work. All of the steps taken thus far should have helped to expel every ounce of grief. Yet, there is that human tendency to continue to recycle grief over and over again.
Make sure that once you have dealt with the loss of love whether the grief is attached to an individual, a fantasy, or a romantic ideal you do not revisit the scene. Visualize this endeavor as a walk down a one-way street. Once you reach the end of the block and look back, there is a big do not enter sign staring you in the face.
There is no joining the crowd of victors until grief is entirely out of your system. If you have not yet resolved your grief, you may continue to feel a yearning for and an irrational desire to reattach to your lost love object. Employ a strong effort of mind over matter here in order that you may proceed to a happy ending.
It may take longer than reading this article to transform yourself from victim to victor. Do not hesitate to linger, review, or reread. Keep working at it until you feel like a victor and not a victim.
The Happy Ending, a Victor’s Tale
Pauline and Paul had a six-month fling. Paul spouted refrains of love right off the bat, and Pauline took them for fact. Never mind that he put himself first, kept her guessing about their weekend plans, was too undependable to rely upon, and hardly measured up to her love map.
Pauline talked herself into thinking that love would turn Paul’s faults around and that the fun, companionship, and mad attraction she had for him was enough. She didn’t see herself slipping out of control or her self-esteem sinking while he kept her off-balance and her life in turmoil.
When Pauline finally stopped deluding herself that Paul might be the one and quit putting up with his shenanigans, she tossed him a quick and absolute farewell. At first she felt the pain of lost love, then the disappointment of a failed relationship, a tinge of regret, and finally remorse. She swore off men for a while, poured herself into her work, and affirmed that she deserved more.
Several months later she decided to date again, but this time she vowed no one was getting the better of her. She wasn’t waiting for three strikes before calling the next guy out; she wasn’t putting anyone before her career; and she wasn’t going to accept anything less than reality. Despite her improved attitude, however, it wasn’t until she met Pete that she could honestly admit to herself and others she was glad she had experienced the anguish of love with Paul.
If she hadn’t, she feared she might never have realized just how special Pete was. He is a man of his word, goes out of his way to make things happen to be with her, and is just as much fun as Paul ever could be. The difference is Pete doesn’t have to tell her he cares about her; it’s obvious in his actions.
Still, Pauline is taking her time to get to know the real Pete. There is nothing make-believe about this chapter of love.