It took a few years for my younger self to grasp the concept of karma, where a person’s own actions determine their future, in this life or the next. (The original definition applied to reincarnation.)
For most of my life I’ve been what most people would consider powerless, with no influential friends willing or able to come to my assistance when I was in distress. Neither did I have money to hire lawyers for a case that would have dragged through the courts for 10 years, with uncertain outcome.
Interestingly, that one smaller corporation got hit hard after 9/11. Their revenue stream disappeared, along with that of many others, and they went from 200 employees to 20, eventually to be absorbed by another entity. Coincidence? Maybe. Definitely justice for their abusive management.
At another workplace, a bitch of a middle-aged incoming bookkeeper used to rip me to shreds over the filing system, set up long before I had even arrived on the scene. Her a priori thinking could only understand straight alphabetical filing, not alphabetical filing behind section tabs. No amount of patient explanation made any difference.
After a few months of non-stop abuse, I began to take silent, devilish delight in her rages about the Trade Show vendors. I should have been ashamed of myself then but I wasn’t and still am not. Each vendor invoice included the name, date and location of the specific trade show. The managers easily located a specific trade show folder behind the Trade Show tab, but not so her royalness. She finally berated me so badly that I was transferred, to another and better position. Six months later, she was fired. It’s my belief that she would not have survived the current digital billing and filing era either, but her dismissal was vindication of my complaints about her abuse.
I also tend to remain silent in most group situations, since I don’t care to “debate” trolls who take great delight in inflicting hurt on other people, or who react harshly to comments by other members in the group. Although women can be very catty and/or dismissive of those with different viewpoints, men are especially bad about overriding legitimate contributions by women, using unfashionable and bigoted remarks to do so.
A lot of women have better uses for our limited time and energy, so we silently wish or openly ask for someone to turn on a fan or light a match to get the stink out of the room. Better to be thought a fool than open your mouth and prove it.
That said, I’ve also been called a steel magnolia when the occasion warrants it. I can be as gentle and feminine as it gets but I’m also remarkably strong unless antagonistic forces combine. I’ve faced adversity with the best of them and survived with dignity. Just don’t mess with me.
When Justice Lags
A few personal situations have so far been resolved by the arrival of karma, though patience with them has been much harder for me to practice. One situation has already lasted for 20 years, and since my husband passed away 14 years into it, there’s nothing he can do to “fix” his family. Highly personal abuses can take years for karma to visit but eventually, I will see it happen.
“Cast your bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.” So say the Scriptures. (Ecclesiastes 11:1) It may be returned a hundredfold. At very least, we can hope it doesn’t turn out to be just moldy bread, but if that’s what we ourselves deserve…..don’t blame God.
Also, more strongly, Hosea 8:7 warns: “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind:” Everything I have ever done in my life has a consequence, whether I was justified in doing it or not. Every action has had a reaction. We can be forgiven by anyone we’ve offended, even unintentionally, but we can’t change the aftermath. As just one example: the innocent child who has illegitimate parents is not going away, and has to be cared for, or preferably, given up for adoption to parents who have yearned for him or her. Every situation requires a personalized decision to produce the best outcome for the child.
Not Always a Bad Thing
Anger, like the other negative emotions, can serve its purpose. They each show that the wrong person has crossed someone’s boundaries: Standing up to abusive in-laws or a narcissistic boyfriend, and a mama bear defending her cubs are all righteous examples. Yet after the outburst we have to shelve the anger while waiting for karma to happen. This often means avoiding the trigger for it in the future. You never have to put yourself in the line of fire again!
While we’re waiting for karma to show itself, we may often need to reach out to others for help extricating ourselves from a bad situation. Sometimes people can’t help that much financially, but they might know someone who can get us to a battered women’s shelter, or find us a small apartment in another community. And there are local crisis hot lines in our towns.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline in the United States is at 1/800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 866-331-9474. Their website is https://www.thehotline.org/ and it has a lot of useful information.
We can’t allow ourselves to be abused in any way, and if we’re already being beaten or raped, financially ripped off, or the victim of a narcissist, the sooner we get out, the better.
Rest assured the abuser will receive their reward, for “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” saith the Lord. (Romans 12:19) But we must care for ourselves and any children in the meantime.
Karma is sometimes a bitch, just like the person it is visiting. And it happens without any input from us.
I uploaded a different but related longer version of a post about karma to Medium.com on August 24, 2020.