Summer has officially arrived in Prague, the asphalt is steaming, the air is layers thick. I can peel it.
I would like to jump on a bridge and welcome this year's wave of tourists (I do it in my mind) . Outside of my mind I continue walking through the heat. The wind and the sun are caressing my hair. I like it.
This post is going to be uncomfortable though.
Why do you think it took me so long to write it ? Things get nasty! I had to look into myself and see, nothing new for a deep diver like myself but still difficult. If you stick to the end you'll find the treasure- your own power of deciding what is going to happen.
Before proceeding let's make a road map, to guide us in the upcoming waste land.
We are going to look at:
1. Victim -hood - characteristics
2. Why playing the victim is so alluring
3. Example of clashing mentalities
1.Victim mentality - characteristics
Many of us today live in scarcity. I am not referring to the material one, the one you can see, in this context- not see. This is about the internal scarcity- the mind, the heart, the force of life.
We are trying, it seems, to run away from being poor, ugly, alone, bad - you get it, everything which makes us unloved, not accepted by the crowd. This running away comes from a fear based mind. The fear of living through all those horrible things mentioned above. I am also "guilty" of that. I believe that this is the very reason for us coming into life, to wake up from fear and transform the darkness by bringing in the light.
Let's look at the traits composing the fear based mind, the victim mind. When playing a victim you:
-have a "I can't do it" mentality
-are cynical and pessimistic
-you disproportionate the grandeur of the issues you encounter
-are looking everywhere but not inside yourself
-identify an enemy and blame it all on them
-believe that everyone is trying to hurt you
-believe that you've been singled out and about to be mistreated
-you take your queues from your past-gone-dead painful moments
-find something to complain about EVEN when things go right !
-you refuse help or listening to someone's opinion
-feel attacked when given feedback or being constructively criticized
-think that life is happening to you and you can't do anything about it, so why not feel sorry the whole time
-believe that that world is a scary, dark and dead place to be in (so guilty here ahh!!)
-like sharing your sad story with everyone listening (guilty!)
-expect those who love you to take all the shit - if they love me they should accept me as I am
-need sympathy and being pampered THE WHOLE TIME - it makes your pain feel appreciated
Pfui! This is heavy lifting! Let me put this thing down for a second and think about it.
There characteristics are very known to myself because I come from an environment where thinking as such is normal. This is how people related to each other. We came together in case of death, loss, pain, hunger. etc. During good times we search for things to go wrong, to keep us busy. God- the religious construct- is used as an excuse for not taking responsibility.
Not my kind of thing, I have to say.
Changing this meant that I had to go separate ways. Now I could talk to my ex colleagues or school mates without feeling guilty for having made a different choice or without getting absorbed into local drama. Getting away was painful but necessary if I was to follow my heart. The connections created out of fear are based in apparent trust and they snap apart very often, very fast.
Women use the painful load to: manipulate their partners, family, friends in getting what they want; get attention, to be "feminine".
Ignoring and pretending that the pain is not there (if it is) is also an evasive and attention asking behavior. I think that the hard core feminists, walking with their breasts dangling free of any constrains and asking to be considered a masculine equal is the ultimate victim-hood state that a woman can get into. This article only confirms my undocumented findings.
The way to manage this situation is to go through pain courageously, using your mind as to arrive to general harmony, acceptance and peace, while communicating with the outside clearly.
I, Victoria, confess being guilty of victim-hood also. It kept me safe during a time when I did not know better, every move was deepening the hole. Why didn't I know better? Because I concentrated on pain and not on the meaning of it, not on growing out of it but on sharing it so that I could explain myself and maybe be understood, accepted, loved.
The cultural imprint of being a poor, stupid, uneducated Moldovan was stamped on my head and it affected me indeed, as mentioned in the last episode. I've met people like myself everywhere I went. Abused models, neglected wives, pushed down coworkers ? Seen them. Add to that the fact that I am living in a woman's body, born out of a woman who, at her time, went though silenced suffering the weight of which was passed down to me and my sister. It is flowing in our veins, it creates the background for the sounds in our heads, it gives (a certain) meaning to everything we bump our heads into.
