A while ago I wrote a post about people that like to set up permanent residence at Camp Victimhood, though I didn’t end up publishing it. While Camp Victimhood is a place we can all go when we’ve been treated poorly, some people stay there. We are all victims of something or someone at some point, so camping out a week is expected. In fact, it might even be part of the healing process. But choosing to stay despite the terrible living conditions means choosing to remain a victim. When we don’t get off the ride of trauma drama, then we take part in something called self-sabotage.
This is a hard topic for me to write about. I have strong feelings about all of this. Partly why I didn’t post the piece I wrote before was because I was missing a key component. That component being me. I saw this behavior in others, but not in myself. I thought I was on top of my shit when I was actually buried deep in it.
In many ways, we get stuck in the narrative of being a victim. It can happen over anything. Whether that be the way we were treated at a job, or being the black sheep of the family, or from sexual abuse and dealing with crazy relatives… Whatever the case, we all hear things growing up that become part of our permanent narrative and often times the things we hold onto aren’t serving us. It’s these ‘bad habits and false beliefs’ that lead to self-sabotage. We believe we can’t achieve that promotion, can’t lose weight, can’t find joy, can’t be healthy, can’t be intelligent, can’t be confident, can’t finish that novel, can’t can’t can’t can’t can’t…
The word can’t is toxic.
It’s only been this last week that I’ve discovered this fact, but ‘can’t’ is a victimhood word. There’s no agency in can’t. I’m going to use a specific example that I dealt with last week. It’s simple, but works. While my narrative has been littered with self-sabotaging and victimhood words, this example seems the easiest to point out.
I am allergic to dairy and my body doesn’t process carbs correctly. So these two things should not be part of my eating routine. Yet rather than say, “I don’t eat dairy or carbs,” and give myself agency, I would often say, “I can’t eat dairy or carbs”. This might seem harmless, but it’s not.
When I was using the word can’t I had no personal power. It was like it was something being done to me rather than me making a choice not to put something in my body that would make me ill. I was repeating the narrative of a victim. But… I can’t have dairy… boo… wah… whine whine whine. And honestly, this is how I’ve felt. I love ice cream. I love pasta. They just don’t love me.
I hate that I can’t be vegan anymore. It’s horrible for my health. I don’t like eating animals, so being vegan made me happy. Only it also made me sick. I am healthiest when I eat meats, veggies, and limited fruits. In fact, when it comes to saying I don’t like meat, I have no issues at all because I prefer the taste of veggies to meat. When I was choosing to be vegan I never said, “I can’t eat dairy”. It was always, “I don’t eat animal products”. In one circumstance I had agency, the other I’m a victim that ‘can’t’ have dairy.
This is a simple example and when I unpacked what this meant, I saw a much bigger picture. One that involves all of us as humans because we get stuck in these ruts—no matter what they’re over—and we stay in the groove making it deeper and more difficult to get out of the longer we go. Yet deleting one simple word from our vocabulary changes so much…
Stop using can’t.
Say, “I don’t.”
We always have a choice. Even if something makes me sick, I can still choose to eat it and not feel well. The choices may not be the best, I may not be happy about my options, but they are still choices.
I am responsible for what I choose.
The reason why I see can’t as a Camp Victimhood word is because it keeps us in a cycle of self-sabotage and abuse. Though that abuse is really coming from us. When I was using the word can’t instead of don’t, I was setting myself up for failure because then it became about but I’ve had a hard day so I deserve this milk chocolate, I deserve this wine, I deserve this spaghetti. The reality is that my cravings for things bad for me had NOTHING to do with me deserving them. They had to do with me wanting something that wasn’t good for me. And rather than say to myself, no, I don’t eat that, I’d tell myself I can’t. Then I’d get mad at myself and say, “Yes I can! It’s my life, my body!” While the latter is certainly true, it’s self-sabotage. When I know something isn’t healthy for me and I choose to take part anyway, I’m choosing unhealthiness. I’m choosing to remain a victim of my poor choices.
Does it suck that dairy makes me ill? YES. Does it suck that my body doesn’t process carbs well? YES. But am I a victim because of these facts? NO.
I was a victim of sex trafficking. I was a victim of mentally ill family members. I’m not currently a victim of either. That is in the past.
Yet the notion of ‘I can’t’ still reaches me in many areas because of the trafficking and insane family. It’s not just with food. I tend to say to myself that I can’t be successful. I can’t be happy. I can’t be healthy. And it’s all me staying on the ride of trauma drama. It fucking sucks, but it’s the truth. Being an adult is hard.
But this is my problem that needs solving. I have to change this. I must have agency and rewrite my unhealthy narrative to one that is healthy. Because consciously, I have no interest in setting up residence at Camp Victimhood. It’s only at the subconscious level that I get stuck in this pattern. And I suspect this is true for most of us.
What has made all of this clear for me is that last week I got to feel something that I’ve not felt before. I got to feel safe. I still do, in fact. I’d felt safety while with others, especially with the wonderful people in my life, but I’d not felt safety coming from within me. But something happened (I’ll share in another post soon) and it forced me to shift some massive beliefs I’d had about life, men, and myself… and these beliefs had kept me on the path of victimhood.
I say this fully acknowledging ALL the work I’ve done and growth I’ve achieved. This isn’t about self-judgment. I’m proud of how far I’ve come. This is simply about me seeing the truth, and that’s that I needed to shift some massive beliefs in order to feel safety from within myself. Really it had to do with trusting myself.
Now that I do trust myself, I feel safe. And all of my bad habits… the use of the word ‘can’t’, the self-sabotaging narrative, all of that gets to change. I choose to change it. I choose health. I choose freedom from being a victim even when the person victimizing me is me.
This isn’t to say that people don’t treat me like shit. They do. Often times it’s people stuck in their own version of self-sabotaging narrative. Their own self-victimization and then projection onto me. But that’s about them. Not me.
I am the master of my own universe. Things may happen that are hard, but I choose where to go from there.
And that’s where so many people fall off…
Choice—words like ‘don’t’—they mean we have a say in our lives. Our actions and decisions drive our future. I am the driver of my own vehicle. I choose the kind of life I live. This is my responsibility.
By stepping away from words like ‘can’t’, I’m taking out the notion that things are happening to me. By adding in words like ‘don’t’, or ‘I choose’, I’m taking responsibility for my life and how it turns out.
This isn’t easy. Blame is far easier than taking responsibility for ourselves. I suspect that’s why so many people jump to blaming others rather than looking in the mirror. But not me. I am responsible for me. I am not a victim of others or myself. I look in the mirror.
I am strong.
This post is written proof that I am checking out of Camp Victimhood. I will no longer take up residency in a place of horrible living conditions or self-limiting beliefs.