Breaking the Cycle of Desperation

Updated: May 16, 2020


n. a state of despair, typically one which results in rash or extreme behavior

synonyms: hopelessness, despair, distress

Along my healing journey, I noticed that I was stuck in what I called the Cycle of Desperation:

1. Made a decision/pursued a course of action from a place of desperation, often while feeling forced into it by people and/or circumstances

2. Felt ashamed and believed it was the wrong decision/course of action, if for no other reason than because it had been made while feeling desperate and under duress

3. Blamed and berated myself for having made the "wrong" decision for the wrong reasons, blamed and resented any perceived "perpetrators" who had a part in it, felt trapped, and became desperate to escape

4. Saw a glimmer of hope to escape the situation and "undo" the damage

5. Became desperately attached to that glimmer of hope

6. Went back to step 1….

Determined to break the Cycle of Desperation. I journeyed and journaled about the source of and remedy for the Cycle, and was guided to create a personal daily affirmation to help me break out of it. Soon thereafter, when requesting a focus for the day from my Angel Tarot deck, the Eight of Air came forward, further encouraging me to develop an affirmation. As I wrote, I discovered more angles, so the affirmation got quite long. Maybe you will find it helpful; maybe it will inspire you to write a declaration that helps you break a dysfunctional cycle in your own life. The first paragraph honored the inner child who survived, and reminded me that I wasn't defective for getting stuck in the Cycle of Desperation - it was simply a natural reaction to how I grew up. It also provided a stark contrast to my new, adult life.

"When I was a child, I was trapped as a victim of extreme poverty, bad circumstances and people with much more power than me whom I was utterly dependent on. Much of my life energy was devoted to pleasing a moody person who was difficult to deal with. Asking for things I wanted or needed usually resulted in very harsh reactions, and if I really wanted something, I had to fight hard for it with the anticipation that I probably wouldn’t get it. Then if I got it and it wasn’t what I had hoped for, I had paid a heavy price for nothing and I felt ashamed for pursuing it. If anything good came along, even if it wasn’t really what I needed or wanted, I had to hold onto it for dear life, because it wouldn’t come along again. This scenario put me in a continual state of desperation: my life was difficult; mean, powerful others controlled it and I had to do their bidding to survive; opportunities to improve my situation were rare and fleeting.

I have broken out of the cycle of poverty, and I am no longer a dependent child, but my nervous system still tends towards the deep grooves that were created in early life. I am teaching my nervous system, and my inner child, that my life is different now. I am adult who is safe and free to make decisions, take charge, and look for opportunities to change what’s happening if I don’t like it. I make decisions from a state of calm confidence, knowing that there are many options open to me, and often I can get things I want easily – I needn’t anticipate a fight or disappointment. I am not dependent on or beholden to a powerful “other.” I am responsible for my actions and inactions, and I accept this responsibility rather than blaming someone or something else for difficulties and problems in my life.

I am compassionate and gentle with myself on this journey of changing my perspective, because I realize that I’m undoing deep nervous system programming and replacing it with new truths. This takes time and effort, and it’s scary, because it means I can no longer blame circumstances or other people for what is not working for me, and because I may pursue things that don’t work out the way I was hoping they would. If I do pursue something that doesn’t work out, I am compassionate and gentle with myself, remembering that hindsight is 20/20 for everyone, that I am free to choose again, and that something else equally good or even better may be just around the corner.

Being proactive and decisive also means I may (or may not) encounter resistance and negative emotions from significant others who do not like what I am choosing. When this happens, I consider their perspective, but I also remember that my survival is no longer dependent on others’ moods, and I place appropriate energetic boundaries around myself. This helps me to avoid blaming them and feeling victimized.

Of course, there will always be things I cannot control, and my job is to grieve those things, accept them, let go of wishing they were different, and focus on what I can affect. I can always affect my own nervous system by getting into my body and breathing deliberately, and by requesting assistance from my Helping Spirits."

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