Miss Havisham is the central character in Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations who was jilted at the alter and chose to wear her wedding dress for the remainder of her life, her wedding cake uneaten on the table, living in isolation and having all her clocks stopped at 20 minutes to nine, the moment she received the letter informing her that her groom to be would not be arriving.
The syndrome goes by many names: the Treasured Wound, the Victim Mentality or even the Martyr Complex but there is a human tendency to give away our personal power by holding outside events responsible for our lives. The degree may vary but every last one of us has at times allowed others and outside conditions, current or past or feared future, to have too much sway over us. I know that even a half century past, I still hold my mother accountable for certain aspects of my personality. I like to think that I’ve done enough work so that the dysfunctional aspects are muted or removed but at times I wonder if there isn’t a bit of denial going on.
Awareness is a powerful tool in personal growth. When I listen to my inner and outer talk, it is humbling to notice how easy it is to attribute my feelings and reactions to the words and actions of others. This alertness, this realization helps me stay centered, reclaim my power. What others do is their karma, how I react is mine.
“I decry the injustice of my wounds, only to look down and see that I am holding a smoking gun in one hand and a fistful of ammunition in the other.” – Craig D. Lounsbrough
“Your complaints, your drama, your victim mentality, your whining, your blaming, and all of your excuses have NEVER gotten you even a single step closer to your goals or dreams. Let go of your nonsense.” – Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
“Where I had felt a victim, I had become a determiner by recognizing I had choices. When considering a purchase, I stopped saying, “I can’t afford it,” and started saying, “That’s not where I want to spend that amount of money.” – Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Dance: Moving to the Rhythms of Your True Self
As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier