Victim Consciousness & Its Opposite

Blocks - a potrait of the mind
Creative Commons License photo credit: Robbert van der Steeg

I have lived on all sides of addiction (alcohol & drugs) and so have much personal experience with life on the victim triangle or what we call victim consciousness. I've found that moving out of victim consciousness requires that we move into its opposite, observer consciousness.

A primary requirement for accessing observer consciousness is the knowledge that our thoughts and beliefs generate our feelings, and prompt our behavior. In other words, our reactions and feelings about others and our life situations determine our state of mind, NOT those people and situations. When we respond from that understanding we do not feel the need to personalize what people say and do. We understand that our life situations do not cause our reactions – our thoughts do.

That simple shift in understanding moves us from the victim viewpoint that says, “they are doing it to me,” to a more reflective one, “I am unhappy because of what I think/believe – not because of what they say or do.” From this place of self-responsibility, we are self-determining, rather than at the mercy of others. We observe our own thoughts first, rather than to automatically blame them for what we feel.

From observer consciousness we learn to look closely at what we tell ourselves about our life situations, rather than look outside ourselves for evidence of how we've been mistreated – the way we do when we are in victim consciousness. Rather than to react in negative painful ways towards the other person, or our external situation, as we do when we are in victim, we, as observers, learn to address our feelings on the inside by finding the thoughts that generate our unhappiness and questioning those thoughts/beliefs.

When we are in observer consciousness, we separate our thoughts from the external situation. We see the external action, (husband telling me how to cook eggs, for instance), and we hear the inside scoop, i.e., what we are telling ourselves about the action, (“He's trying to control me.”). We know that the action, and our beliefs about the action, don't always match. We can be wrong in our thoughts/beliefs about what happens in our life.

When we are in observer, we no longer blindly believe our negative thoughts about a situation, the way we do when we are on the victim triangle; instead we stand back from our thoughts, and question them.

For instance, from observer we might notice particular negative feelings and thoughts regarding our spouse's behavior, but instead of automatically believing those thoughts and reacting accordingly – by telling him off, perhaps, or by lecturing him about it – we question our assumptions about his behavior instead. “The Four Questions and Turn Arounds” packaged by Byron Katie ( www.thework.com ) are a concise set of questions that are powerful because they move us out of victim consciousness and into observer consciousness.

When we access observer consciousness consciously and consistently, we find less and less external reason to see ourselves as a victim of someone else's behavior.

Hope you find this to be helpful.
BLessings, Lynne

10 Responses

  1. Thank you Bobby, for your feedback. You are right, denial does not serve well, and neither does projection serve well. Whereas denial is to ignore or pretend that something is not the way it is, projection is to believe something so much that we see it whether it’s there or not. Obviously these are both problematic states of consciousness.

    When we project a belief onto someone, we feel and act as if it’s true; in so doing, we gather evidence to support our projection.
    For instance, let’s say someone asks me for directions, but I believe they are trying to insult me. My feelings and reaction towards that person will be determined by what I believe (“they are insulting me”). I may react defensively by saying something sharp to them, or by being short. That person then reacts to my reaction by coming back at me with a negative comment. Now, I have evidence that they were trying to insult me. In other words, when we believe it is so, we make it so.

    Yes, I understand that denial doesn’t work either. The dilemma comes in deciding whether we are denying or projecting.

    As humans, we all practice the projection formula of; belief leads to projection creates reaction that becomes evidence in hand – most or the time, we don’t recognize we are doing it; we just go on reacting in ways that create havoc & unhappiness for ourselves, never noticing that we are the main contributing factor by projecting our idea of reality onto the world around us.

    This is where observer consciousness is helpful. Observer Consciousness is a neutral state of consciousness that allows us to step back and examine our own thoughts, ask ourselves questions about what we are believing so we can better discern between what is our unfounded belief and what is reality. Observer consciousness helps us discern when we are in denial, or projecting, so that we can see the reality of our situation.
    Hope this was clarifying.

  2. “We can be wrong in our thoughts/beliefs about what happens in our life.”

    We can also be right. For example if you have a maarriage in which the husband is always telling the wife how to cook eggs, it just may be she is being abused by him emotionally and psychojogically, possibly even physically.

    Denying truths does not help correct any problem in life.

  3. I’m not sure what you mean by “intuition misleading,” so not sure how to comment on that. I do know that our feelings are produced by our thoughts. My guess is that it is the thoughts behind the emotional states you mention above that are the true cause of your unhappiness rather than your intuition. Adjusting and reframing our thoughts is the way to peace. Hope this helps. Blessings, Lynne

  4. It is truth, I have discovered it last week.
    I watched my behavior during 6 lonely hours at work,
    and I couldn’t believe, I went through every single emotion possible
    Happiness, Fear, Anger, Hate, Apathy, Negativity, and Crying.
    I acted out because I listened to my Intuition. What is you opinion about it? you use word believe might be it should be called ‘intuition misleading’ ? I am curious about your opinion, thank you for this text.

  5. I have found this really helpful in allowing me to learn more about myself.My mind was conditioned to looking for the problem out there.When i am calm enough to observe my reactions,i can identify the beliefs that cause me to react that way.
    I love that i am really getting to know myself.

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