When Victimhood Feels Good

Sometimes I really enjoy righteous indignation and hurt feelings.   I’m not proud to say that.

But sometimes I do.

Tybee  June 2008I can actually enjoy the feeling that I’ve been wronged.  I can roll it around in my mouth and savor it, enjoy the bitterness as I swallow it, enjoy the closing down of my heart, enjoy feeling completely justified with this anger, this hurt.

I can even get attached to that feeling and to telling myself over and over the story of my victimhood, of my being wronged.  I can wake with that feeling and carry it around with me all day, taking it out to look at it again when I have a free moment, refreshing my hurt and my anger.  I can take it to bed with me at night and replace my gratitude prayers with it, my new “prayer” becoming the retelling of my story of how I was wronged, how I still am wronged.  Or how I’m forgotten.  Or neglected.  Or lied about.  Or cheated. Or any number of ways in which I am the blameless (or almost blameless) victim.

There are myriad different stories of my victimhood.

And I can enjoy each one and its retelling for a seemingly infinite number of times.

And you know what?  I have a feeling I’m not alone.  All I have to do is look around at our world.

And then I have to realize my way to help change the world is to change myself.

In a post this past fall, I wrote about how I had put down the boulders of resentment.  That is how I started disengaging from my stories of victimhood.  When I feel that resentment again, when I feel myself retelling those stories or starting new ones, I stop.

I stop, and I remember how much better I felt when I woke that morning and realized that my resentments were mostly gone.

I remember how much lighter I felt, how my heart felt more open, how I felt happier, more free.  And how I still feel that way.

So now, when I feel myself being drawn into that old pattern of enjoying my victimhood, I stop.  I may already be starting to feel that old pleasure of starting one of those resentment stories.

But I stop.

Because I know how much better the pleasure of love and forgiveness and openheartedness feels than the ugly, sticky, stinking, rotten, festering pleasure of anger and hurt feels.

And when I stop, I acknowledge my progress toward being a person who is free of anger and resentment and grudges.

I am not that person yet, but I get closer every time I choose to disengage from those negative feelings and hurtful stories.

Yes, it’s a long path.  And I find myself much too often bending over to pick up resentment.

But I’m catching myself and putting it back down.

Because, really, who wants to walk next to a person carrying a big old load of victimhood and resentment?


And I’ve decided that I don’t want to be that person anymore.  I don’t have to be.  I have a choice.  I can change.

And so I am.


Sunrise Tybee Island, June 2008

Sunrise Tybee Island, June 2008


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s