My last blog post mentioned boundaries. Since then, I’ve educated myself much more on the topic. Victimization and boundaries actually go hand in hand. I’m reading a fantastic book on boundaries that explains “any time there is a boundary violation, there is a possibility of victimization.”
For example, you have the right to be treated with respect in the workplace, so you set yourself a boundary that you will only work in an environment where your work is treated with respect. But say your coworker is consistently taking credit for your good work while consistently blaming you for his careless mistakes. Your boundary has been violated; you’ve become a victim. And, trust me, you’ll be feeling it (anger is a signal that a boundary of some kind has been crossed or needs to be set).
Admittedly, this probably isn’t the most encouraging news you’ve heard all day.
But. But this isn’t the end. Because, as soon as you are made aware of the boundary violation, you have the choice to change the situation. Say, for instance, you leave this job and search for another.
Granted, you’re likely to still feel like the victim. You feel forced to change jobs. You feel forced to adjust your life because of this one disrespectful coworker. You feel like fate has it in for you.
Maybe this change forces to live on a lower income, move in with a friend, give up your life-long bucket-list vacation to Colorado.
But the truth of the matter is, you weren’t forced. You had a choice. Maybe you’d exhausted all other suggestions, efforts, and avenues, but you are always left with two options: you still had the option to either stay or leave.
Because you respect yourself (you’re 100% worth it), you decided to leave–regardless of the consequences. You saw that you were in a situation that consistently created legitimate boundary violations, and you chose to get out of it. This is not a position of continued victimization. This is a situation where you found your authentic power and acted on it (you are the only person you have control over. When you make a change for your own sake, you’re implementing that power). My favorite quote from this whole chapter was “If you don’t protect yourself, you become a victim of your choice to not take action” [italics mine].
I broke my neck. I certainly didn’t chose that! But I chose to use my new schedule and new (limited) physical abilities to focus on self-care and other activities that were important to me. I was suddenly asked to leave my job. I certainly didn’t chose that! But I chose to find a new job and to recreate my identity on a firmer foundation. I was betrayed by a close friend–my choice? No! But I chose to set boundaries and to use this as an opportunity to learn more about my own legitimate needs.
Your everyday life might victimize you. But, “You are only a victim for a nanosecond.” –Pia Mellody. Whatever you do in response to that less-than-pleasant (oh, trust me, I understand that pain!) situation is your choice. You have the authentic power. I make no claims that it will be easy, fun, or not even the worst thing you’ve ever had to do in your life. But you will not be helpless. You will have a choice and, with that, comes hope. What will you do with your power?
Set up boundaries, believe in in yourself, and practice good self-care. You are worth it. You are not helpless.