My personal story around breaking free from victim mentality and co-dependence and the creation of the Personal Guidance System method!
**This is more of a story than anything else, but there are some real gems in there so I hope you enjoy and that it gives you a little more insight into me personally and what the Personal Guidance System method is really all about!**
I spent a lot of my adult life severely depressed, anxious and drifting between co-dependent relationships. By the last one, I had acknowledged that I was co-dependent, but wasn’t able to break free of that pattern with that particular person. When that relationship ended…I was done, for real this time!
I was determined,
Not to ever allow myself to be dependent on my partner to provide my own happiness in any other relationship. I knew how destructive this pattern was, because I had seen it ruin so many of my relationships with so many good men. I had observed, over and over again, the weight that being responsible for my happiness placed on their shoulders and knew that they had no choice but to eventually shrug it off and move on.
It was just a few months after I had made that decision that I started dating my now husband. We became very close, very quick and I did NOT want to screw this relationship up. It was way too important.
I decided that I needed help! I needed him to be just as aware of my tendencies as I was, so that he could recognize my patterns and help hold me accountable when things started to slide. I also recognized how closely related my struggles with victim mentality were to my co-dependency and so I decided to tackle both at once.
It was terrifying to admit these patterns to someone I had just met, to force myself to be that vulnerable and that exposed, but I wanted to be honest and upfront with him from the beginning. Plus, I really did want his help.
My husband is extremely observant and perceptive and can read almost anyone like an open book. He is very objective, matter of fact, and direct in the way that he speaks. He very rarely allows his emotions to overpower his logic and had no problem telling me exactly when I was acting like a victim and exactly when my words or actions were showing co-dependent tendencies.
Every single time he pointed something out to me, it triggered me big time. For a very long time, my habitual and instinctual reaction to his reminders was to get super emotional, to feel judged then become righteously indignant, sulky and eventually depressed.
Every time he pointed out my actions I felt inferior, like a failure. I was ashamed of my emotions, because I was doing the classic co-dependency thing of putting him up on a pedestal! I admired his cool logic and how controlled he seemed to be, even in the face of my emotional meltdowns and I felt like my lack of emotional control made me inferior.
But this is what I had asked for!
I had specifically asked him to help me, by holding me accountable for my habits, and while one part of me appreciated his commitment, the victim part of me hated it every single time he did. Each time, I needed to intentionally calm down that victim and remind myself that this is what I asked for, what I wanted.
I had to remind myself that he wasn’t being mean or patronizing or acting superior, I was just viewing his reminders through a lens of inferiority and victim-hood.
It took EXTREME determination on my part and extreme patience and persistence on his part, to help me break my co-dependent and victim mentality habits. The struggle was REAL! I had to force myself to look my own failings and fears in the eye and decide again, every single day, that I wanted to change. I needed to figure out a way to use my emotions to my advantage instead of allowing them to control my thoughts, words and behaviors.
One day, after he asked me something in that logical way of his (AGAIN), during a time when I was stressed and feeling like a victim (AGAIN), I snapped. In hindsight that snapping was actually something clicked into place. I told him that I needed time to process my emotions before I could give him any kind of logical answer to his question. I was so angry (I can’t even remember why now) that I could barely speak, never mind say something that I actually meant or give him an answer to the question he had asked.
He said, that he had a hard time waiting for answers because he didn’t like to leave things unfinished or unsaid, but that he would wait.
It took me three days.
I barely spoke to him about anything more than the bare essentials (and I hated that, because I knew form previous relationships what it felt like to be given the cold shoulder), but I still didn’t know why I was so angry and I determined that when I finally did speak about it, I was going to speak “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God”!
Unbeknownst to me, those three days of emotional processing was the start of my Personal Guidance System method. It took me five more years of practicing before I refined it into a sequential process that I could use consistently and that was simple enough for other people to use, but those where the first days of its creation.
