This evening, as I was driving home from having dinner with my daughter at my husband’s restaurant, I listened to a song that really made me think. I don’t know who sings it, or what its name was, but the jist of the lyrics was “Poor Me. Everything bad is always happening to me. And it is always someone else’s fault. Poor Me.” Those aren’t the actual words, only what the singer was trying to convey, and he wasn’t being funny, either.
I would imagine that for any person who has been the victim of a trauma that has been devastating, Poor Me is
a pretty understandable reaction. And it was no different for me. It seemed in my late teens and early twenties that all kinds of bad things kept happening to me. I was being cheated on, served with papers for child support because my husband had gotten someone else pregnant, finding jobs working for complete assholes, being treated like an outsider by my family….the list goes on and on. And Poor Me was a pretty powerful excuse for trying whatever drug I felt like, or for starting an affair with someone. I mean, seriously. How can you blame poor molested me, right? Poor Me.
But, I had a real war waging inside of me. It seems that no matter what I did, or how I rationalized what I was doing, my conscience was relentless, refusing to acknowledge Poor Me at all. It was the realization that everything wasn’t just happening to me; I was happening to other people, that snapped me into my Fix Me mode. I had three kids to think of, and I needed to decide who I wanted them to see — Strong, Healthy Me or Poor Me. In the end, I wanted them to respect me, so Poor Me was going to have to go.
Therapy was a big, fat joke to me. I’m not saying it doesn’t work for other people, but for me, a guy sitting behind a desk encouraging me to blame other people for my bad behavior wasn’t what I was looking for. Was I affected by childhood issues and trauma? Yes. But the Blame Game came easy for me, so I didn’t need to pay someone to make me feel better about blaming everyone but myself. I have literally walked out of therapists offices based on the atmosphere of the waiting room, once because of lecture on billing procedures, and another time because of their waiting room reading material. Seriously. What can I say? I know when I’m wasting my time. I may have ESP…. One of them rubbed me the wrong way by merely starting off the conversation with a breathing exercise. I know how to breathe. Thank you for your time. I’m outta here…She sat in stunned silence when I grabbed my purse and split. No, therapy is not for me.
I have had one doctor now for 4 years, and he is just my regular doctor. He is the only one that earned enough trust in my mind to talk me into trying antidepressants. I was on them long enough to barely get them going in my blood stream before I threw them away. No way. This feeling is worse. In the end, I go to Jesus when things get rocky in my head, and He helps me through it…without drugs. But He is a pretty straightforward, no-nonsense Therapist. And that is really what I needed.
When I first seriously started dealing with fixing Poor Me, I had to look at what I was doing to those around me. For instance, my poor ex-husband. This man was a really nice guy. He did his very best to be a good husband — at first. But I knew when I married him that while I liked him okay, I didn’t love him. Not the kind of love that would last. But in my mind, I wanted to get on with life, and being married would probably make me more responsible about the things I did. Uh. Nope. Instead, I hitched this guy to my shooting star and took him down my painful paths with me. Yes, he cheated. But I had emotionally kept him away from myself, and he was lonely. I happened to him. I had no business trying to have a relationship back then, because I hadn’t done the work necessary to actually love a man the way a wife should. And he paid for it.
Jobs? I was always imagining that these employers were plotting against me. If I made one small mistake, my mind would panic, and to stay in control of the situation, I would defensively find reasons to hate them. Finally, when I have enough reasons built up in my mind, I’d quit. They always seemed surprised to see me go…but of course, I thought they were being insincere and phony. Again, I was happening to them…
I wish I could say I have a tiny list of these, but I don’t. I have negatively impacted a lot of people, and if you are one of them reading this, I hope I’ve said I was sorry to you. Most of them now I have addressed, and my conscience is resting comfortably for the moment. And because I have acknowledged my part in their pain, I’m now more careful to tread lightly on other people’s lives.
As long as we are on this earth, we are practicing living, and hopefully learning more about ourselves and the people around us. Even when it comes to the people who have caused the most harm to me personally, I have to try to see them a different way. For instance, who on God’s Green Earth would choose to be a child molester? They are the pariahs of our society, safe nowhere once their secret is out. And more than likely, that perversion was introduced into their lives at an impressionable time as well. They probably have a Poor Me story, same as mine.
I think we all have some level of Poor Me in all of us. And depending on the level of pain and anguish experienced by an individual, the more rooted that particular mind-set can be. We all heal at our own pace. But if I were to be able to take the hand of someone sincerely stuck in that horror of pain, and give them the road map I used to get out, it would be to let Poor Me go. Start fighting back when your mind goes skipping down roads to hell. You can only do it one decision at a time, but even if you fail two out of three times in a day, that one victory can really make a difference. Before you know it, you are re-training your mind to see things clearer. You’ll feel stronger, healthier. Some one asked me recently if I hate the person that hurt me. No. I don’t at all anymore. I can be angry at someone and not hate them. But even now, the anger is gone. I simply don’t care that much anymore. What’s done is done. Today is what matters.
I couldn’t do it 20 years ago, but I can now remember good things about him too. He was just broken, like me. He was something bad that happened to me. I forgive him. No, I don’t want to be friends with him, and I don’t want to pretend things that happened never did. But I’m not giving the devil that button to push anymore either. Jesus says that it is better to have a millstone hung around your neck, and be dropped in the deepest part of the ocean than to hinder His little children. If anything, I feel sorry for that man, because I would hate to have that little nugget from the Bible haunting my sleep at night!
I know this is kind of morose for me to write about, but once in a while I need to be reminded that we all are bouncing around on this earth, bumping and crashing into other people’s lives. We should take care to be gentle with each other, as none of us are getting out of life without some scars….