In this podcast I explain the first stage of my five principals to Divorce Success. This is part of the Divorce Angel Divorce Philosophy. To succeed YOU must go through each of these steps to succeed, repair and heal and live a life as a Victor.
Find out more about the signs you are in Victim Mode: Guilt, Anger and Blame. And how you move forward to help you grow, forgive and evolve as a person.
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Hello, hello and welcome back to the Divorce Angel Podcast. I’m Tanya Somerton and I’m your host. I just wanted to say, it is so exciting to have you all with me. I’m getting some great feedback from the podcast and the content that I’m putting out. They said it’s really wonderful and it makes my heart sing to know that one podcast can make the difference to someone listening and it could be you right now. It could change your day, it could give you hope, it could let you know that everything is going to be okay. That’s the most important thing to me. It really is. I just want to give back to everyone and make sure that it doesn’t have to be doom and gloom like we hear about all the time. If we put the right steps in place, it can be a journey of success and growth and change our lives. What I thought I’d do over the next coming five weeks is talk to you about something that I call my philosophy of divorce and it’s something that I went through and it’s something that I also noticed that nearly everyone else goes through. It’s sort of like a five-stage process. I call them my principles of divorce success.
Over the next few weeks, I thought I would break each of these principles down so you can understand how you can take the journey from being a victim to a victor because that’s where we want to get to. When we’re at the victor stage, we’re invincible and anything can happen. But until we get to that stage, we have to go through every other part of the process and that’s what I call my principles of divorce.
In my divorce roadmap session, I take my clients through what I would call these first two principles. The one we’re going to talk about today is the principle of being a victim. Now a lot of people say, “I’m not a victim.” Well, unfortunately, everyone has a little bit of victim in there whether they like it or not. Even if it’s your choice to leave your relationship, you are still a victim and it could be as simple as being a victim of circumstance. I thought today we’d break it down a little bit further so you could understand and actually label, “Okay, yes, I am.” Because once you know that this is the stage that you’re at, you can then go, “Okay, well, this is where I’m at and this is what I’ve got to do to move to the next stage.” If we can take you through each of these stages and help you grow and evolve, it means you’re going to get through this whole mess and it doesn’t need to be messy if you know what you’re going through.
It’s interesting because, if you think about it, there’s three different parts of a divorce. There’s the internal part that you have with yourself. Then there’s the external part and that can be with your ex-husband or ex-wife or it can be even the debate and conversation that you have with maybe your team or your lawyer. Sometimes, it’s just you’re forever feeling like you’re having some serious conversation with someone. If it’s not internal dialogue with yourself, it could be external dialogue with your ex-husband or wife or with your legal team and wondering whether you’re making the right decisions.
What we want to talk about here really is about you. We want to talk about the stages that you need to go through to heal. Let’s get into it. The definition of a victim from the Cambridge dictionary is someone or something that has been hurt, damaged, killed, or has suffered either because of the actions of someone else or something or because of an illness or because of chance. If you think about that, each and every one of us in some way, if we’re going through a relationship breakdown are a victim.
Now, the science that you are in victim mode are– There’s probably three of them that I regularly see, but they’ll come about in this way. You could be, as I’ve said, a victim of your circumstance, so you could be a victim that you find yourself all of a sudden in this situation that you never ever thought possible or saw coming. Because of that, you really do feel like one of these three things which we’re going to go into down the track, but you are definitely a victim. You’re a victim of your circumstances and you never ever asked to be in this position. You could be a victim because you’ve allowed yourself to be treated in a certain way and you may have promised yourself you would never let someone do or treat you that way, but unfortunately, here you are and you’re in this position because of how someone else has treated you and you know feel like you should’ve stood up for yourself or done something differently.
Then, there’s another way and that could be a victim of your own choosing. That could be where, let’s imagine that you have a certain schedule that you keep. I’ve seen this with some clients so it could be where they work really hard and they’re not home very home often because they think they’re doing the right thing for their family but, unfortunately, because of the choices that they’re making, they now find that that is a reason that they’re relationship is broken down and you’re then a victim of, “If only I hadn’t this. If I’d noticed this or highlighted this earlier, maybe it wouldn’t have become a problem.” You become a victim of your own inner thoughts and your choices. Whether you like it or not, at any stage, you could be considered, whether you say it out loud or not, you will be a victim. I get this because this where I certainly– I never ever liked that label, victim. I never thought myself a victim, but when I looked back, I acted like a victim and there’s no doubt that probably was a victim now when I’ve done so much more work and research into this and seen the steps that clients go through. It happens to everyone.
Let’s get into it a little bit further. Guilt, guilt, guilt is a negative emotion which can hold us in inaction. We can feel paralyzed and unsure of our next steps. It could be because we are so scared that if we do anything, or we say anything, everything will just get worse. You can feel guilty for many reasons, but it could be something because of what you’ve done. It could be for something you didn’t do, for something you though someone else did, or for simply feeling like you haven’t done enough in your relationship or done enough for your partner. A lot of those that I’ve just spoken about there, there’s no doubt that they relate to the other three points I’ve made about victim mode. Victim of your circumstances, allowing yourself to be treated in a certain way, or a victim of your own choices.
