Burnt offerings? What's that got to do with
anything? Read on...
Too often victims of abusive
backgrounds are unaware of their anger, let alone their rage. They see themselves
as loving people and would be shocked to hear that they are in fact very, very angry.
The problem is that they are in denial of their anger.
I know a young lady who is a sweetie. She is
pretty, outgoing, chatty, personable - and codependent. Let us call her Bambi. She is
involved with an egotistical and angry young man. Everyone but Bambi sees that he
does not treat her well, but she adores him. She rationalizes remaining with him by
constantly talking about how much better he is towards her now.
Her mom, and favorite role model, was a Class A Victim. She
never discovered her power. She got out of a bad marriage to an angry man, but
stayed angry and remained stuck in victim role - constantly putting her ex-husband down.
Unable to take her power and negotiate a viable co-parenting relationship with him, she
focused on the wrongs he did to her and their child. She spent lots of energy convincing
others of her plight and gaining their sympathy and understanding. Bambi and mom got along
real well. They saw eye-to-eye and were united on how awful dad is. Granted, Dad is
an angry guy and Bambi has a right to be angry with some of his behavior. But it is
unfortunate how much energy she spends finding every opportunity to complain about what he
does not do for her - and virtually no energy appreciating what he does do.
Bambi has no clue she is angry. In fact, Bambi has no clue,
period. Her superficial world is centered around playing up to those who can do for
her, or those whom she can please. She has virtually no insight into who she is and what
she is feeling. She is terrified of what lies inside and avoids spending any time
there. Fifty percent of her chatty but trivial conversation is pure noise:
complaint, complaint, complaint about this one and that one, with a little gossip thrown
in for good measure. The other fifty percent is directed at being entertaining and getting
liked. Despite the forced undertone, she is pretty enough and young enough to get away
with it. For the most part, it works.
But, she doesn't always turn on the charm. Bambi blew it big
time with disrespectful and passive-aggressive angry behavior towards her step-mom. No
matter what this woman did, no matter how hard she tried - and she did - Bambi found a way
to ridicule her, put her down, and to call her behavior self-serving - when it was
not. Bambi blew it because she rejected a stepmother who badly wanted to befriend and
Bambi blew it again with another newcomer into her family.
Numerous acts of kindness were ignored or discounted. There was never a "Thank
You," nor an acknowledgement. Bambi's behavior and attitude ranged from plausible
sins of omission to thinly veiled contempt and disrespect. The disrespect was artfully
conducted in a manner that was subtle and almost socially appropriate. Had this individual
levied accusations, she would have looked petty at best. Daddy taught his daughter well.
Bambi rationalized her "inability," (i.e.,
refusal) to engage with this individual by innocently proclaiming her fragility and
inability to cope - one of the tricks she relied on to manipulate susceptible
others. An inappropriate slap-in-the face "gift" to this individual cemented the
end of any potential relationship. Once again, Bambi blew it by regarding a well-intended
person who cared about her (and still does, though she won't put up with disrespect) with
This lovely young woman is a lost soul. In using
manipulative and passive-aggressive acts to garner support or alienate
"enemies," she is headed down a dangerous life path: she is certain to bring her
unresolved conflicts with her everywhere she goes. She is at risk of becoming the poor
victim who has no choice but to accept the scraps such a position generally offers.
She is unlikely to get a handle on her life and her behavior until she owns her anger
and takes responsibility for her behavior.
Bambi is the girl who burns the roast when she really
didn't want to invite you to the dinner...she invited you to.
Dear Bambi, be angry. It is OK. Your feelings are your
feelings. But check yourself out. Who are you hurting when you act out? Could you be
shooting yourself in the foot? Consistent with typical codependency stuff, you are angry
where you shouldn't be and are not angry where you should be! You
give away your personal power when you don't trust your feelings, when you manipulate
people, when you make excuses for those who deserve no excuses, and when you displace your
angry feelings onto those who have done nothing to hurt you.
You say you can't deal with all this stuff? My reply is that
you can't afford not to. Why choose - yes, choose - to create a painful
life? Why work so hard...to get so little? You deserve so very much more...
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