Thursday, February 5, 2009

Breaking the Cycle of Victimhood

My casting-couch ordeals were all crammed into one horrid, humiliating, four-month period of my life. But out of that pain came one very important lesson: I wasn't victimized by men, I was victimized by my own victim mentality.

Since I believed I was a victim, I attracted abusers. I'd put up with their crap for a while because they exemplified my poor-little-me world view. Then I'd have enough and walk away from the current bad guy, only to replace him with a new bad guy, because underneath, I still needed someone or something to blame.

By the time I moved to Los Angeles at age 25, this cycle of victimhood was on 100-miles-per-hour cruise control. The casting couch drove a nail into my victim wheel, making it wobble, shake and finally slow down. I didn't come to a complete stop, but I at least started obeying the speed limit.

Before the casting couch, I was a woman without boundaries.

After the casting couch, I started erecting boundaries pretty damned quick.

My evolution wasn't pretty.

I went from being sweet to being a full-blown bitch. I didn't know how to be nice and how to stand my ground at the same time, so for a while, I just stopped being nice.

My healing didn't really begin in earnest until four years later.

By this time, I was approaching my 30th birthday.

I'd recently broken up with the love of my life (more on him later). I'd given up on acting, and had a well-paying, but creatively unfulfilling, career as a marketing writer. I'd gained 90 pounds. I was single and celibate and miserable. I routinely walked the floors at 2 a.m., sobbing.

On the advice of a psychic (a new one, not the one who conned me out of thousands of dollars), I did a "transformational seminar" that helped me come to terms with my past. In the seminar, I complained passionately to the group about what a victim my mom was.

The seminar leader told me point blank that I had a victim mentality, and that I was, in fact, just like my mom.

Shocking. But effective.

Because up until then, I truly believed that bad things just kept happening to me. I didn't take responsibility for creating my own life experiences.

I immersed myself in that particular program and had another breakthrough a few months later. As part of my homework, I actually called Stripper Pimp and my former agent. I talked to them about how I had sold myself short by pretending to be someone I wasn't (a whore). I described what that lie had cost me and the people around me. I ended by describing my new vision of myself and of my life.

Both of them were very cordial to me. Stripper Pimp, in particular, was almost comical. He was surprised that I still lived in Los Angeles. He reiterated that "he'd always liked me," a phrase that had once been a potent emotional weapon when I was without friends, money or a support structure of any kind.

Talking about the calls with the seminar group was a huge part of my healing. It was like turning on a fan and opening a window and airing out some of the stench. Being a former slut was no longer my dirty, little secret. It was a catalyst for personal growth.

(Stripper/Casting Couch Diaries Parts 1-17: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17)
(Stripper/Casting Couch Lessons Learned Part 2 of 2: 1 2)

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1 comment:

Cheron L. Hall said...

"Because up until then, I truly believed that bad things just kept happening to me. I didn't take responsibility for creating my own life experiences."

word.

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