BUT! This is not the end. That is only the beginning- if we choose so. What does choosing mean ? It means giving different meanings to what happens, interrupting the fear from darkening our minds. This is why we keep on waking up every day, having all these opportunities to just ...make different chooses once and for all.
2. Why playing the victim is so alluring?
Because it brings all sort of benefits, to both parts. The Victim gets attention, help and is being seen, while the Facilitator is having the erroneous sensation that he/she is a good person. Ultimately, this is what we want - to be perceived as good people so that we can be accepted in a community and be loved.
If we transmute this kind of dependency connection into a Woman- Man relationship, we see that the woman, wanting to preserve some kind of womanliness, is playing the victim (I can't! Give me ! Help!) or the worrier ( I can do it myself! You are no good! Only when I do it is good!) while the Man, trying to hold the bull the horns and be The Man, is only increasing the victim vibes.
If we transmute this model into a work environment we can see that the victim gets most of the attention, because it is holding the team back. I've witnessed for a whole year during my last job, the self generated misery of a colleague asking for a salary raise. Why ? Because he felt like he deserved it. His performance? None. He was a 40 years old man, alone and desperate for human affection, keeping himself entangled in desperation by not giving it up. After 3 years of straight on lunacy, he gave the job up. How do I know? He informed me.
No one one is going to pay you more for being needy. To receive you have to give, and give good stuff, that's just how things work. Which introduces the next section.
3. Example of clashing mentalities
For the past year I have been working with a controlling and fearful line manager. Nothing I did was good or even noticed by him. There are several unfinished initiatives the life span of which was weeks or a few months long, until new ones were invented. During our last meeting when the last working date was set, he demonstrated his misunderstanding again by throwing the remark "So you didn't learn anything!" to the dogs, not to me, I did not catch it not did I replay- no need to go into that.
I felt like talking to a wall the whole time. At an emotional and mental level that was exactly so- a wall. I could understand that an internal personal block of his is stopping him from being here completely, but could not go into that of course. By that time he had misunderstood my way of being already. Even now when I am about to leave the company, for another opportunity (Yeah, I knew it and told you!) he still does not understand what just happened.
There were different phases for this work relationship until it died.
First I was listening and trying to follow his ideas - he is the manager after all, I thought even if his ideas are socking in fear. Every meeting of ours was draining and left me even more confused. When he says to proceed in a certain way it is to avoid a worse alternative. There is no good way, no good day. I have not heard any original idea from him.
Next, after having had enough of that, I decided to do it my way while taking the lead- a survival attitude for those sensing danger. He did not like it at all and stifled every "out of the ordinary" move. His range is very restricted. I could not talk to any of the superiors without informing him first, could not write an email freely adding some personal touch to it. While working on a contract and negotiation - never done before in my life - he only found mistakes in my humble progress instead of giving me some input. Shit! it was so discouraging. Not to mention the little games he played after knowing that I've worked in the fashion industry - a kind of red cross that will accompany me lifelong. Different people react differently though.
He did not like my initiative and continued treating me like I was 4 years old or "just an ex model ".
At this point I realized what was going on and stepped into the next phase.
I started speaking his language, so that I could get along, but did not follow his (fearful) ideas, did not wait for help from him, did not see him as the one deciding but me. This is when he lost any influence over me, without realizing it. While doing so I realized that the only way to change my situation is to get out of the situation. So you see, I changed my thoughts. Things took an ascending directing from there.
I informed them in advance of what is going to happen. This was like fuel for the manager I was dealing with directly. The regular meetings became even more uncomfortable, the one when he closed the door as if wanting to stop me, was the last drop. He felt the presence of someone, lower on the corporate scale and disagreeing, this fact turned his world up side down.
I am leaving this environment having learned a great lesson- I can and I know that soon I will be joined by someone who can stand by me.
I hope that my story is inspiring you to start observing your thoughts and choose the constructive one, those which are launch a feeling of peace inside your body. Those which make you feel warm in your heart. You will be guided from there.
Next time I am going to look at the impact of work or the absence of it on women, about the struggle to find a new job while dealing with the heavy stuff mentioned above and tell you about the findings in " Ancora dalla parte delle bambine " by Loredana Lipperini.
From Prague with love,