February 12, 2016

I am a Victim of My Own Making: Learning to Rescue Ourselves.


It’s somewhat uncomfortable to admit—even to ourselves—that our life paradigm may have been wrong for most of our adult life.

When I did wake up to this fact, it felt like a strong blow right in the gut…but I can say at least that I got there.

I had hoped I would find a life partner who would make my life easier. I imagined there was that person out there who could help take my fears and worries away and bring the love, stability and security to my life that I’ve always wanted. On desperate nights, when I was fatigued to the bone from running a business single-handedly and caring for my daughter, whose I share custody with her father, I prayed on my knees that a man would come into my life who could love and care for me in a way that would take the overwhelm away.

I remember key moments clinging to this hope of a partner. There have been countless times in the last ten years of owning my business that the pressure of overheads during slower periods felt like a crushing weight. I would be kept up at night worrying about how I was going to pay my bills, provide for my daughter and pay my mortgage.  I felt like I should be able to do this all myself—I had no safety net. Yet, at the same time I banked on finding a partner who would become that safety net. I assumed I would find the right relationship that would save me from my struggles.

How incredibly misguided I was.

For most of those years of running my business, I never paid taxes while I earned my income.  I was always just trying to keep my head afloat, chasing my tail in paying taxes when I had to. While I always paid my bills, I gradually started dipping into my line of credit with no hope of paying it off unless I remortgaged. There were always expenses I didn’t see coming. The outlays kept growing as I partnered with people while living from this place of desperation, wanting to someone make my life easier—never seeing myself as the person who could and needed to do this for myself.

I realized about a year ago that my relationship with my finances over the last nine years has just been a reflection of how I am in intimate relationships—a dichotomy of “I can do it all” coupled with “please take care of me, I’m drowning here”.

The past unconscious pattern goes something like this: I fall in love with someone who is in some type of crisis.  I work really hard to help them or save them, showing how much I love them by trying to make their lives better, hopefully helping them feel more whole. Then, I wait for them to do the same for me. When they don’t, I get really disappointed and resentful which leads to feeling as though I have been taken advantage of. It’s basically the rescuer, persecutor and victim triangle—classic co-dependency.

When we grow up in families with a history of mental illness and addiction (like I did), we get trained up for living our lives circling this triangle—unless our caregivers do some serious healing and self exploration themselves. As grown ups, it’s up to us to choose healthier relationships and relationship dynamics.

With all that being said, I realized there was some deep healing work I needed to do around my core wounds and finances. If I was going to get out of this unhealthy relationship cycle, I was going to have to provide my own sense of emotional security and financial stability.

Feeling insecure out in the world can make us cling to people and ignore our intuition; it’s like being in a desert dying of dehydration and someone comes by and offers you a glass of water.

I started a spending journal. I tracked every single thing I spent and set up a budget for myself. Instead of optimistic budgeting based on what I projected I was going to make and spend, I looked backwards.  I ripped the blinders of denial off and started looking at my past earnings and expenditures. It was a painful exercise at the time but now I am paying my taxes as I go and I feel hopeful about my financial future.

I’m proud of myself for how much I’ve been able to shift in the last year on this front. No one will be coming into my life who could jeopardizes the work I’ve done to build emotional and financial security—I will make sure if it. The ironic thing is that when I actually don’t come from a place of “need”, I’m more likely to find a partner who is more capable of giving me all the things I used to hope that would that I now provide for myself.

Now, I couldn’t be prouder to be my own rescuer.

Author: Jane Clapp

Editor: Sarah Kolkka

Image: HollyLay/Flickr

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