From Victimhood to Personal Victory
From Victimhood to Personal Victory
One of the most noticeable characteristics of our time is our penchant for playing the victim or the perpetrator. We see this played out on a personal, local, national, and international level, and despite the seeming contrast, we play both sides equally convincingly.
In order for there to be a winner, there has to be a loser. In order for there to be a stronger side, there has to be a weaker side. In order for someone to be a perpetrator, there has to be a victim.
Perpetrators often result from the environment that they grew up in- children that are bullies at school are often the ones that are bullied at home, either by parents or siblings.
Victims are usually people that have seen their parental figures acting as victims and have learned the behaviour. There are two kinds of victim. The first is the male or female that suffers emotional, physical or verbal abuse on a constant basis, and accepts it as their lot. Children learn what they see and not what they are told, so if Dad always takes the abuse from Mum and never stands up to her or doesn’t leave, then the child learns to endure inappropriate behaviour for far longer than a healthy person would. This will play out in all their adult relationships, until they learn to say “Enough” and leave or change.
The second kind of victim is the “Poor Me” kind. They feel that life is out to get them, and that their lot is really unfair, and they usually cannot stop complaining or soliciting sympathy. They live in misery and obsess about how awful their life is and how bad things always happen to them.
Ironically, both types of victim subconsciously attract perpetrators to themselves as they need a perpetrator to allow them to be a victim. As victimhood is often learned behaviour, it is likely that the victim is not conscious of the role they are playing.
It is evident that given the choice, no one would volunteer to be a victim. It is usually quite a lonely role to play as victims repeat the same behaviour over and over again, and those that love them can only stand by incredulously as the negative behaviour becomes more deeply entrenched. It is also quite a powerful role as the rest of the family tries not to “upset” the victim, and can tread on eggshells in an effort to try to please them. Unfortunately for the rest of the family, it is impossible to please the victim, and this can lead to suppressed feelings of resentment and frustration as nothing can improve the situation.
The victim has learnt to get attention by being weak, ill, complaining, or whatever behaviour they watched or experienced as a child. A very common one is that the child got lots of attention when they were ill, so they learn subconsciously that being ill has benefits- attention.
What does recovery from victimhood look like? The first step is the desire to change. This usually comes when life has become unbearable and there is an understanding that there has to be a better way.
The second step is to take an honest look at your behaviour and ask yourself why do you act in the way that you do? Is it your way of getting attention? Is it because you do not care enough about yourself to stand up for yourself? Do you bully people, either physically or verbally, or with your misery? Do you complain all the time or solicit sympathy with your list of issues that are wrong with you? Do you believe that life is out to get you?
This step is a really challenging one because it requires complete honesty and a developed sense of self-awareness. If you are able to be honest with yourself, then this is the stage where change can begin.
Take a look at the people who brought you up. No one is to blame, as they were doing the best that they could, and had probably been brought up by victims or perpetrators themselves. Which behaviour traits did you learn from them?
These are the characteristics that you need to work on. Having a strong sense of self is important for this work. Both perpetrators and victims operate from a place of “I am not worthy” or “I am not good enough”. These are fundamental belief systems that need to change. Use any workshop, book, self-study course, energy work, or any other self- help or self-improvement tool that you can find that works for you in order to challenge these belief systems.
The third step, is to challenge the belief that life is out to get you. By focusing your attention on the negative all the time, you are actually sending out messages that this is what you want to attract. Try to catch yourself when you are thinking negative thoughts and do something really simple like say “I am grateful for....” and list three things. In the beginning this is really difficult for a victim as they have been programmed to look for all the negative things. However, are you grateful that you have a bed to sleep in? That you have food on the table? That you have two arms and legs? Begin with the simple things in life, and make a practice of listing all the things you are grateful for each night. Try to work up to 10 things. Here are some suggestions for those at the beginning of the journey-
I am grateful I drove safely today
I am grateful that I have people who care for me
I am grateful that I am able to eat when I need to
I am grateful for a warm bed at night
I am grateful I have work
I am grateful that the sun shines
Evidently, these will not apply to everyone, but in the beginning, it is just important to find a few things that you are grateful for. As time continues, you will find the list easier and easier, and eventually, you will look across the room at a stack of notebooks full to the brim with things that you are grateful for and somewhere along the line you will have changed your perception. You will be grateful.
The fourth step is to take responsibility for your behaviour today. Regardless of what happened to you, or how badly you were treated, today you are an adult, and as such, you need to take responsibility for your actions today. Learn to set boundaries, complain less, get attention for doing positive things, stop bullying, stand up for yourself and most of all, let go of your misery. No one can make you feel miserable, angry, or sad, you choose your reaction each time. Consciously make a different choice- choose peace and joy.
There are many benefits to recovering from being a victim or a perpetrator, but the most important one is that you will begin to treat yourself with respect, and this in turn, will allow others to treat you with respect. A definite upside of recovering from victimhood is that you will be much more pleasant to be around and thus you will probably attract happy people into your life. You will always find people to condone your behaviour- find people that like your strength and positivity instead of your misery and negativity.
Start today and make a small change. The hardest part is accepting that you lived in misery and got your attention because of your story/illness/issues. The rewards are a much more positive outlook on life, and a deep knowing that you are loved and lovable, and that you get attention because of the things that you create, and the choices that you make for you today.
You are amazing. You are enough. You are worth it.
Written by Caroline Nettle.
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Caroline Nettle is passionate about healing, recovery, and assisting others to grow. Her website Spiritual Growth Tools is the culmination of many years of seeking answers about her own health and well-being, and studying the human condition. She writes articles, is a healer and gives talks about subjects relating to spiritual growth and personal development.
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