Each of the three roles on the victim triangle teach a particular lesson that, once learned, becomes the gift of that role on the Observer Triangle.
The victim, for instance, teaches surrender and humility through powerlessness. Learning when we are truly powerless is part of what it is to come alignment with Reality. The Victim transformed becomes the Observer who knows how to surrender their personal will to Source.
The Persecutor on the triangle teaches about boundaries. In true learning fashion we bounce from boundariless-ness (if there is such a word!) to walls where we are totally locked in even as we lock others out. On the Observer Triangle the persecutor/bully becomes a respectful leader (Bully’s are generally misguided leaders).
The third role, the Rescuer offers us the gift of authentic service. through rescuing we learn how to separate our need for approval from being a true server or conduit for Source. On the Observer triangle, we refer to the transformed Rescuer as an Empowering Friend – one who does not see others as needing a rescue but trusts their process, no matter how painful it may be to be what they need to do.
When you find yourself on the victim triangle, look for the opportunity to transform that victim role into it’s gift instead.
Victim consciousness is not something we suddenly acquire – it is a habituated perception of the world that we grow up with and never think to question. Everyone we know is steeped in it and we take it on during childhood as a normal way of seeing the world. What that means is that everyone we know are all most likely reacting from one of the three roles on the Victim Triangle most of the time.
Now that probably sounds hopeless, and truthfully, without awareness, it is an endless trip around the victim triangle. But conscious awareness allows the surfacing of a very different type of consciousness – one the Reality Formula Process© calls “Observer Consciousness” – that with practice moves us quickly out of v.c., no matter who or what circumstances we are dealing with.
Let’s define these two states of consciousness in simple terms:
We are in victim consciousness anytime we see the people and situations in our lives as the cause of our emotional state of well-being. When we think they “make” us feel unhappy (or happy) we are in Victim Consciousness because we are putting something outside of ourselves in charge of our emotional well-being (or lack thereof)! No wonder we constantly try to manipulate and control our life circumstances! We think our well-being is dependent upon those outside circumstances.
The antidote to this way of seeing is Observer Consciousness, a state of consciousness that allows us to step back from our habitual way of perceiving the world as victims (reacting to life from any one of the three roles on the Victim Triangle (victim, persecutor, rescuer) and question our victim thoughts instead. Rather than reacting blindly from unhappy beliefs. Observer consciousness allows us to understand that our feelings always come from our own thoughts, rather than from external consequences. We tend to think that our feelings come first and then prompt our thinking – but it is actually the other way round; the unhappy thought or belief is triggered first and THEN our feelings come out of that.
We maintain a deeply ingrained, and taken-for-granted mind-set (a habitual thought pattern or neural pathway) that gets triggered by external circumstances which in turn, triggers both feelings and reactions automatically. We go into react mode once these old neural pathways or victim mind-set is triggered. In Observer consciousness we learn to observe our own reactions to the people and situations around us instead of trying to control or manipulate them. Seems like a little thing – but it makes a huge difference, because stepping back into an observer role changes everything.
When we are in Observer Consciousness, instead of acting blindly (thoughts create feelings that prompts behavior that ends up reinforcing what we think) we consciously choose to see our life circumstances through certain Guiding Principles or Universal Laws that allow us to reframe our thinking about those circumstances. In Observer Consciousness we recognize through our emotional response and reactions when we are in Victim Consciousness and we take action to find the thought (or belief) within us that is causing our negative feelings and reactions and reframe it for a more positive response. This style of interaction puts us squarely in charge of our own emotional well-being. In other words, we take complete responsibility for our own happiness.
Here’s an example that was shared with me by my son, Andrew, who lived with an aging parent (his partner’s mother) who was struggling with mental confusion:
As a teacher, Andrew worked late most evenings. This particular evening he arrived home at his usual time, around 9:30 pm to find his 85 year old mother-in-law, waiting impatiently for him and his partner to arrive home. She was sitting at the kitchen table in front of a clean, empty plate. On the stove was a fully prepared, but cold, meal of cooked vegetables and rice. As soon as he stepped into the room, she started complaining about how hungry she was. She spoke about how she had cooked dinner and waited, in vain, “for hours” for them to come home so she could eat. He asked, “why didn’t you eat the food you cooked?” Obviously distraught, she said, “I can’t eat by myself, (her unhappy belief) and now my blood sugar is all messed up because you guys were not here to help me. You know it’s bad for my diabetes not to eat on time. Obviously there’s nobody to take care of me (an example of a core belief) and I’m too old to take care of myself! (another adjunct unhappy belief) I don’t know what I’m going to do!”
