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….
17 responses to “Am I Happening To Other People?”
By and large, I think that is very astute, Bird. But my husband’s experience as a victim testifies to the fact that everyone is different, and every situation is different. I find you to be quite merciful here, but one time, one of his therapists said something very pertinent. There are several kinds of evil:the thoughtless kind, the ‘stuck in a pattern kind’ and the “I will look you in the eye, and gather every resource I can to cause you as much harm as possible” kind. We can marshal a response to the first two, but the only appropriate response to the third one is to run. Far away, and preferably into the arms of God. Only supernatural intervention can protect us from that kind of evil.
The fact that his father was the perpetrator is testimony to the fact that we don’t know really know the extent of the fall, and how scary this world can be, unless we are firmly in the hands of our Heavenly Father.
I hear you about therapists, too. Some are pretty goofy. Some though, are really Jesus with hands, and I thank God for Godly ones he sent us. Keep it up, Baby Bird, you are on the right path.
I do know that we all have to find our own way, using the tools that work best for ourselves. Being highly self-analytically inclined, I would get annoyed with a therapist that seemed to be on a weird path. For instance, one of them insisted I had repressed memories of being raped as a small child. Here’s the thing. No I don’t. And she came up with this before I had really told her anything. I only know what worked for me, in the end, and I truly don’t want to diminish what someone else has gone through. But there is hope, even in this lifetime.
As for the human beings that hurt others on purpose for fun, God has His eyes on what you do, and there will be vengeance. Tread at your own risk. I can with all sincerity say that the people who hurt me so badly have some pretty rotten lives right at the moment…God is not Mocked. 😉 Thank you for your perspective, Victoria. It is absolutely valid!
I have “poor me” stories too… I feel as if I am happening to people, that I burden them, and it shocks them when I disappear as well. It’s not like I mean to think the way I do, it just happens. I was a victim for 17 years of many things, but I can’t blame the out comes on anyone else but me. I choose how I act and how I let things effect me. But I can now say this, Therapists are a JOKE! I have seen 4 of them… none of them helped… not even in the least bit. One of them actually made it worse. Anyways, I just wanted to say, this was a powerful piece of writing and it really got to me. Thank you for sharing this.
You know, you’ve already done the really hard part. Admitting that you are responsible for your own actions. I think you are heading in the right direction. Good for you. I know it isn’t easy, and you have my respect! I’m here for you should you need a friendly ear!
i felt your story all the way through. I have been down that road more times than I care to admit. Today, I am doing better, but with no support, except my followers, I am alone, with the care of my brother. I tend to fall in to that trap of the poor me. I always wanted someone to recognize me for what I have brought to this land I live in. I was not shown love as a child in the way I felt I needed, so I still find it a huge need in my life. I want to b patted on the back, or someone to say they care. I am strong for the most part, and I am a survivor in most situations, but I still slip in to that poor me more than I want to
Everyone has an Earthly Right to feel sorry for themselves. Life is really hard sometimes. It seems especially hard for the caregivers, if you as me. But I can only imagine what your Heavenly Bank Account looks like! If you look at your really hard life from the Biblical perspective, you have a lot laid up in heaven. If I might venture my rather uneducated opinion, I would suggest you need some social contact. Is there no one from a Home Health Care facility around there that could keep an eye on him once a week or so in order for you to be able to go be Terry the Human for awhile? Even the most battle-weary soldiers get some down time to recharge!! I won’t encourage you to stay trapped in Poor Me, but I completely understand how hard it is for you to focus on the happier parts of life right now. I’m saying a prayer for you today. You need a break!!
i get a break for a few hours on saturdays. also thanks for caring, it means a lot
Maybe you need a whole night, not just a lunch or dinner amount of time…And you’re welcome.. 😉
Most therapists for me have been a waste of time and money, except one. She sat me and my husband down in her little room, and with tears in her eyes, got down on her knees and BEGGED us to put off getting a divorce for a year, while I went through treatment for PTSD. It was the best advice ever given to us! (This was many many years ago, and we’re still happily married now, 26 years and counting!) She also told us that if we fought over something for more than twenty minutes, that there may be more people in the room than what we were seeing, usually meaning the ghosts and unwanted luggage of our parents and all their ‘shoulds’. It took a while to separate through all that past gunk, to find out what was really happening with each other, and what was really just our parents issues.
Some of my Christian friends could not understand how I could completely forgive my father for physically abusing me as a child. But even before I learned more about spiritual warfare, I somehow KNEW that when he was hitting me, he was not in his right mind. Demons were egging him on to do it. And for me, that made all the difference in the end.
Thanks for sharing, and Shalom,
I think therapy requires a certain level of trust that I wasn’t able to ever achieve with them. I’m glad you found someone to really help you guys. For me, I’ve always been a bit skeptical about repressed memories and handing off blame. Yes. I was sexually abused. But I knew that if I decided to stop this self-destructive behavior, I would. It was a long road, and I still deal with some issues. But it quite literally was my God and my family that helped me heal. Frankly, because the trust was already there.
Everyone’s stories are different, and I don’t presume to know or understand in any real depth, the scars other people carry from abuse. I know only that mine went on for a lot of years at an age when I should have been figuring out who I really was, and it caused me to be emotionally ostracized from my brothers and sisters. Simply put, I was alone, ashamed, dirty, falsely accused, and suicidal with no one to help me in the beginning of adulthood. People simply couldn’t be trusted. Period.
I seriously considered suicide. But, I was afraid of going to hell, so I was literally caught in a hell here on earth with no escape.
I was with my husband for several years before I even realized I trusted him. It was a terrifying moment when I understood that he had worked his way into my heart; that I actually cared if he stayed or if he went. I sincerely fought against feeling that way about him, or really, any man. My kids never had that problem, but adults sure did.
It’s been a long, winding road to get to here. I am sincere when I say that I forgive this man. And that has to be God, right? I always hold on to the scripture that we will be judged according to the mercy we show each other. I’ve forgiven the really big angry wounds caused by the ones who should have been taking care of me….And God, true to His Word, has always, always dealt with me mercifully. How can I then turn around and not do the same to others?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts… I appreciate the opportunity to understand other points of view.
wow..seems like this is me now..poor me..i am having all kinds of issues..my health..finances, many other things..doctors are pushing me around meds after meds..insurance being taken, family isssues it never ends..would love to have you pray for me..
I sure will! God is bigger than even all those things!
thank you so much
Hello there! This blog post couldn’t be written much better! Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this. I’ll send this article to him. Pretty sure he’s going to have a good read. I appreciate you for sharing!
“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.”
Well said!! Thanks for directing me to this post. I think you’re awesome and will you be a source of strength and wisdom for me. Our past hurts will be used to help others, at least that is my hope. God bless you Bird and I’m so glad to have met you and found your site.
Same here, byhisgrace211!! God bless you too!