Self-inflicted pain is often misdiagnosed. There’s something within a lot of us that just desires to be a victim. We can’t bear the thought that we’ve caused our own pain. It has to be someone else’s fault. Sad, but true.
We’re coming off a week where a college football player was allegedly duped into believing that he had an online girlfriend for 3 years, a woman he claimed to be madly in love with even though he had never met her and had only seen a photo of her. Depending on what you’re willing to believe, when he found out he was being played, he either kept the lie going until it was exposed (which is what I believe) or he was just too embarrassed to be forthcoming when he found out the facts. Either way, it’s clear that relationships aren’t what they used to be nor are regular, testosterone-filled young men.
Isn’t this so like us in our “normal” relationships? At some point, when things fail to line up as they should, we find all of the reasons we can to keep the lie going. And when it all comes crashing down, we look for sympathy rather than a mirror. We look for a shoulder to cry on rather than look for someone to give us a dose or reality. We pass all blame before we accept any.
Like this young football player, we look to play the victim rather than acknowledge the part we’ve been playing: co-conspirator. We look for people to rally around us and tell us that it doesn’t matter when we started to look the other way. If we didn’t start the lie, then we bear no responsibility for choosing to believe it when we knew it was in fact a lie. We refuse to acknowledge the fact that our part in the destruction of us begins once we notice the dynamite and do little to nothing to diffuse it.
So, I took a look at three things that can possibly describe you when your situation goes south. Remember, rarely is it just the other person’s fault. There are almost always signs when people are looking to mistreat us. We often ignore them if it’s a relationship that we really want to hold onto. However, if we really want to heal properly, we have to confront everyone involved with causing us pain. Sometimes, that means having a talk with yourself.
It seems that we all want to take credit when things are going well. When we fall in love, there may even be that playful argument about who pursued who or whose idea it was to make it official. Yes, everybody wants their name on a successful relationship. But when things fall apart, nobody’s willing to take the blame. In fact, if we’re the ones that have been mistreated, we often act as if we had no part in the failure. But I would caution you that the downfall of a relationship is often about what you know, when you knew it and what you chose to do about it.
We are often complicit in our own pain because we choose to look the other way. We know something’s wrong, but we roll with it. We hold on to failing relationships for selfish reasons. We either don’t want to be alone, we believe that love will conquer all or the worst reason of all, we want to keep up appearances. The truth of the matter will always be that once we feel as if we’re being mistreated in a relationship and we do nothing about it, it’s no longer just an assault on our hearts by a perpetrator. There are also self inflicted wounds.
It’s so easy to assess blame when we’re in pain, but often times, that blame belongs right at home. Yes, it sucks to know that it’s your fault too, but that’s just the harsh truth sometimes. When people conspire to break our hearts, they often have a co-conspirator in us. We give them the ammunition, and they keep firing. And in the event that we didn’t provide the firepower, we act as if we’re bulletproof, willing to take all of the pain that’s dished out.
We shouldn’t spend as much time placing blame as we do accepting blame. Granted, it may not be all your fault someone mistreated you, but there are times when it goes on longer than it should because we’ve seen the signs and promptly ignored them. We can be our own worst enemy because of what we allow people to do to us in the name of love. The truth of the matter is, there’s going to come a point where we realize that we weren’t just played as fools, we allowed it. At that point, how can you continue to just blame the liar and not the one that allowed the lies?
What is all of this really about? Taking responsibility for our role in what happens in our lives. The ultimate responsibility for your heart rests with you. I know we like to tell those that we’ve fallen in love with to take good care of our heart, but if you won’t protect it with all you have, you can’t leave that responsibility up to others. Besides, if you run into the wrong person, you’ll find that you’re dealing with someone that will break your heart in order to protect their own. Most people that hurt will do so out of fear of being hurt.
Is it true that there are times when we just run into the wrong people with the worst intentions? Absolutely. But there’s an out when you find out who they are. That out isn’t trying to change them, hoping they see the light or ignoring what you see. That out is taking action on your own behalf, rather than hoping that someone is compassionate enough not to hurt you. People often exist in our lives the way we allow them to. It’s bad enough that we encounter people that are emotionally irresponsible. It’s worse when we become that way to our own detriment.
Understand that love was never meant to be an excuse for allowing someone to mistreat you. As soon as you become aware of what’s happening to you and you do nothing about it, the end results become at least partially your fault. It’s always been easier to blame someone else as opposed to blaming ourselves. But if you fail to acknowledge the mistakes of history, you will repeat them. We all understand that love can sometimes be painful. But what we also must understand is that was never the plan.
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