Let’s have a look at them. You may feel guilty because of something you have done. You may have made a choice to do something and it could be the long hours that you work. It could be that you’ve had an affair or done something outside of the relationship. It could be that you’ve gambled or taken drugs. It could be that you’ve just fallen out of love and you could feel guilty about, “Hang on, I married someone thinking we would be together forever, and here I am, I’ve fallen out of love.” I felt guilty in this instance because I felt so much guilt for how I was going to break up the family. I felt guilty about what will my children think, what will my in-laws and my family thing, what will our friends think. That guilt held me in that victim mode for quite a long period of time.
Then, it could be for something you didn’t do. You could be blamed for something you didn’t do or you could be feeling guilty because you didn’t take the steps to stop something. You could be an enabler. You may allow your partner to have gone and continued to do whatever it was that in the end, become the demise of your relationship and you’re now feeling guilty because, “If I’d only stood up sooner or said something earlier, then it wouldn’t have got to this stage.” and you know feel that guilt.
It could also be for something that you thought someone else did. Maybe you accused your ex of something that they didn’t do or your just telling yourself a story about something that you thought someone else did. It can even be a third party. I’ve heard this regularly with people that have– A friend of my mine said that my ex-partner did this and I was forever looking for evidence for that to happen or we’ve got someone else that lives with us and because of them, extra pressure on our relationship. The list just goes, but that’s something else that you could be feeling guilty for or you could simply feel guilty because you haven’t done enough in your relationship. Maybe you never gave 100%. Maybe you did not fill your jelly bean jar. Maybe now, you’re guilty that you should’ve tried harder and done more, but it’s too late.
If a person causes harm to another, then guilt and remorse are natural. We need to get through that part of feeling like a victim, so that guilt and addressing it. Then, the next part of that is anger and aggression. Anger is a natural response when everything gets out of control and circumstances seem unfair or unjust. Anger is a response that protects us as we enter into our fight or flight mode. Our minds are looking for a way to cope and survive and that might mean just getting angry. This only becomes a problem when we start to act like this regularly and it affects our families and our careers and our interactions with others. To actually explain this a little bit better, what this could mean is that it might not mean that you’re going around punching anyone or that sort of thing, but it could be other stuff that you are doing or other behaviors such as being short in your reply or response and treating people poorly and something that you would never ever have done previously, but now all of a sudden, you’re showing aggression to people. I’ve seen this with clients when they might talk to someone in a shop or a restaurant or they’ll say to me, “We went out for dinner and someone just did something wrong, and all of a sudden, before I knew it, I’ve gone off my handle.” It just feels like it’s at breaking and you’re like a band or rubber band, wherever you’re listening from, and you’re flicking it like it’s just so highly strung that you just need one thing to happen and you’re going to go ballistic.
When this is completely outside of your normal behavior but it started to creep in more and more, that’s when it becomes a problem and this is when you’re still in that victim mode because your body is looking for ways to address the anger and the aggression that get it out of you. Another sign of anger– It can be simply like just imagine that you’re driving home and you would normally allow someone to hop into a line if they put their indicator on. Now, all of a sudden, you speed up and don’t allow them to get in, or it could be when you’re going to the grocery checkout and, all of a sudden, you don’t want someone else to get in front of you. These behaviors that would normally never ever be something that you would show and now starting to come about naturally without you even knowing about it until I am highlighting it to you and you’re sort of saying to yourself, “Actually, I am starting to behave in these ways.”
When this really gets dangerous is when you starting to always be short and angry with your children and your family. I can remember there at this stage as well. I can remember yelling at the kids over silly things. Things that I just felt. My whole life was out of control so it was just easy to yell. I just yelled. I would yell at the pour little darlings all the time and it was not like me because I’d always been a very caring mother, and all of a sudden, the simplest things like underwear not being put away or a dish not being put in the sink or something like that was enough to set me off. I was living in this victim mode without actually even knowing about it but unfortunately, it’s a stage of healing and we have to go through it.
The last part of this is blame. Blame is a major side effect of being a victim. To say or think that someone or something did something wrong or is responsible for something that caused your marriage breakdown. It could be a person or people. So it could be that you are blaming your ex-partner for the whole demise of your relationship. They did this wrong. They did that wrong. They were never around. It was all their fault. I’m telling you right now that is never ever the case. There is always two to tango.
It could be you are also blaming, and I’ve heard this on many occasions as well, other people for their interference where it could be a sibling, a parent, a friend, a work colleague. Someone just wanted to put in their two cents and you had enough of it and that was just enough for you to say, “No, this is over.” but you could be blaming another party for the breakdown of your marriage.
This could quite controversial but I’m going to say it anyway. This happens when people blame– I’ve seen this with men a few times. When they blame the person that their partner had an affair with. That makes no sense to me. Your partner has to go and be 100% involved to have an affair. It’s not okay for someone to have an affair. It’s simply not okay.
