“My ex screwed me in the divorce and I’ll never recover.”
“Money’s so hard to understand that I’m not even going to bother to try.”
“My parents never taught me about money growing up and now I’ll never catch up.”
Sometimes this is what being a financial victim sounds like. This isn’t a judgment on my part whatsoever, it’s simply some of the ways I’ve experienced people avoiding taking accountability and ownership in a powerful way.
For me, being a victim (related to money or otherwise) is accepting your fate as it is and taking the position that there’s nothing you can do about it. And often times it involves pointing a solid finger at someone (or something) else as being responsible for things and not accepting any impact on the outcome.
For a more formal definition, the dictionary defines “victim” as: “one who is harmed by or made to suffer under a circumstance or condition.”
(Not sure about you, but I particularly enjoy the part of the definition where someone is “made to” suffer. Don’t get me wrong, there may be occasions in life when someone is holding you against your will to do something, although thankfully I find those situations are few and far between!)
At this point, you may be thinking to yourself “well in the situation of the ex, it’s entirely possible that the other person did get screwed over, I’ve seen it happen.“
And I can certainly understand this point of view, and it’s likely that many others would feel similarly. But let’s see if we can take a different look at this that would support taking accountability for the situation, shall we?
And before we do that, let’s define accountable: “capable of being accounted for, explainable.“
In the situation where someone is left with less than positive feelings about their ex after a divorce, it can be easy to slip into a place of blame and pointing the finger, particularly if you’re feeling like you’re getting the short end of the stick when it comes to money. However, staying in that negative energy is unlikely going to support you in moving forward with your life, whether in general or specifically with respect to your finances.
What I propose is this – that if you’re feeling like something is all someone else’s fault, that you stop and take some time to be honest with yourself about the entirety of the situation and your role in it. View the situation with the lens of “what part could I have done differently to create different results?” This is not an opportunity to beat yourself up about what happened, it’s merely a chance to neutrally step back and see if there is something that you can do differently going forward. It’s as if you’re willing to learn from the situation and be accountable for whatever your contributions were, even if they were small ones.
Ultimately, it is only when we are willing to be accountable for ourselves that we can access the freedom to live our lives from a place of ownership and choice. Because without a willingness to be accountable (and yes, sometimes this means looking at the not-so-fun parts of ourselves), we leave our power in the hands of others instead of using it to grow and take charge of our lives.
It may not always be fun to look at things through the lens of accountability, and I understand that. All I can share is that my clients who are willing to do so are infinitely much more successful than the ones who don’t. They ultimately decide to let go of the finger pointing and blame (even though it feels really good sometimes), and create results anew in the present instead of being stuck in the past.
The journey to financial health is an ever-winding road, and shifting to a more accountable mentality is a powerful and significant way to forever alter your relationship with money for the better!