This week, has been a year I tell you! (oh, hang on. Am I doing it again? 😉).
After a deep and all the feels #BearMode Monday morning (some of you may have seen my IG stories), we had an accident with Mr 2.5 that required a trip to the Emergency Department. Well by WE, I mean ME.
He had been laying happily on the ground and wanted me to get our wooden nutcracker ornaments for him to play with. They were on the shelf. I got them, turned around to bend down to given them to him. One slipped out of my hand and the sharp end of the base landed square on this eyebrow. Splitting it. And I’m not talking about a band aid situation.
Rewind to a couple of weeks ago, I had seen advise from NSW Health about strict new rules around visitors or access to public hospitals. I had been in a state of Fight or Flight for weeks about what all of this would mean should we need to take Mr 2.5 to ED (let’s not go into my birthing spiral here though lol).
The trip was quick, I was permitted to stay with my son, the GP, nurses and staff were fantastic. The GP did a fantastic job on the glue. I managed ok, despite the fact that Mitch was not allowed to come in with us. Mr 2.5 was so brave and understanding. There were definitely tears but bounced back incredibly quickly.
When I had returned to homeostasis later that night, I gave myself a moment to reflect on the past few hours. What learnings were here for me to make? How was this experience asking me to transform my mindset, shift beliefs or take inspired action?
First insight, Jess, do not stumble around in a pity party and maintain a constant state of stress and anxiety, IF you can just pick up your phone and ask a clarifying question (re the practical outcome of restrictions). BUT, along with this, it was clear that there was a lot for me to unpack here.
Firstly, what internal processes were at play? I turned to google ‘What benefits do people get from playing the victim? Google gave me an interesting article on Quillette by Cory Clark published on 21 February 2021.
Clark (2021) makes an interesting distinction between victimhood and signalling. Victimhood is defined as ‘the condition of having been hurt, damaged, or made to suffer’. Clark goes on to state that humans have evolved to empathise with the suffering of others, and to provide help as to compensate for or eliminate that suffering.
Subsequently, signalling suffering to others can be an effective strategy for acquiring resources. Clark states that victims may receive sympathy, attention, and social status, even financial support and other benefits.
Ok. So I was trying to tap into this empathy to meet needs within myself that I probably did not know were there by not taking action but continuing my metaphorical all night empathy demanding rager?
Clark says that being a victim can also generate certain kinds of power. It can provide a sense of psychological standing or legitimacy to speak on certain issues, it can justify the seeking of retribution and may even allow moral immunity by minimizing blame for a victim’s own wrongdoings.
Ok. So I was also positioning myself as someone with the right to be angry, disgruntled and dissociative?
Diving into my internal process around this, helped me to start to make sense as to why I hadn’t taken action. I had been feeding my sense of powerlessness (I love it apparently) by not asking questions and making assumptions; creating worst case scenarios and letting my mind play it out on a regular basis (keeping me in fight or flight, I was enjoying the adrenaline). I had subconsciously enjoyed the sympathy gazes when I expressed my concerns to those close to me about what would happen should we have to go to ED in the near future.
It is clear that this is not the only area of my life where I have subconsciously enjoyed the benefits of playing the victim. But it is not something I want to continue to keep as part of my experience.
I am by no means cured of my victimhood obsession by this one reflection session, but it is starting to be bought into the light.
Do you resonate with this experience? Is this showing up for you in areas of your life? How have you addressed it in the past or how will you address it in the future? Do you have further insights I need to consider?
On another note, I am still working on forgiving myself for being careless and dropping the nutcracker. Mr 2.5 forgave me the second after it happened, but self compassion and self forgiveness for this will take time.