Another way we enlarge our victim stories is to assume we have the right to demand that people be a certain way. That is, to be the way we want them to be.
The point here then is to look at your suffering and then to ask yourself, “How did I want this person to be different to the way they are? Is that the main source of my pain? What was I demanding from this person that I have no right to expect?”
This exercise can be rather challenging because it requires a lot of humility to back off from our demands and expectations that this person be a certain way. However, I am confident that you can meet the challenge.
In your Journal, make a list of every single one of your demands and expectations right down to what seems to be the most basic of all assumptions about how you wanted this person to behave. Put down everything you can think of. Then divide them into those that you could consider negotiable, and those that are non-negotiable, at least in your eyes.
Those in the negotiable column will be things that you may really have wanted or even craved from this person but which you now recognize was more than you could have expected, given whom he or she was and the circumstances of his or her life. Such things as a particular kind of support, loyalty, kindness, understanding of your needs, respect, etc.
In the non-negotiable column list things that you feel you had an absolute right to expect, perhaps even demand, as a basic human right. Such things as not being physically, mentally and emotionally abusive; not discriminating against you ; not indulging in sexual harassment; being fair, and so on.
Then indicate on a scale of 1-100, how much pain and suffering was tied up in your craving for each one of them, and in making it about you instead of about them.
What this brings us to, of course, is the realization that peace often lies in our ability to love what is, just the way it is. At least to start from that position, and then if change is required, go about creating the necessary change from that place of deep inner peace.
As we saw in the unit about beliefs, it is a paradox that the most effective way to bring about a change of any kind is first to accept it totally just the way it is. This is often the best way to approach people. Trying to change them by coming from judgment is the least likely way to succeed in changing them.
I hope you will find this work enlightening and helpful.