Vindication addiction is the only way I can fully describe the hunger that I felt.
I am sure we can all name someone from our childhood that made us question our worth. That person or group that picked out something that we felt was normal about us, and used it to humiliate. That became the epicentre of my life. I was determined to be the best I could be, so others would accept me. Unfortunately it didn’t lead to acceptance but offence and the more I expected offence, the more I got.
I grew bitter at their reluctance to see that I had something to offer. I was heartbroken that I could never do enough to be liked. I grew hard and developed a need to be vindicated. A need to be right.
Childhood rolled on and child issues are replaced by adult ones but it all felt the same.
It was in my 30's, and after a particularly heavy time of my life, that I realised I was craving vindication. I had lost my mother and someone I worked with told lies about me that affected my career. And it was clear to me that I wouldn’t be satisfied without being vindicated. I wanted everyone to know that I was right and the other person was wrong.
But that left me in a trap.
People that make your life complicated and go out of their way to hurt you aren’t forth coming with apologises. They don't tend to admit their wrongs and change their behaviours.
Some of them feel justified, some are hurt people hurting people, but it was clear to me that I couldn’t get what I wanted.
I maintained my life and functioned but I was not having any enjoyment. Even after my name was cleared I woke up thinking about it. I thought about in the shower, in the car, in the supermarket, at work, and during family time.
I tried to block it out but I felt even more displaced. People kept telling me to ‘move on,’ or to ‘let it go,’ and I know they said that in love to help, but the fact was, if I could of I would of.
I didn’t want to stay angry.
I didn’t want to stay hurt.
I didn’t want to be distrusting of others.
But I discovered that I did want my pound of flesh.
I realised my offence had made me desire for my persecutor to feel the same pain I had. And that’s a sobering place to be. I was not a person who was like that but here I was walking a tightrope of accepting the harm from someone else or repaying the act.
It would have been easy to repay but I realised it wouldn’t wash away my pain and the cycle had to stop somewhere.
So I stepped up.
I tried so many things and methods and it took years to get to a good place. But, I did learn some ways that helped.
1. Deciding Whether I Wanted To Be Right Or Be Happy
I went through the situation with a fine tooth comb looking for anything that I had done to create momentum to the event. If I did, I learnt from it and figured out ways to avoid it happening again. I didn’t condemn myself, and that took a lot of effort. I had the option of telling myself off or telling myself how I could have done things better. One will lead to growth and the other will imprison. I wanted to be free so I had to learn. When I could find nothing it was a matter of just having to accept that I would never understand the motive behind it.
2. Cleaning House
I grew bad habits and I self-medicated with overeating. I had to learn to have a good relationship with food again. I also didn’t enjoy my working environment and tried to make adjustments. That didn’t work, so I ended up getting a new job which dramatically impacted my entire family’s life. It ended up freeing me up to concentrate on my family and it allowed time fro me to grieve my mothers passing. I came off social media for a while and started walking more. All of these changes gave me energy to declutter my home which meant I was literally cleaning house. I made sure anything that I removed I filled with positive stuff meaning there was no room in my life anymore for the negative.
3. Wish Them The Best
Any time I told myself that I had to forgive, my insides would jolt. When someone puts you through trauma it’s the hardest thing to do. I had to change the language around it to help me understand it differently. It wasn’t about wiping out what had happened but it was about saying goodbye. I had to end the chapter. Not everyone we meet is meant to be in our life and I didn’t have to keep this person in mine. I never met with them but I did wish them all the best and said goodbye in the comfort of my home. After that I thought about that person less and then thought about what had happened less. It was freeing. It was forgiveness.
4. I Lived
As I adopted these practices I began to feel lighter. The lighter I felt the more motivated I was. I accepted that I can’t control what others do and that after everything, I was still standing. I began to write. I began to develop. And now I am published and looking to the future. I have learnt that the future holds more good than it does bad and although hard times can overwhelm it’s important to remember that we live in seasons. Seasons change and I am able to adjust my circumstances and environments to move me in to the new. Things will always change.
Overwhelm, betrayal and disappointments robbed so much of my life. I hope by sharing my story I can bring hope and encouragement to someone in the world.
If you are affected by this it is good to talk to someone you trust and if you need help please ask for it from your GP or from a counselling helpline. Feel free to try my suggestions above or adjust them to fit your personality or circumstances.
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Article written by Jacqueline Bingham