How many people do you need to cut out of your life to feel empowered and safe?
If I told you none, you would call me out-of-touch. You would label me as part of the problem.
Before you remove a loved one - a partner, a parent, a sibling, a friend - from your life, take five minutes, take a breath, and, in this moment, take a look at the deeper truths of disconnection.
The Disconnect Trend
Everyone knows that mental health depends on identifying and eliminating the toxic people, the narcissists, and the baddies from your life. In fact, victim versus perpetrator is the media trend, the therapy, and coaching trend, the buzzword of our world. Social media, newsfeeds, even reputable news outlets, flood the wire with advice on how to identify the bad people who make your life hard. You must weed them out!
- A comic does a standup bit mocking Italians - I’m victimized because I’m Italian.
- A political rival is elected and I need a mental health day.
- A protest against what I think to be a righteous cause, causes me mental harm.
- The professor didn’t use your preferred pronoun? Drop that class. Get her fired.
- Your mother-in-law doesn’t agree with your politics. Cut her out of your life - and your spouse’s life.
- Your partner has anger issues? Break up. Tell everyone how toxic he is.
- Your local church is protesting abortion? Scream at them. Throw things at them.
You’re justified. They are toxic.
Don’t deal. Don’t engage. Don’t discuss with respect and presence. Don't examine your viewpoint or behavior. Attack and blame and run away. It’s easy.
The witch hunt wave emerged from our victim-culture. We have expanded the term victim to include those who feel uncomfortable, insulted, or misunderstood. What was once a true victim of violence (war, rape, assault) has become any person who feels as if he or she is the target of a joke or a member of a fringe or misunderstood lifestyle.
It’s gone too far.
But, we ask, what’s the big deal? Tough love here: It is a big deal. Not only do we accept victimization as an end in and of itself, but also we avoid true healing and empowerment.
Aside from the chilling effect on free speech and artistic expression, the constant default to I’m triggered and I’m victimized has created three harmful effects:
The Victim Club. The societal victim crowd celebrates their victimhood as if it’s a position of honor. They decry personal responsibility and embrace the victimhood as a powerful position. The new victim seeks constant recognition of the status. You see it on social media. The woman who is always in abusive relationships - posting how every date, every guy, is abusive and toxic. The person whose lifestyle or choices are a flag to wave - I’m the victim here - I won’t be stopped! Everyone is in search for an oppressor so they can join the poor-me tribe. What was once a rare condition of perpetual victimhood has become a status: I’m a victim. I’m morally and socially superior. See: Why Is Mental Illness on the Rise?
What is a victim? A victim is a person who suffered abuse, allowed abuse, tolerated abuse, invited abuse. Or, in this society, a victim can be a person who merely defines another’s behavior as abusive. Victimhood permits excuse: The victim can’t function, needs puppy rooms, misses work and class, disconnects from family and friends…
Discarding relationships. Victimization becomes the excuse to avoid engaging with the other person - and to escape a relationship instead of working through difficulties. Instead of examining symbiotic dysfunction in the relationship, any conflict becomes the victim versus the perpetrator. The distinction between who is the victim and who is the perpetrator is almost never cut and dry. Those who embrace victimization deny their own aggressiveness and destructive impulses - so the other is a threat, and the victim is vulnerable and morally superior. It’s okay to not talk to Mom ever again because she triggered you. It’s okay to divorce because he’s toxic. There are no longer two sides to every issue. It’s all in-group angels versus the out-group demons.
And, perhaps, the discarding of relationships is far more widespread than we realize. We’ve become far too tolerant of the practice. I recall a research project I performed as an undergrad. The ability to walk away from family, tribe, town, became possible in our modern society. We no longer embrace respect, compassion, and forgiveness when we can just walk away. We no longer remain at a job for forty years. We quit job after job - whenever we become uncomfortable. We divorce - sometimes repeatedly. We surf groups of friends. We disconnect from parents and children.
No one holds the one who disconnects accountable.
Objectification of The Other. The victim mindset primes society to lack empathy for the pain and suffering of the other, the toxic, the labeled person. Where we once sought to understand the other person, we now categorize and attack.
Why do you attract toxic people into your life?
What are you doing to create the toxicity?
What does labeling the other person accomplish for you? (Excuse, avoidance…)
The One Thing YOU Can Do
You can no longer blame your genetics. Or your parents. Or your socio-economic status. You cannot point to your toxic boss or crisis-junkie sibling. You cannot blame the other person’s perception or life choices.
To take radical, personal responsibility is to agree the buck stops here. With you.
Bizzie Gold, the Founder of The School of Sustainable Self-Mastery and Break Method, often says: The only thing you can be 100% certain about and control 100% is your response.
As long as you point at the other, you escape any personal responsibility. And you escape changing yourself.
Take Radical Personal Responsibility
Understand that victimhood is a choice. And not an empowering one. Ask yourself: What does victimhood allow you to do or not do?
Realize that in any toxic relationship, you will find symbiotic dysfunction between the parties. Each person feeds the other person’s unconscious brain patterns. When you change, your communication changes - and so does the other person.
Recognize that if YOU are triggered, the reaction is in your control. Ask yourself what you can do to change YOU.
Assigning blame to justify your behavior keeps you stuck in your script - in your subconscious brain patterns, in your self-sabotage.
So you have to keep running.
START LIVING. AUTHENTICALLY.
Get started with a Brain Pattern Assessment to get your Brain Pattern Hypothesis today!
Or schedule time with Gordon, our Lead Advisor, to help you get started with any Break programming TODAY.