This has been a very important theme in my life. I am a righteous person. I am quick to point out the right and the wrong-doings of things around me. I have been like this to varying degrees most of my life and it has provided me with a real sense of safety.
That need for safety comes from a place when I did not feel safe. When I did not have the means to protect myself and when I did not have a voice to command better for myself. It doesn’t surprise me that I have brought that so strongly into my life as an adult for fear of being disempowered and returning to that place of victim that I experienced at the very core of my being.
Although this has served me greatly to have been able to overcome certain things in my life, it is also no longer relevant and no longer presenting myself in the best way that I can. It is guarding a part of me that no longer needs protection, that is not a victim and that has the elegance of being able to speak truth without the fight.
We all fear our needs not being met, and we have all faced our needs not being met. What we don’t tend to allow is the understanding that others needs are also not being met by us. This then becomes a viscous cycle of demand and rejection. My needs did not get met so I will withdraw my love because you hurt me. You felt the withdrawal of love from me and therefore your needs did not get met and you withdraw your love from me. This never gets better and it will be a very rapid race to the bottom.
What the unfortunate part is here, we are only willing to look at our hurt, see where we have felt the pain and accuse the other person of being a monster and deliberately hurting us.
What is the hardest thing to do in this instance and what I am not so good at doing myself is looking deep within and acknowledging that maybe I am seen as the monster that has deliberately hurt someone. Maybe I have been the person that has inflicted pain but because I made my pain story so loud, it did not give others a platform to share their own experiences. Because I was not willing to drop my righteousness I was not willing to allow a different reality.
My righteousness has been born deep within me for generations upon generations. A patriarchal system that has been engrained in me from the time I was a tiny person… The Catholic Church. Literally, the very structure of Catholicism has been built on a need to stand for what is right and wrong. The absolute fear that was bred into me as a child that I would go to hell if I did not firstly know, and participate in this belief system of righteousness. I have disentangled myself from the church as I can see so clearly its hypocrisies but now comes the time for me to see my own.
My righteousness is out of fear of being not seen and therefore hurt. I had many situations as a child when I knew that the treatment I was receiving was not right but I lacked the maturity and the awareness that I could stand up for myself and disregard this treatment. I did not realise that my fundamental right as a human being was to be able to walk away from such treatment. Of course, as a child I could not make that call however, I can make it now. I do not have to stand in that treatment any longer. I can walk away now because I choose to.
I don’t actually know how that looks, I don’t know how to be any different because this is always how it has been for me. I suppose the first step is acknowledging. That part I know I’m good at. I’m always very quick to see my responsibility in a situation. I can own my part very well in that but what I don’t do so well is to accept when someone doesn’t acknowledge theirs. If someone cannot see and cannot take responsibility for their part, I feel it is my duty to point that out. This is how righteousness looks and it is not so nice to be around.
The truth is, not many people like to be told they’ve hurt you. Not a lot of people are ok to take responsibility for your hurt because they have too much of their own to hold on to. The harder truth is, your hurt is no-one’s responsibility but yours.
If someone came to me to tell me that they were upset with me because I excluded them I would say, it is not my responsibility to include you. You are responsible for your life and you need to take accountability for why you were looking at another to meet your needs. This is a completely empowered statement. It is truth, it is real and it is enough to hurt another person who is not willing to take responsibility for their hurt.
In that same instance if I was on the receiving end of being excluded, I look at how I would respond to that. It would trigger every single part of my wounded inner child that is still wanting to be included. I would scream, I would cry, I would cut people out of my life in a hot second because I would have felt so betrayed and abandoned. Ultimately this is the actions of someone that was responding from a place of deep hurt. This is someone that perceives behaviour as right and wrong and feels the need to stand up to that. This is righteousness. This is a disempowered response of someone not willing to take responsibility for their hurt.
What is also happening in this instance is that I’m speaking out of hurt and most people don’t want to hear you speak from hurt. It is painful, it is uncomfortable and it does not offer a safe place to listen. Only people that have truly healed can listen to someone who speaks out of hurt and hold a space of compassion and love. I know a handful of these people and they are the most exceptional humans to be around. They have such capacity of understanding that it feels like I’m taking off all of my armour when I’m around them.
The hardest part for me to come to terms with is, I want to be the person that makes someone feel that they can take their armour off around me. I want people to feel like they don’t need to fight when they are with me. I want to hold space to be able to hear a person speak from hurt and not feel uncomfortable. The truth is however, I am not. Because I am still speaking from my hurt. I am still holding on to my pain that I experienced when I was told I was wrong even though in my heart I didn’t feel like I was doing anything wrong.
The only thing left to do now is for me to decide. Do I trust myself to let this go and know that I am safe? Will I allow myself to drop all of this shit, right here, right now and allow that the people that hurt me will be walking around thinking that they were right? Am I willing to allow that by me dropping this shit it will mean that people will look at me and say, she knows she’s wrong so that’s why she’s not saying anything. When I see it like this, in black and white I am exhausted and ultimately I don’t care.
If someone thinks I’m wrong, there is something in them that feels wronged. It is not for me to manipulate how a person sees me or to get them to believe me because the reality is, they are only seeing me as a reflection of how they see themselves. I cannot be responsible for how someone sees me or treats me. It’s actually none of my business. That is the relationship they have with themselves and is not mine to fix or highlight. The only thing I can do is make sure that I am taking responsibility for the way I see myself and am treating myself. It’s that simple.