Right now I’m shaking, physically trembling, not because I am about to do something but because of something I have already done. I stood up for myself. Do you know this feeling?
Let me provide a little more context, book sales have not been doing well as of late and I don’t know where to lay the blame for that. Mostly, I blame myself because I am the shepherd of it, however, my time has also been taken by another project- or should I say, person.
Somehow, in my desperation for additional income, I got roped into working for and with a vampire. I have been taken advantage of, willingly I might add because this person exploited a weakness in my personality. He knew that above all else I wanted to please people. I wanted him to like me and to reward my effort and convinced myself that in time, despite all of the warning signs, I would be rewarded. I realized though that I was wrong. I was being taken advantage of, and I decided to put an end to it.
Stop me if this sounds familiar.
As I’m writing this, the person in question is repeatedly calling me. I have sent every call to voicemail. He is not upset that I am leaving, he is upset that I took away his free meal. The great challenge in ending a bad relationship is that the relationship should never have happened in the first place. When one party changes, the other is suddenly offended that what they thought they had is no more. At no point does the shark realize that the tuna didn’t want to get eaten.
I’m sharing all of this with you because it’s an example that bullying, the kind that we attest to ending in childhood, is rampant in adult life. Physical abuse is rather easy to detect and stop, as friends will always step in, but what of the abuse that happens in your own mind? How do you ask for help when your complaint is that you are doing work, voluntarily no less, without compensation? If you are like most people in my life during this time, you would have scolded me that I deserved better. The strange truth was that I knew.
Here’s the thing about our culture: we are far too quick to blame the victim. Victims are victims for a reason. Had they the foreknowledge to fight then the incidents wouldn’t have ever happened in the first place. Why reprimand those brave enough to try to change? Unfortunately, though, this story is all too common. We have come to celebrate the exploiter and admonish the exploited.
You too are probably in a similar situation. Maybe someone is stealing from you, stealing your time, stealing your money. Perhaps there is someone taking emotional advantage of you, of your kindness, that needs to be set straight. Perhaps you are even in the most insidious situation of them all and someone is stealing your love. The only thing that all of these situations have in common is the lack of self-respect for the victim, by the victim.
Fortunately for us, we are only victims so long as we choose to remain victims.
So don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. You know the truth and you have to honor it, even if that means upsetting the apple cart. Besides, apple carts were made to fall over. They can easily be righted and the apples replaced. To get biblical for a moment, we were called to serve, not to slave.
Hopefully, soon you will be shaking as well. Not because you are scared, but because you’re no longer afraid. Just know that the feeling will pass.