We all have a part of us that focuses on the negative and generates resistance to life in the form of negativity. I call that part of us, the “victim ego.”
The victim ego is the part of us that is in constant resistance to the world, with thoughts like, “I didn't deserve that, it's not fair” and “Look what they did to me,” or “They're trying to take advantage of me!”
When we automatically believe everything the victim ego says, we are miserable ALL the time! Meanwhile, the victim ego is quite happy with our negative state of mind because its main course of nourishment is resistance in the form of unhappy feelings! The victim ego is strengthened by negativity.
Listen for the “should/shouldn't(s)” in your speech. The victim ego has it's own particular vocabulary that consist of words that blame, induce guilt, and speak of times and places that only exist in the mind – like the state of “Shouldville” – the hometown of the victim ego!
Listen closely for your own should's and question them. (Byron Katie's Four Questions and Turn Arounds are an excellent model for questioning our thoughts)
For example, “She shouldn't be so controlling.”
When I believe she shouldn't be the way she is, how do I feel? How do I respond to her when I think she shouldn't be who/how she is? How do I see her? How do I treat her? What sorts of behaviors do I resort to? What would be different if I didn't have that should about her?
And finally, what's the exact opposite of that “should” about her?
“She SHOULD be so controlling!
How might that be true? Some possibilities might be,
“She should be so controlling because she is.” (In other words, it is what is. I can either line up with reality (what is) or resist it & make us both miserable.)
“She should be so controlling because who else is going to mirror to me my own need for control?”
And how about turning the statement around from, “She shouldn't be so controlling,” to say, “I SHOULDN'T BE SO CONTROLLING!”
For instance, I shouldn't be so controlling about how controlling she is!” 🙂
A universal truth that applies to such situations, says, “We judge and resist the very things in others that we have condemned and denied in ourselves.”
Knowing that, we begin to use the resistances & negative judgments we have towards others to locate where in our own minds that judgment lies. We do it in the name of self-forgiveness and understanding. It brings us compassion for ourselves & others.