Old Feelings Have Powerful Hooks

by Annie Kaszina on February 20, 2008

Old habits have deep roots. Old feelings have powerful hooks, as I discovered once again this
week. 

It’s been one of those weeks when the challenges piled
up. Individually, I could have managed
any one of them. Collectively, I still
had my head above water (even if there was a bit of furious doggy paddling
going on below the surface.)

But there
was more…


Apparently the Universe was out to test me. I had to spend several hours at a funeral,
at close quarters with a woman who had been a close friend until my
divorce. At that point I dropped onto
her Most Hated List, although I never did discover what my crimes were. But, hey, some women take our relationship
breakdown terribly personally: how could we do that to them? Quite.

Years had passed, but still when this woman looked at me,
she had disgust and disapproval written large all over her puckered face. (Like I was a large, unsightly, indigestible
lemon drop.) Yes, it hurt.

When I finally got away I moved swiftly from depression to
anger: how dare she? After all I had
done for her.

(I had done a lot for her and her family in the past and still
it was her choice to be disgusted rather than appreciative.)

I found myself wallowing in my sense of grievance, how could
she judge me? She’d never know how hard it had been for me…. She had not had to … You can probably fill in the blanks as well
as I can.

There was a weird kind of cosiness about my feelings. I was right back in the old victim mind-set,
a familiar sense of hopelessness was taking over…

It was at this point that I phoned my dear friend Shoshana
Garfield www.shoshanagarfield.com,
who is no stranger to these feelings herself. We talked briefly about feelings of victimhood and how powerful they
are. 

I asked her: “How do our victim feelings serve us?” “They don’t”, she replied. Knowing what I had been feeling, I
persisted: “What benefits does feeling a victim give us?” Her knee-jerk reaction was to say:
“None”. It saps our energy, our
feelings of self-worth, our hope, our sense of meaning. And yet… 

We decided to stay with it and look at the pay offs. The previous blog post is the list that we came up with and which
held true for both of us. 

Now you may be different and if you are, I take my hat off
to you. If not, once the truth is out in the open, in your conscious, you are far more
able to manage these feelings and choose better ones, at least some of the
time.

When I say manage
these feelings, I mean put them back in their box where they belong, seal the
lid and then make the box vanish.

Laughter, in particular, has a magic power to make seemingly solid
objects disappear.

Between having a victim identity or no identity, the victim
identity has to be preferable.

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