How one might handle such a situation depends on what state of consciousness one is in. From Victim Consciousness a typical response might come from a mixed state of guilt and resentment triggered by feelings that accept total responsibility for the mother-in-law’s well-being. The tendency when we are in Victim Consciousness would be to buy into the mother-in-law’s perception of herself as being helpless, in spite of the fact that she had managed to prepare the food for herself! The response from the martyred, rescuer/victim might go something like this:
“I come home every night at this same time (spoken in raised voice) – I don’t know why you would think tonight would be any different! I can’t do everything for you! Well never mind, I’m here now so eat your meal. Here, I cut up your vegetables for you … What do you mean, “it’s too late!” “where are you going? You cannot go to bed without eating. I know it’s cold but you have to eat something! Ok, ok, I’ll fix you something else – what would you like?” And then the rescuer would proceed to spend the next hour or more trying to placate and fix the situation, meanwhile neglecting their own needs, perhaps failing to even feed themselves!
However from Observer Consciousness, one responds from Reality and the response might sound more like this:
“You didn’t eat the food you prepared for yourself? (spoken with curiosity, not condescension) That surprises me. No wonder you are upset and hungry if you believe you can’t eat alone! Wow … that sounds painful. You think you can’t take care of yourself, is that right? Are you sure that’s true? No wonder you’re so hungry – refusing to eat, because you thought we had to be here for you to take care of yourself! No wonder you are angry with us! Thank you so much for fixing your own meal and taking care of yourself … and I appreciate your wanting to wait for us before you eat, but please DO take care of yourself first next time!”
In Victim Consciousness we often operate from an assumption that the other person, even though they may have some limitations, cannot take care of themselves. We buy into their limited notions about themselves and end up fostering their dependency by taking care of them in ways that they may well be very capable of doing for themselves.
Whereas in Observer Consciousness there is no demand that we assume responsibility for the other persons feelings and reactions, even if that person has obvious limitations. From Observer Consciousness we assume others can take care of themselves, and we let them be in charge of doing that to their best ability. This allows THEM to find the place where their capabilities are limited instead of us defining it for them. And it allows them to stay as independent as they can for as long as possible. Everyone benefits as a result.
One last, quick example I want to share – this one provided by a client who shared with me that her aging mother, who had recently moved in with her, had become so dependent on her taking care of her every little need that she had stopped taking the short walk to the end of the front sidewalk to gather her mail from the mailbox, even though she was fully capable of walking. After a few sessions, my client gave her mother back the job of retrieving her own mail. What was most surprising to my client, was that not only did her mother begin to walk to the mailbox for her mail, but within a week she was walking to the end of the street and back,”for the exercise” and was proclaiming to all who would listen about how much stronger and all round better she felt as a result!
The bottom line is this: doing for others what they can do for themselves is never truly helpful for them or us.
I like to think of challenging times as being like grueling workouts designed to strengthen the spiritual muscles. As much as these times try us, they are FOR us. Way beyond words, I see Life and all it brings as opportunities for refinement. Seen from that perspective, there is no such thing as seeing a problem in the face of encountering challenges along the way. Life may be difficult … challenging … or extremely painful … however, pain does NOT necessarily mean that something is wrong. Often pain indicates growth and expansion …
Self-inflicted suffering comes from holding on to some intensely painful beliefs that spiral quickly downward into misery making reactions.
Here a list of some common beliefs that holds us in Victim Consciousness:
- “Things are not the way they should be” – this belief is universal and the root cause of most human suffering. Believing this thought causes us to fixate on problems instead of what we have that is working. Of course, what follows on the heels of this belief is the need to control, deny, or attack the thing ( or person) we think should be different.
- “There is no support for me” – believing this causes us to turn our backs on the Universal Support that is always available and leaves us feeling bereft, alone, abandoned, and fearful for the future.
- “They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with the horrible things they do.” This one is a belief that causes us to react with acts of vindication (which is simply revenge justified) instead of seeing the law of Reality that recognizes that injustices are performed by those who believe their own unhappy thinking about the way life should be. Their reactions are an unabashed attempt to manipulate things. (Oh, they are just like us!)
- “These things shouldn’t have happened to me.” – believing this leads to the inability to realize that there is no such thing as coincidence … that there is not a single thing that has happened to you that has not been essential for your life purpose and growth.
Notice all the shoulds in the list above. I like to think of “Shouldville” as the hometown of the victim ego. Shoulds are a reaction that only causes resistance to Reality (a sure-fire way to guarantee misery). Peace never comes from the demand that things be different than the way they are. Reality does not recognize “should” – it simply and relentlessly reflects the belief being projected, and never the ideal.