During that time, I allowed myself to feel fully, without trying to hide it or pretending I wasn’t upset. I wrote in my journal for hours and hours and then cried and felt deeply some more. I spent every hour I could by myself. I finally came to the realization that all the anger I felt towards him was because I felt like with every word he spoke, or every question he asked, that he was speaking down to me, like a teacher trying to reach a particularly dense student. I also realized that I simply had never allowed myself to feel like an equal in a relationship before.
This was just old conditioning and that it was not the truth of who he was OR who I was. It was not true in the slightest, it was just a thought pattern that I had allowed myself to think my entire life. My emotional breakdowns, my depression, my anxiety, my overwhelm, were my body’s way of letting me know that enough was enough!
My emotions had been trying to tell me about this limiting belief for YEARS! They had been my guides all along!
I was amazed and so relieved to finally understand that my emotions were not a weakness and they certainly did not make me inferior in any way. My emotions were the key to understanding myself at the deepest and most intimate level.
That was a life changing moment for me. It was like a boulder had been lifted from my shoulders and that moment was the first time I allowed my self to think that, one day, I might be able to love myself enough to not need anyone else’s love to make me feel whole.
I remember emerging from our bedroom, walking up behind him and placing my hand on his shoulder and asking, “Can we talk?”. He looked me in the eye and replied, in that serious way of his,
“Yes, as long as we can hold hands.”
At the time, I thought this was funny, but later I realized that, though my husband has his faults like every other human, he is a very wise man. To this day, we still hold hands or touch in some way when we are communicating in a vulnerable way.
Physical touch is a silent acknowledgment of “I’m here. I’m listening. I love you and I’m not going anywhere!”
I had spent 3 days creating a framework for getting to the root cause of my emotions. Now, I was now able to explain my emotions in a purely logical way and thereby authentically and accurately communicate with my husband in a language he could easily understand.
From that day on,
Our relationship changed and so did my relationship with myself. They simultaneously and symbiotically deepened and blossomed and grew and strengthened. I stopped being afraid of my emotions and started relying on them for guidance. I was able to analyze the information they gave me to find the real reasons, thoughts and beliefs behind them.
I began having patience with and compassion for myself because I had come to this understanding that I could be different from my husband and yet, still be his equal. Equally deserving of love and respect.
Compassion led to acceptance, acceptance led to kindness and kindness led to love and sooner than I ever could have imagined, I was looking into my own eyes in the mirror, saying “I love you” out loud and meaning it. If you have not yet been able to do that, it is a powerful moment and powerful practice to continue for the rest of your life.
I had figure out a way to truly get to KNOW myself and LOVE myself and allow myself to fully EXPERIENCE myself. I started to feel like I really knew who I was, what I believed, what I wanted, what I didn’t want, how I wanted to feel and who I wanted to grow to be.
I loved myself enough to use this knowledge to create change in my life:
To set boundaries that felt right and good to me and that demonstrated to other people how to love me and respect me.
To communicate in an accurate, authentic and vulnerable way to more and more people, not just my husband.
To start asking for what I wanted and supporting people when they expressed their needs and desires.
To start taking actions that brought me closer to my goals.
Moral of the story?
Ask for help. Find someone to hold you accountable for working with determination and persistence towards your goals.
Remind yourself that you asked for help and become aware that parts of you may try to fight back and rebel.
Your emotions are your super-power. They are a guidance system that is there to help you analyze your subconscious and uncover the truths about who you really are.
It is only once we discover the truth of ourselves that we can accurately and authentically communicate with other people and that communication is how we grow, deepen and strengthen our relationships with others AND with ourselves.
When communication with a loved one is hard, hold hands, or make physical contact in some way.
Someone who is your opposite, who triggers you, is your greatest teacher. Try your best to be grateful for them and to show your appreciation for them.
You are powerful, no matter what your current tendencies are. You are able to turn your life around, no matter where you are starting from.
If this article inspired you, resonated with you or helped you in any way, please like, share, comment. Let me know which parts you liked or didn’t like, what questions you have, what you have going on in your own life. Remember, your first coaching call with me is always free, so let’s chat!
Sending all my love to you as always.