It startles and saddens me when I am accused of being a “victim basher.” And yet, taken out of context, and without understanding, I can see how my words might lead one to think such thoughts. Nothing, however could be further from the truth, Please allow me to clarify the difference between being victimized and being in victim consciousness – for they are not the same thing at all.:
Victim consciousness is a state of consciousness that can exist whether or not we’ve been victimized. Of course there are REAL victims! That is Reality. There are victims of all kinds of sordid abuse, of disease, of disaster, and on and on … However did you know that although we might be (or have been ) a victim without going into victim consciousness?
Victim Consciousness is a state of mind that has to do with how we frame the things that happen to us … actually we can be in victim consciousness even if we haven’t been victimized at all! Victim consciousness is the state of mind we lapse into anytime we blame our circumstances on someone or something outside ourselves. Victims of victim consciousness see themselves as being at the mercy of their life circumstances – they see themselves as being powerless, hopeless, and at the mercy of outside forces. They believe the outside world must change before they can be happy or at peace. They believe the world and others must be different before they can be okay, which is the primary reason people attempt to control others and their surroundings! Often simply the fact that someone disagrees with us or says something we don’t like can spiral us into victim consciousness!
The truth is that we are NOT at the mercy of our surroundings. What happens to us does not have to determine how we think or feel. Reality says that it’s what we tell ourselves ABOUT what’s happening around us that determines our degree of inner peace. We are in charge of the way we feel and think and react … else we truly are like leafs in the wind, being blown about by every breeze that comes along.
Although someone (and I speak from my own life experience) may hurt, offend, attack, or threaten us – we get to choose how we will perceive, feel, and react to it. This is what those who are NOT living in victim consciousness know and practice. Even horrendous happenings cannot rob us of peace unless we allow it. We may be victims but victim consciousness is always optional. We can be victimized terribly and choose NOT to collapse into victim consciousness!
And here’s something else to chew on … every abuser or perpetrator IS indeed in victim consciousness.
Why? Because persecution and perpetration are acts that come from a BELIEF that one has been unfairly treated, and therefore must vindicate the wrongdoing they feel they have endured from others. Persecutors enter a state of victim consciousness to JUSTIFY victimizing others! To persecute another is to see ONESELF as a victim who is simply acting in self-defense so they strike out at, or overpower others to vindicate or protect themselves.
Of course, persecutors end up, most often, with consequences for their behavior that reinforces their own “victim” stance. This is what the Victim Triangle, which defines the three defense strategies of Victim CONSCIOUSNESS teaches. My job is to share with others the nature of victim consciousness so that they KNOW they have a choice – not side with abusers! I teach the victim triangle which clearly describes the three roles we play when we are in victim consciousness and shows us that NO MATTER WHATE ROLE WE START OUT IN ON THE VICTIM TRIANGLE, SOONER OR LATER, WE END UP IN VICTIM – YES EVEN PERSECUTORS.
I myself have been victimized. During childhood, I was sexually, physically, and emotionally abused. I have been terrorized and terrified. I understand the pain and emotional damage that can occur when we take on the abuse done to us as being ABOUT us – and yes, it IS difficult NOT to take it on and personalize abuse. And yet, IF THERE IS TO BE TRUE HEALING, and inner peace we must indeed stop seeing ourselves as victims and begin to see ourselves as survivors and thrivers instead.
Moving OUT of Victim Consciousness, and beyond the seeing of ourselves as forever victims who must live painful lives because of what someone else did to us (without denying the victimization OR giving in to it) IS imperative if we are going to be able to achieve the goals we want to achieve. And, yes, it is a process – often a long one. I am not trying to minimize the process of healing from having been victimized that one must go through to move into the belief that “I get to choose how I will see, believe, feel, and react to this.”
I discovered during my own process of healing, the barrier that Victim CONSCIOUSNESS was causing in me. I saw clearly that blaming my persecutors (which does not mean I make excuses for them or that I try and protect them from the full ramifications of their behavior) was only holding me captive to a reduced identity of myself as being damaged goods.
I spent years of doing exactly that, blaming, and feeling less than, feeling unworthy and irreparably damaged by what happened to me until I finally realized that it was my thinking about what had happened to me, and not the happenings themselves, that were holding me back. As long as I believed that I was forever damaged by what had happened to me, I continued to feel and act the part of the forever wounded victim. (Remember the Universal principle that says: “When we believe what we think, we automatically feel and act as if it is true ,,, “.) I saw that seeing myself as a victim was what was holding me prisoner, and NOT the act itself!
YES, I believe that abusers and perpetrators need to experience consequences for what they do. As a matter of fact, I am a BIG believer in allowing people to face the full brunt of the consequences of their choices – for I believe that is the only way to see the need to do it different next time.
It’s just that I stopped making myself miserable to prove to my abusers, myself, and the world, how badly I’d been damaged. I got tired of limping through because someone abused me, and decided instead to focus my thoughts and life energy on living my life in a way that was empowering. I decided to let the abuse turn me into a stronger, wiser, more flexible person so that I could live my life to it’s fullest, biggest capability – and THAT HAS WORKED FOR ME.
My work is for those who are interested in learning more about transforming our victim consciousness (we all lapse into it at times, btw). I am not molly-coddling persecutors, nor bashing victims at all. I am simply saying no to victim consciousness. There’s a big difference between the two stances. I hope this writing helped to clarify those differences.