I’ve noticed folks who need to have trauma to define themselves. Folks who thrive on the drama of trauma. Of course, it’s easy to see that trait in others. It’s easy to discern, after a series of interactions with someone, if he/she is addicted to drama and needs to be in crisis, then rescued to feel alive. Oh, so easy. It’s easy for me to see how someone can form an entire identity with being a victim.
Funny how I can point things out in others (slivers) when I can’t see it in myself (logs!). Here’s the thing: I have reveled in my victim status. I have gained much empathy by sharing my stories, by talking frankly about my struggles. While I do believe the Body of Christ should err more on the side of authentic disclosure, there is a line that gets passed in the telling. If I am telling you my ish (issues) for the sake of gaining your empathy, it’s an empty pursuit. (Click to tweet)
My fulfillment must first come from being Jesus’ beloved daughter, not your sweet empathy. (Click to tweet) If I am living for others to fill up my holes, I’ll surely leak. If I chase after emphasizing my drama queen ways, I’m settling for a shallow hope–that someone will take notice and say, “Oh yeah, that’s really hard.” Where does that leave me? With someone who feels sad with me, but no real change in me, with an empty heart still.
What to do?
Slay the drama queen.
- Dare to run to Jesus when I want to gather a passel of folks around me to rescue, cheer, and empathize. Go to Him FIRST, not last.
- Dare to believe that I am okay, even if I’m not telling all my stories.
- Dare to trust that God is bigger than my particular trauma and that He will walk me through in His perfect timing. (Click to tweet)
- Dare to stop managing my image and let Him have the honors.
- Dare to be quiet, even when it means my reputation could get tarnished, or talked about.
- Dare to first empathize with others instead of internally demanding everyone empathize with me.
- Dare to stop playing the victim.
It’s a painful lesson. Part of the way I believe God helped me cope with a difficult childhood was the ability He gave me to process it out loud. But perhaps that was a gift for childhood, and now that I’m an adult, I need to learn a new way of coping–to run headlong to Him first, process with Him first, then invite others into the circle after He’s met me.
It’s a lot to think about. I surely welcome your comments.
Mary shares more of her story in her memoir Thin Places.