There is a victim that used to live inside of me. I hosted that parasite for far too long but the time came where I absolutely knew that I had to evict the unwelcome beast. I thought long and hard about how the break up would go down.
The great thing is, unlike most contractual arrangements where there are legal obligations to sever the arrangement, I was free to make my own rules of disengagement. I thought about what words to use and what rituals I might need to perform to be rid of victimhood for good. The very process of pondering what I would call the deed made it all so clear to me. I thought about words that might help victim understand the deal.
I went so far as to make a list of words that described breaking up; split up, back out, bail out, bow out, chicken out, cop out, sever ties, cut loose, desert, discard, discontinue, drop, part company, drop out, duck out, fly the coop, give up the ship, end, kiss goodbye, dissolve, leave, leave behind, separate, let go, opt out, pull out, divorce, quit, disband, let’s just be friends, relinquish, run out on, dump, ship out, stop, wind down, surrender, toss out, ditch, throw over, vacate, walk out on, wash hands of, and withdraw.
Something literally jumped off the page at me as I reread the words. Can you see it? It was all about what I NEEDED TO DO, not what victim needed to do. Victim wasn’t going anywhere. Victim was happy, content and thrived in the co-dependent relationship. This is all so obvious to me in hind-site. I had spent decades waiting for victim to take up resident elsewhere and give up me as its home. It wasn’t ever going to happen unless I took action. How did I do that? I reread all the words attempting to make an action plan. Many of the words seemed to leave me bamboozled with what it would look like, until it came to me. The answer was in the one word I had never even put on the list and when the word came to me the action plan was neatly, completely and divinely packaged in with the word. Abandon! That’s right I would simply abandon victim.
The definition of abandon is to cease to support or look after. Victim could not survive if I did not allow it to. So on that day, a long held and one sided contract quietly dissolved. The goodbye was almost non-existent but kind and sealed with a huge exhalation and abdication of any lingering residual guilt or regret.
It felt a little strange for a while, navigating without a force that had driven the bus for so long. Realignment ushered in a lightness, a joy and a new found freedom that what was and continues to be very welcome. None of us like to be abandoned or think of abandoning another. But victim wasn’t real which I only fully understood in that long intentional brave deep exhalation.
By Beth Montgomery