I have committed to answering your questions, in this blog, for the next few weeks so please feel free to put something in the comment or email me directly if you have a topic you’d like addressed. In this post, I am addressing how playing the victim in our lives can be detrimental and how we can break free. We feel victimized – without power or choice. Sometimes we react with negativity. We feel as though we’re the victim. through little or no fault of our own. So, what can we do about this?
When We Feel Like The Victim
Last week, I took my kids to a neighborhood food truck. I hadn’t seen my neighbors in awhile and it felt good to get outside and catch up with old acquaintances. My neighbor came and told me how his wife of 17 years left him suddenly, without warning. He was totally blindsided. He asked me why she would do that? Really, he hadn’t done anything wrong. I understood that he didn’t really want me to answer the rhetorical question why. He was still in the phase of needing to feel badly about it. And because he was still getting traction from playing the victim role, I just let him talk.
Which reminded me of Mike’s comment on the blog from last week. Mike mentioned a technique he learned in a growth seminar he had taken. It was about an equilateral triangle and each angle at the bottom position were labeled “victim” and “martyr.” The angle at the top was labeled “adult” and Mike’s point was that we have to get to the top position to become the adult we really are. I liked this interpretation – being an adult is always better than being a victim or martyr.
However, I heard about this triangle a little differently. I had learned the three angles as being labeled “Victim,” “Abuser” and “Rescuer.” It’s actually a triangle which was developed by Stephen Karpman in 1968, called “The Drama Triangle.” Basically, the person plays one of three roles, depending on where they stood on the triangle.
I got this image from this blog. It is actually really cool to read. http://bertparlee.com/featured/organizing-wisdom-and-reclaiming-the-power-of-our-stories/
Becoming Whole Means Giving Up the Victim Role
I have to say, I can really relate to my neighbor. For years, I would relish being in the victim role. There are a lot of payoffs to being the victim:
1. There’s always someone you can find to rescue you.
2. You don’t have to take responsibility for things especially when they don’t work out.
3. People usually feel sorry for you and don’t seem to expect much from you.
However, there is a dark side to playing the victim role:
1. You my switch over to being the ‘persecutor’ when the rescuer doesn’t rescue you the way you wanted.
2. It’s a negative pattern that keeps repeating if you don’t realize it’s happening.
3. There’s no chance for real success because it’s a trap until someone stops. (I think that’s what Mike was referring to when he mentioned becoming the adult.)
So in order to become successful and whole – one has to recognize that they are at times, playing one of the roles in this triangle. Then, they have to become willing to stop engaging in the behavior. I’m not sure my neighbor is quite there yet.
How To Move Past the Victim Role?
Before I answer that specifically, I have another story. Years ago in college, I met a young man from Australia who fascinated me. He was so positive, so well adjusted and just okay about life. I sought him out to teach me how he did it. He would talk to me about concepts which literally blew my mind. I had never been exposed to these new ways of viewing life.
For instance, he reported how his parents had explained their divorce to him when he was younger. They said, “We believe we knew one another in a past life and had some karma to work out together in this one. We worked it out and now we are finished, and so it is time for us to get divorced.” Their divorce was amicable and undramatic. All of this blew my mind. What I learned is that we believe that we are not here by accident. Things that happen are not bad or good, they just are what they are. Or, they happen for us so our souls can grow. Yes, it is painful – but it is also an opportunity to grow spiritually, if we are willing to see it that way.
So, moving past the victim role means we must acknowledge we are doing it. Get help to change our behaviors to more positive and empowering ones. Recognize when we fall back into old modes of thinking. Move forward with a new attitude and way of behaving. This is not easy and it takes patience and practice. You may even desire professional help to see the repeating patterns from the past. And support to move beyond the old ways of operating.
I learned from my Australian friend about soul agreements. There’s a belief that before we incarnate into our bodies in this lifetime, we make agreements with other souls, to have experiences together. So, if someone leaves us, we are not victims. We agreed for this to happen in this life so we could experience the pain and grow through it. We would never agree to something which would not ultimately be for the good of our soul. So we can stop feeling victimized and start trusting that our soul knows what is best for us. (I will write more about soul agreements in a later blog post.)
Emerging From Victim To Empowerment
Lastly, we can break free from the victim position. If we live long enough, we will be given the experience to face the very things we fear most. How many of us have ever been frightened of being abandoned, only to have that happen to us and find inner strength we never knew we had. Or have you ever lost a job or even suffered financial set back, only to find a new and better path? Have you ever feared looking bad in front of peers, only to have it happen and then you find out who your real friends are? All of these experiences offer us the opportunity to journey through to emerge stronger and in a better position than we originally were.
We can become empowered by our setbacks. We don’t have to resort to needing a rescuer or becoming the persecutor ourselves. We can become the “adult” by recognizing that life can be at times, painful and difficult. But our soul will never let us down if we trust that it has our best interests at heart.
Until we meet again – may you be blessed on your spiritual journey!
More posts about perspective: