The hardest part of being where I am, at least on my spiritual path, is not knowing how I got here. I know where I've been. And I've been there most of my life. I've been going around and around on what I now know to be the The Drama Triangle. (see here too: http://lynneforrest.com/html/the_faces_of_victim.html)
It is all about co-dependence. Check it out, I can almost guarantee ya you're on it too!! It would be very hard not to find yourself on it, in this day and age, with the dysfunction most of us grew up with. I can't really explain the triangle, which is why I linked to the Wikipedia for it, but I am learning how to stop jumping on it! And how to step off if someone else tries to pull me on. One way to explain it, is to think of it as boundaries. In the drama triangle, there are very unclear boundaries between any two people (or more) in any type of relationship. There is always a "victim" and that victim will either play into being the victim by behaving in the role of a martyr, i.e. "poor me," "it's not my fault!", and an overall attitude of helplessness. Or, they will play into the role of "rescuer," as an enabler, discounting themselves and their own happiness in order to make everyone else happy at their own expense, and at the same time trying to control everything and everyone around them. Then, there's the persecutor, who blames others for everything, is also very controlling, and abusive, verbally or physically. And in a relationship between two people, the roles are interchangeable, and continuously changing. I could be the martyr one minute and the abusive persecutor the next. And the strangest thing about it all, is that I find myself, and have spoken to others who know exactly what I mean, playing out the roles in my own head about myself and my own life!!! And I can do it in a very short span of time too!!!
Example: Me as Persecutor to my own self: Oh gosh, why did I yell at my kids?? I am SUCH a terrible Mom, I am so glad I am in therapy and working on this, cause I am just terrible and they are never going to get over what a bad mother they have had. *changing into Victim>>> But it's not my fault, they keep fighting and screaming at each other and it's driving me crazy! What am I going to do? I just don't know why they can't just share their damn toys w/out me having to step in and fix things all the time! I just need a break and will I ever get one? NO, of course I won't, so *and now into Rescuer/Enabler>>>>> I just need to suck it up, stop blaming them and take us all out to Chick-Fil-A for lunch. We don't have any money, but I can't take this anymore and I can't make dinner like this and then they'll know I'm sorry for yelling at them, they'll be distracted out of any further fighting, and life will be good again because wonderful me saved the day!!
The very sad part is, this has actually happened, it's a real example, not a theoretical one! :( So, you can see where there is self-doubt, and helplessness. I beat myself up for losing patience and not being able to handle my screaming/fighting children. Then I switch to putting the blame onto the children, completely avoiding the real situation and, ignoring my own needs for a real break, and load us all up and take us out to eat, which we can't afford (ignoring my financial needs)! Perfect one-woman drama- triangle-queen, all in my own head!! I am good. Ha-ha-ha! Ideally, the situation would be very different. Coming from a place of clear boundaries and no drama, I would have these two mantras in my head: "I hold others able to run their own lives," and "I am 100% responsible for what I create in my life." So, stepping out of the triangle, I recognize that I am the responsible adult in the house, and it is my job to, at some point, step in and lovingly re-direct the kids and help them learn to express whatever it is they are screaming about, so that they will actually become adults that can be held responsible for their own lives! It is very hard work, much harder than avoidance and Chick-fil-A, he-he! But, in the end, we all end up with feelings that have been listened to, a fairly descent compromise, and home-made fruit smoothies that are way better for us anyway!
My current therapist handed me a printout of the Drama Triangle on mine and my husband's first visit to her. This has to have been about two years ago, and I am just now able to understand it and see how it works, just these past few months. Before then, I just couldn't get myself into the right place in my head to be able to see it. I would catch my husband in a "role" and immediate start play Persecutor, not even knowing I was doing it!!! And I actually had to leave my head out of it and concentrate instead, on my Heart and Soul and to finally "get it." That's where things begin to get a little new-agey, a little more spiritual than what I've been talking about so far, and a LOT better than my life has ever been before! More on that another night...It's once again almost 2:30 in the morning (I think better at night!!) and I need to get some rest. I'm starting to think my Mom was right and maybe I should write a book....