Hope this is helpful.
Recently my inner process brought me around to seeing my work in a more concentrated way. I was looking for ways to make the services I offer more personal, more intimate … in other words, I’ve been thinking in terms of “going small” rather than investing in ways to appeal to more and more people.
Let me share with you what brought me around to seeing my work in a more concentrated way – how it was decided that I was to work with those who are seriously committed to freeing their consciousness from victim consciousness … with those who know there is no price too large to pay for the sake of a life changing, peace evoking, consciousness.
It came up for me recently during my morning practice, just as I was relaxing into the thought, “you’re doing a good job, Lynne,” my inner satisfaction suddenly was hit and brought back to Reality by a vivid recall of actual “mind-photos” of myself, depicting ways I have derailed, or gotten in the way of assisting consciousness. I saw all too plainly how, for instance, I had busily pursued my own agenda, for instance, of how it should all be done, rather than to wait for further inner instruction.
I saw how often my well-intentioned ideas and doings actually blocked Universal Flow, rather than allowing it to bring its healing balm through me to benefit others and myself. I realized that whenever I pursue my own plans and opinions of the way things “should” be, I resort to a sort of “frenzied doing” which only cuts me off from the Inner Voice, leaving me unable to hear it at all. I saw how easily distracted by my mission of “taking it out to the world” ,,, and I saw how doing so left me serving my self rather than serving Source. I even saw how I’d used spiritual principles to achieve my own personal goals for name recognition and financial gain! “Disgusting!” I thought and cringed inwardly, feeling sick to my stomach at the inner sight.
As I began to spiral into self-repulsion, the inner vision shifted and suddenly I was seeing the other side of the coin … vignettes began to crystalize in my mind that showed me the opposite side of me. I saw how in spite of my fumbling, bumbling ways, I had still been rendered useful by Source … and I remembered that the Universe is never wasteful. It uses everything for its own good purposes, regardless of that thing’s intention.
I could see that, even in my pitiful “know-it-all” state of consciousness, the Universe made use of me nonetheless. In spite of all the ways I blocked flow, clients and students were in fact able to make use of my sharing to better their lives. I had been provided with testimony after testimony beating evidence to that Reality.
Suddenly I realized the simplicity of my true assignment.
I saw that I wasn’t supposed to “go big!” I was supposed to go small instead!
Suddenly I could see that I was designed to work on a more personal and intense level with a select few people at a time – not so much with crowds … because the deep inner work cannot be done in a crowd … Most personal healing happens in small settings, with a few people who are intensely present for us … the very settings I had been trained in, and worked best in! Oh the blindness of those who cannot see for the opinions, like trees, that block their view!
I was being asked to take the work to a much more personal level. To work one on one … to rub shoulders and go down in the trenches with those with whom I work to guide them through a release of old patterns and energy blockages that stand in their way to mental freedom.
My greatest impact, I saw suddenly, comes in the face to face contact with my clients, when I can see them, look into their eyes, watch their thoughts leave fleeting trails in their facial expressions that allow me to personally support them in ways not possible in a crowd. I am here to take a select few through a process of learning the art of surrendering victim consciousness and to build a new consciousness, based in gratitude and trust, rather than in fear and blame.”
But then, of course, the inner critical “buzz” started. In the darkness created by eyes held tightly closed, I heard my own inner debate play out in my mind … fear versus trust … until finally, cutting straight through to the heart of the matter, I heard that familiar voice, the precise, quiet, yet relentlessly kind voice I’ve come to know so well; it said; “Do not hesitate to do what you are being asked to do to accomplish the task I have set before you to do. Take no shortcuts.”
And the value of learning the principles I’ve been taught for achieving peace occurred to me. And a question arose in my mind: “What do you think the value might be for a person to have the opportunity to live beside a spiritual life coach or mentor for a couple of days to help them sort through their own mental jungle of unhappy thoughts towards reframing them? What price can one put on the opportunity to receive personal pointers on attuning with Reality, and to experience the healing powers of Nature simultaneously? “
I was prompted to see that my efforts to “cast a wider net” are not necessarily what’s best for the population I am called to serve. Redirecting my focus towards the few who are committed, that know they are ready for a deeper, and authentic experience.
I arose from my practice that morning with my eyes set in a new direction … of going small … and more personal … of creating an environment conducive to encounters with Reality and Life in ways that align us and bring inner peace.
Are you ready to join me in going small and deep into the healing waters of Reality?