Blaming other people for the situation we’re in is probably something we all do from time to time. Some people, though, make this victim’s approach a habit. It becomes their mindset. Among those victims, there are people who go even further: they blame the dead. What does YAYOM have to say about that?
Let’s meet Alice. Alice is a very good friend of mine. We often have lunch together, during which we talk about many different things. By the topics she talks about, I can tell if Alice is feeling ok or not. When she’s not feeling too cheerful, there is one topic that inevitably pops up: her mother.
Alice’s angry mother
Alice, who’s in her sixties, has low self-esteem. She is deeply unhappy with herself, especially about the way she looks. She’s aware of that negative self-image. She also has an explanation for it. ‘That’s what you get when you’re mother never stops making it clear to you how bad looking you are’, is her main reflection.
Many times have I heard how Alice never received a compliment from her mother, rather the opposite. Her assumption is that this was because Alice was her father’s favorite child. The mean remarks from her mother continued deep into Alice’s adult life. According to Alice, they never really stopped and it completely destroyed her.
While I personally never experienced this kind of treatment, it is not hard for me to imagine the pain it must cause when one of your parents acts hateful towards you, not once, but constantly.
It seems almost impossible that Alice would not be marked by her mother’s destructive behavior.
I guess it’s hard for children to build an emotional defense against their parents.
But does that make Alice a victim of her mother anno 2017?
Reconsideration is possible
YAYOM says: ‘you are not a victim’. That means that external factors can influence you, but only as far as you allow it. The captain on the ship you call your life, is you. Nobody else, no matter how hard they try. We know that this is true, because nobody else but you has at all times the power and the freedom to walk away from anything.
Children are defenseless. But adults aren’t. As adults, we have, again, the power and the freedom to reconsider everything we were told as a child. Is this easy? No. Is it impossible? Also no. It can be done. How we deal with they way our parents treat us, is our own choice. But Alice’s story isn’t finished..
Lost cry for approval
The one but last time Alice and I had lunch together, some months ago, she started talking about her mother again. How she dragged her down, how she disapproved of everything Alice did, how she never thanked her even though Alice was the only one taking of her. It was clear that Alice, the hurt child of 60, was still looking for approval of her mother. And I realized this would be a hard thing to accomplish.
Alice’s mother is dead. She died more than 2 years ago. That means that all of the above motherly behavior no longer takes place. Yet, Alice speaks and acts as if it still does. She still refers to her mother’s influence, but that influence is gone, for more than 2 years even.
The only person who can possibly keep Alice’s suffereing alive, is Alice herself.
Alice has the power
The approval Alice is looking for so desperately, can no longer be given by the mother, who is now dead. You could say Alice is still giving too much power to her mother, but that is absolutely not the case. YAYOM does not allow that Alice gives away her power. How do we know? Because only Alice has the power to change the influence her dead mother’s words continue to have on her life. If a victim of anything, it’s only of her own thoughts.
The demeaning words and actions of Alice’s mother lay in the past. Even more, Alice’s mother too lays in the past. If the impact of the words remains in the present, than that’s because Alice dragged them here, as she’s the only one who can. Yet, this is nothing inevitable. The metaphore of the Path shows that the past holds no conditions for the future.
To my feeling, it is clear that Alice is full with guilt and self-blame, rather than blaming her mother. The deadly mantra of worthlessness keeps echoing in Alice’s head without leaving room for any positive thought. Acceptance of herself, but also of who her mother was, could help Alice to empty her bucket.
Be aware that I am not judging Alice. But I am not reaffirming her selfvictimisation either. All I am trying to show is that, no matter how strong external influences can be, it is Alice, and only she, who can change that impact. Maybe she could choose to cultivate more the positive things here father was thinking about her. After all, she is her own master.
What do you think about this? Are some influences too strong to master? Do you have a dead person too that keeps haunting you? What do your experiences tell you about it? Am I too harsh on Alice? What would be an alternative? Let me know, here or on Facebook!