Then it can be the reason or a circumstance. Quite often I will also hear people blame, “There was never enough money. We always was struggling. They were never around. They didn’t make me a priority.” that sort of talk. That could really be– That could be a reason that your relationship broke up and I’ve said that as well. My ex-husband was never around. He was always out having a bet or down at the cricket club or whatever it was. The real reason was that I wasn’t happy with myself, my own ability to make myself happy. Now, I don’t need someone to be around me to feel happiness. I get that from inside. I would previously have blamed someone for not being around. People say to me–because my new husband– And he probably doesn’t like this, I call him my new husband but we’ve been together now for nine years.
Richard is a commercial diver by trade and he also travels, which I’ve spoken about before, a lot for fishing. He travels the world, fishing, and he can sometimes not be home for periods of time. When he was a commercial diver, he would be offshore for two weeks at a time. He’d said to me that in previous relationships, it was very, very hard for women to stay with him because they didn’t like that he was away so often. Yet for me, I never had a problem with it because I was happy. I was happy in myself. I didn’t need him to make me happy.
Hopefully, some of this is starting to become really clear to you and you can see even though you wouldn’t label yourself as a victim, you can see that some of your actions are actual– Having you stay in victim mode. The dangers of staying in victim mode are when you never take responsibility for the wrong that you had in the relationship. Doesn’t matter how small it is. Everything has to be a lesson. We have to learn something from every experience in our life otherwise why have them.
What’s the lesson that you can take away from how you acted in your relationship? There must be something tiny. Even the tiniest thing that it wasn’t that you didn’t stand up for yourself, that you allowed someone to treat you the way they did even though that’s not okay, that you partner had an affair and why did they do that. I’m not sure. Questions that only you can ask yourself.
If you don’t take responsibility, even just a very, very little bit of responsibility, you don’t improve or learn or grow as a person. Then when you go into your next relationship, you just repeat the old behaviors again. You’re setting yourself up for failure before you’ve even found that new person and you have to address all of that before moving on. This is such a massive, massive mistake that I see with people. They jump out of one relationship straight into a new one without addressing what went on and what they can do to make them a better person. I’ve had a few clients like this, not too many, thankfully, but they become very negative people. They want to continue to blame everyone else around them or especially their ex for what went wrong and why they find themselves in the position they do and that gets you nowhere.
Living in, what I call Blame Island, which is just a desolate island with no water, no goodness, no color, it’s dark and gloomy and it’s dreadful. You do not want to live there. You just do not want to live there. When you become that negative person because you’re blaming others for the situation you find yourself in, your energy is toxic, and the other thing that happens is– And you will hear me say this quite often. You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. If you become toxic, in a lot of cases, you have other toxic people around you and you live off each other, you thrive off each other, and that’s not the sort of life that you want so you have to take responsibility so that you can move out of the victim mode.
Moving on from this stage, it takes absolute honesty and forgiveness. The only person who is hurting when you stay in this stage is you because if you think about it if you’re blaming your ex for the circumstances that you now find yourself is, he or she doesn’t know. They don’t know what you’re feeling or how hurt you are or how angry you are or aggressive. They’ve got no idea because they’re off probably having their own journey. They’re learning their own life lessons. They are sitting back and thinking about what they may have done or not done wrong, or maybe they are living in this victim mode themselves but it’s not where you want to be.
To be able to move on from this stage and move onto the next principle of a successful divorce, you need to address these things. Let’s just go over them quickly again so that you can think about it. As I said, the definition of a victim is someone or something that has been hurt, damaged, or has suffered either because of the actions of someone or something and because of chance. That will be each and every one of you out there. By recognizing that that’s the stage you’re in, you may already have been separated from your partner or husband for some period of time. You may have moved out of this stage but I am sure, you can recall being here. You are a victim if you are feeling guilt, anger, or blame. Any of those things hold you in that victim position.
That’s all I wanted to talk to you about today. It is something that when we go through our divorce roadmap, we address all these. This is really, really important stuff because in a lot of cases when I’m doing a roadmap, people don’t even know that this is where they are, they don’t realize that this is where they are. But once you’ve taken responsibility– I said to a client yesterday, it’s like a drug addict. When you say, “I’ve got a problem.” you can then address it.
The next stage after victim, which is how did I find myself here, and the stage we’re going to talk about next week is overwhelm. Overwhelm is, I can’t do this. It’s all so hard. Next week we’re going to talk about how we can get out of overwhelm. Overwhelm is my second principle. It’s the second principle of how we can get to a successful divorce outcome.
I look forward to having you listen to me then, and I really want you to be honest with yourself this week. Ask yourself these questions and let’s get you out of victim. Let’s get you into overwhelm because after overwhelm, there’s only three more until you are right at that victor stage and when you’re a victor, you can do anything you want to do.
All right. Have a great week everyone and I’ll talk to you next week. Bye for now.
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