Who’s a Victim? Not me.
People get uncomfortable when addressing tactics they use to gain attention, or ways they blame other people for the state of their affairs, or how they constantly wait for someone to show up and take action. They cringe because I bring up the word victim. No one wants to see themselves as a victim.
But there’s a certain power in being a victim.
A way to seemingly control others.
Our society constantly invokes victimization as the way to live.
Specifically, if we’re not paying attention, we end up on the drama triangle (the three points are: victim, rescuer and perpetrator). Most soap operas, love songs, fairy tales and movies have the triangle as the story arc, and we get hooked into thinking this is some sort of reality; we buy into it.
And… just for fun… when we’re on this triangle, we usually switch points. Sometimes we’re rescuer in the same situation or persecutor with the same person.
Unfortunately, living as a victim is something many of us do unconsciously.
It shows up insidiously.
In deriving a strange pleasure from someone mistreating us, we get oddly excited (if we’re honest) because we’re getting our power back from them.
We induce guilt. Guilt is a master manipulator. Manipulation gives a false sense of control. Next time, pay attention to someone ‘fucking-up’ and how you now feel you can punish them for what they have done. Sound familiar?
It’s really a painful way to live. Usually we’re completely oblivious to this being a pattern and we think it’s just ‘how we feel.’
It’s a cycle in which, we think, “If only they would change”, or “I’m always waiting for them to do blah, blah, blah,” except we don’t really want them to. It would defeat the purpose of us being able to stay as a victim. ‘Poor us’ against this brute of a human being.
Being a victim is a strategy. We learned it when we were young. It’s a way of getting attention or blaming someone/something else for how we feel. If we hold something outside of us accountable, we falsely believe, we’ll feel better than if we take responsibility.
As a kid, it helped in getting love, attention or value. And it helped in not being abandoned. But these were just strategies, giving the ‘appearance’ of having power.
Many of us still use the same strategies we had as small children. We’ve had years of re-affirming beliefs about ourselves, which keep us locked into this victim dynamic.
In reality, we should not try to wield power over another.
Empowerment doesn’t come from others being accountable to us or being locked in a power struggle. We never do have power over anyone or anything permanently. Ever.
Perhaps we get an apology, or someone tries to make up for being a jerk, but we still never really feel fulfilled. And the other person is more than likely sitting on a land mine of resentment toward us. It’s an inauthentic way to live, which means we will always feel shitty, and as if something is missing almost all the time.
Who does this triangle actually work for and how do we get off?
It works for those who see no other way. And by ‘it works’ I mean they continue to survive by never really living. Their voice is null and void unless it’s whining, complaining, manipulating or looking at us as though we just beat up a puppy. This is not happiness, and it’s not the road there either.
The first action is to hold ourselves accountable. Screw holding anyone else accountable (even if they do what we want today, tomorrow they can do something else. WE CANNOT CONTROL OTHER PEOPLE). Look at where we blame someone else for a shitty situation. What is our part? Why do we allow it? What are we really trying to get? And what do we want outside of us to change?
The second action is to ACCEPT. Look at everything as it is, good, bad and ugly. Just say OKAY, because wishing it or someone would change is like staring at a mountain and wanting it to be a moose.
The third action is to notice where the resistance inside us is located. What don’t we like about the situation? Where is that reflected within us? Find the pain. The outside is a reflection of our inner world. Whatever we resist persists, so if we start loving ourselves as we are, we feel more peaceful.
The fourth is to see our truth. Where do we lie to ourselves? What makes us think this is the way to survive? Can we see another way by taking responsibility and making choices that are in alignment with our heart? Love is always there–the more we love ourselves, the more we can actually listen to our truth.
The fifth action comes from knowing number 4, 3, 2 and 1. Set boundaries. Decide what is acceptable to us and what we want our life to look like. Then WE MUST LIVE INTO IT. It’s not up to others to respect our boundaries first, it’s up to us. And boundaries are NOT walls or something to beat others up with. Boundaries are a statement of our standards for living. Period.