THE SELF INDUCED VICTIM
Recently I had a rough day. A day where I took everything personally. “Why is everyone out to get me?!”
A day where I drowned in the pool of assumption for hours. “Help!”
A day where temper tantrums were a plenty. “I never get my way!”
Oh yeah. I also assigned magical qualities to someone. “He should know better!”
Yep it was on of those days. A Zachary Special Victim Unit kind of day. That’s right everyone. I’ve got a special victim unit and it’s all mine. Don’t you?
It’s a place where I make it all about me. A place where I have poor containment and blame someone for how I feel. “It’s all his fault!” A place where resentments grow stronger and stronger by the minute. “How dare they do that to me!” And a place where fear rules everything. “He’ll be angry with me if I ask him to do that.”
Like I said. Recently I had one of those days.
It started out okay. Got up. Made breakfast. Kissed my partner goodbye and left for work. And that’s where okay went out the window.
Something happened to me at work. A shift if you will. It started with me not asking for help and ended with my friend leaving for the day and not saying goodbye.
I was counting inventory at my store, something that I have to do once a month, and an operationally duty that my buddy at work usually helps me out with. Mind you without my having to ask. For whatever reason this particular day he didn’t help. And it bothered me.
Rather than say something to him, which seemed impossible to me in the moment, I continued counting my inventory. Breathing a little heavier each time I past him, signing a little deeper each time I checked something off my count list. I was trying to send messages through the air without opening my mouth. I wanted my buddy to magically know I was having a tough go of it and that I wanted him to help me. He didn’t get the memo. He remained parked behind the front desk watching a baseball game on his iPad.
The huffing and puffing continued, my resentment toward my buddy growing by the minute. Ask him to help Zach. Just ask. I couldn’t. I was afraid.
To top things off my inventory was wrong. Me?! A perfectionist. This must be some sort of mistake. Nope. Inventory was off. You know what I did? I blamed it all on my buddy telling myself that it must’ve been his mistake, not mine. I never make mistakes. And now his mistake was making my day more difficult than it needed to be. Yep. I was having a tough day. A special victim day.
So there I was sitting in the middle of my store, inventory off, mad at my buddy for not helping, stewing in a pile of my own you know what. Did I say something to my friend? Nope. Did I ask for help? Nope. But the blaming in my head was loud and clear. If he would only this…. If he would only that…. I was winning the argument too. In my head.
Why couldn’t I just ask for help? That would be the logical and simple thing to do. Folks when i’m in my own special victim unit logic is the last thing I use.
When I’m in this not so special place I use anger guilt blame shame and assumption to try and get my needs met. Try being the key word. I’ve tried it for years. Never works. Imagine that. Yet still I try.
When I’m in this place I also let fear run the show. Fear of asking for what I need, in this case help from my friend. My head telling me that if I ask he’ll be upset because he’s trying to watch a baseball game. Heaven forbid I interrupt him, even though I’m his boss, even though he’s at work.
The day, and pain, raged on. My buddy? Still sitting on his butt watching baseball. Why wont he come and save me?! I’m a special victim and need someone to rescue me! Yet tell him how I felt I could not. The day ended with him packing up his things and leaving without saying goodbye. I could tell that he didn’t like my performance.
That night I called a friend and processed my day. I told him about my inner temper tantrum and about my anger toward my friend. Get this. I asked how I should go about making an amends. “What?! Seriously?! An amends for what?” he asked. “Zach the only thing you didn’t do was ask for help” he said.
I was shocked. My deep rooted codependency had led me to believe that I had to apologize for something I didn’t even do. Sure I probably looked and sounded silly huffing and puffing as I stormed around the store but that’s my stuff. And I did it all to myself
I put myself in my own special victim unit place. Me and me alone. A place where the wounded little kid in me acts out, actually cries out, for someone to love him. To hold him. See him. And all because I’m afraid to tell someone how I feel. To tell someone what I need. To ask for help. A simple “hey buddy can you help me count this inventory?” would’ve worked just fine
So what could I have done differently? Well for starters I could’ve paused in the moment and checked in with myself. Usually for me when things start to derail I get a gut feeling/knowing that I should step away and check in with myself but more often than not I don’t and end up watching the train wreck unfold right before my eyes. This particular day was no different
A fear list would’ve been great for me in that moment too. Without fail had I paused and taken a moment to write down all my fears, getting them out of my head and down on paper, I would’ve seen them for what they really were, false evidence appearing real. I didn’t do that opting rather to let my fears run wild and get stronger throughout the day.
It’s tough stopping in the moment and checking in with ourselves. Heck, sometimes it seems down right impossible. But that’s where the work is. That’s where the growth comes from. Contrary action. Leaning into our discomfort and walking through it hand in hand with our little inner selves. Are we special? Very much so. Are we victims? Only if and when we allow ourselves to be.