My moods used to run from panic-mode because I felt overwhelmed to complete procrastination, where nothing got done. I could see the pattern clearly but found myself dumbfounded when it was time to act. Creating excuses to justify my behavior to myself and others, my world was filled with deflated expectations and shame. I convinced myself I was too busy putting out fires to put any effort into improving my situation.

Intentions were often my go-to defense. Of course, I never meant to hurt anyone. The results of my actions that hurt people were just unfortunate collateral damage where I had no control. Self-pity for the lack of respect I felt was manufactured to soothe my ego. I transformed into the ultimate victim.

Life circumstances provide an opportunity for victimization for us all. When intent is more important than results, chaos will ensue. With intent as motivation, I tended to avoid unpleasant consequences or situations requiring discipline outside my comfort zone. Facing consequences of past behavior was not part of my plan. I learned to manipulate situations in order to off-load guilt onto those around me.

I learned to play the game from my parents. It is how they dealt with hard emotions. Feelings evoking memories of unpleasant memories are to be avoided at all costs. Each of us found different ways of processing. One of my sisters tried to fit herself into the box my parents created. Another one of my sisters understood the game being played and watched others to anticipate reactions.

Having been told to be quiet and conform, I rebelled, trying to punish them for the pain I felt. Reckless behavior earned more attention, fueling my rebellion. I created a world where I felt in control and blamed everyone around me for the consequences in my life, refusing to admit I was failing in almost every aspect of my life.

The biggest obstacle I had to overcome was recognizing the behavior in myself. I find it easy to pick apart other’s relationships and offer quality guidance. It is a process to recognize the habitual manipulations and attempts to control situations. Recognizing the pattern in my parents has helped me to focus inward and compare my behavior to theirs. The patterns often remain, just executed differently.

Discipline resulting in success is never an accident. Often, I would dream of the day where life would not be hard anymore. I would wake up and those I adore would worship me without judgment or complaint. I was shattered when I realized the day never comes where life is easy. Every day is a result of decisions we made. Tragedy strikes us all, though some use rough experiences to expand their strength.

Each day is a choice to survive or plan your life. Holding yourself accountable and revealing the buried emotions is a process. Choices must be made to pick the hard way. I learned complaining makes a hard situation unbearable. Finding hope and trusting yourself to complete what you set your mind to takes practice if you have never done it before. Failure is inevitable. It is a skill to fail forward. We each have our own methods for accepting mistakes, learning from them, and not taking it personally.

All the wonderful things in life are not the result of winning the emotional lottery. Working through unfelt emotions and clearing them out is painful and draining. Life sometimes presents events we cannot ignore, but most of our worries and concerns are not as tragic as we would like to believe. Forcing myself to grieve the little girl I wanted to be while forgiving the little girl I was has been one of the bravest things I have ever done.

I always wanted to be proud of who I was but not willing to change who I had let myself become simply because I was afraid, scared I would put in the work and would not like the result. My suffering consumed my personality and how others saw me. Pity was offered regularly, so I was effective. The habit of victimization and believing I had no control over how I viewed myself often prevented me from being honest with myself about my motives and reasoning.

There is no manual to be the person you want to be. It will consist of trial and error. I learned to watch others and ask questions, keeping my mouth shut while paying attention to their answers. Risky behaviors or acts of defiance were slowly replaced with commitment and dedication. Pride in myself started to grow when results became expected.

Intentional acknowledgment of my contribution to negative situations has led to trust with those around me, opening the door for others to follow my path. Actions reflect priorities. Previous actions to avoid responsibility have been replaced with acceptance of the natural consequences of my life. I reach out to others I believe can assist, while humbly accepting any advice or wisdom.

While I cannot control the thoughts I have, I learned to select thoughts that get my attention or reaction. If a situation I have no control over is upsetting me, I choose to try letting go of the emotions attached. Sometimes the process takes months, while other times it can be processed immediately. I learned to give myself a break for not knowing then what I know now. I appreciate the struggle because I am stronger now.

If you are living in your intentions, decide to stop. Catch yourself and correct. Stop making excuses for your (or other’s) behavior. Take responsibility for every action and word spoken. Raise your expectations of yourself and set reasonable goals. Force yourself to achieve the goals. Learn from mistakes and heartbreak. Decide you are no longer a victim and start taking steps to be the person you have dreamed of your whole life.

Angela Boggs is a writer in Fort Worth, Texas. She obtained her degree in Adolescent & Developmental Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University in order to become a better parent and stepparent. She enjoys helping others achieve greatness by sharing her path and providing tools for emotionally stable lives. Her hobbies include writing, hiking, travelling and mentoring. 

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