Feeling Like a Victim?
Feeling like a victim is something all of us can relate to at least during some point in our lives. Feeling victimized is a sign that we have disconnected ourselves from our own power. This almost always leads to blaming others or shaming yourself.
The victim is a powerful storyteller. Don’t be fooled by its stories of helplessness and self pity. Don’t fall for its finger pointing and self indignation. You have the power. Freedom is a result of recognizing that you have the power within, to have, do and be exactly what you want. Acceptance is the key to this freedom.
The opposite of the victim is the victor—the winner! Hidden in the feelings of victimization are the keys to success and overcoming obstacles. The victim can show us how to be free and find creative solutions to the most troubling of our problems. But we must first recognize the victim when it is hiding. Once revealed and recognized we can use the inherent wisdom in the victim to create victory.
Signs of the Victim
Many times we are unaware when our frustration or anger is actually trying to communicate to us that we are feeling victimized. We can go days feeling sorry for ourselves, suffering silently or being irritated and angry and still be unaware that we are feeling like victims. Whenever you are not feeling at peace with your life and in charge of your own circumstances you will most likely find the victim lurking in the shadows somewhere.
Here are a few ways to spot the victim:
- Feeling thwarted or prevented from doing, saying, or otherwise expressing something.
- Having thoughts of blame toward others or the person you feel is responsible for your inability to have or do what you want.
- Feeling shamed about yourself and berating yourself for it.
- Feeling stuck and unable to progress or move in a direction
- Confusion is sometimes (but not always) a sign that not only are we feeling like a victim but we are not aware of it.
- Anger can be a good alert that we are feeling victimized or feeling powerless. (Anger is a sign of a breach of personal boundaries.)
- Frustration almost always comes from a place of helplessness of victimization.
- Self pity is one of the more obvious ways to identify victimization.
Example: Several years ago I developed seasonal allergies. I had previously not experienced allergies or anything like it. Each spring was dreaded and filled with watery eyes, itchy throat and sneezes louder than freight trains. I found myself frustrated, angry at life, feeling sorry for myself and utterly helpless to change it. I was looking for someone or something to blame for this new experience. I was mad at the trees, the weeds and the flowers. I felt that the wind was personally attacking me by stirring up so much pollen. I had tried medications but they made me drowsy or feel odd. One day, feeling particularly pathetic, I had a breakthrough moment. Up until that moment, I had no idea I was feeling like a victim and yet I was saturated in victim feelings. I realized that all my suffering with the allergies was not caused by the allergies but the victimization. Feeling like a victim is miserable! I decided to accept each aspect of the allergies as normal as if the whole human race had runny noses and itchy irritated eyes. If I couldn’t be upset and resisting it maybe it wasn’t so bad after all. I immediately felt better. I noticed I began an internet search of non-drowsy allergy medicines. (The victim wants to suffer to reinforce the validity of the sufferer.) I closed the windows and accepted the pollen as if it were snow falling and I close up my house to keep the snow out. I felt empowered again. It may have been imaginary but my allergies seemed to improve after this. I eventually found a good medicine that worked well but I only took it when the symptoms were severe. I wanted to be able to practice accepting the symptoms. Each spring I became more accepting of the pollen in the air, loving it for being part of nature and looking forward to the beauty of spring. I stopped needing allergy medicine a few years ago as the symptoms were too mild. Eventually, what was once the source of suffering and frustration is gone. Spring comes and goes and I forget that I used to have allergies. Maybe they are still there but I have accepted them to the point that they no longer register. Whatever happened I am no longer a victim to seasonal allergies and I recognized the power of the mind.
Help for the Victim
The first step in working with feelings of victimization is knowing that your are feeling victimized. This may seem obvious but most of us get caught in the blame or shame game and don’t step back and observe how we are truly feeling. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help loosen the grip of victimization. Answer the questions according to the order of the list. If the answer to the first question is yes, you can challenge yourself by moving on to the next question, if the answer to that is yes, move on to the next one and so on. Once you reach number 6 you will be open and ready to answer the questions for yourself.
- Am I feeling like a victim?
- Is there someone or something I am blaming for my circumstances?
- Am I willing to take full responsibility for how I am feeling right now?
- Am I willing to let go of my need to suffer as proof of something?
- Am I willing to accept this situation exactly as it is and not wish for it to be different? (This is how we get stuck, wishing things were different than they are.)
- What is it that I want or need that I feel I cannot provide for myself?
- How can I provide what I want or need for myself? (There is always a creative solution to all problems. Just because you haven’t thought of the solution doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.)
- Where is my power in this situation? (Don’t focus on what you cannot do but on what you can do.)
Make a list if necessary of all the possible ways that YOU can fulfill your own needs and desires. I highly recommend reading Byron Katie’s book Loving What Is and doing her worksheets as an added support.
Working with the victim can be fun. Once you accept that you are feeling like a victim and are willing to do some inner work to reclaim your personal power the rest can be not only liberating but revealing too. The times I have realized that I was feeling like a victim have actually caused me to laugh out loud! I have learned how simple it is to take the energies of the victim to transform my resistance into acceptance. Here is one more example of something that happened to me that illustrates this perfectly.
A few years ago my sister threw me a birthday party. The party was going well and everyone was lighthearted and having a good time. Some time later another sister showed up and she had a heaviness and sadness that she brought with her. Before the evening was over she was crying and I was feeling frustrated with her unwillingness to look at herself. After she left and I was walking home alone in the dark I began to notice my thoughts. “She is such a victim. I can’t believe how she can’t see how she acts like a victim” and other such statements were on a mental carousel in my mind. I was hardly aware that I was having these thoughts but I looked up at the stars and said, “If I can see the victim in her it is only because the victim is in me. How am I acting like a victim?” It was at this point that the revelation came. I was blaming her for ruining my birthday party, I was blaming her for me not having a good time, I was blaming her for how I was feeling! I busted out laughing. I was the victim! By the time I got home all feelings of blame or irritation at my sister were dissipated and I was smiling at myself. It was easy and the situation that could have resulted in bad feelings for a long time was resolved in minutes. And I have been a lot more aware of when I am blaming another.
Working with the victim can be very rewarding and life changing. Try it, you may end up laughing at yourself too.
Here are two articles that I wrote that may also be helpful.