There is a difference between having been victimized and being a victim. To have been victimized is an event (or events) that happened in a specific period in the past. To be a victim is to take on an identity that affects how we interpret our current world and the interactions within it. Victims:
- Focus on other people or institutions and how they are being wronged by the person/institution. They do not take responsibility for how their own energy or behavior contributed to the interaction.
- They take things very personally.
- When a difficulty happens, they cannot take the difficulty as a stand alone event, but surrender to the belief that “everything bad happens to me.”
- They seek the negative. They cannot find the good in situations. If they have a fender bender, they will not think, ‘oh thank god it could have been so much worse,” instead, they think things like “I can’t believe this! Why did this happen to me?”
- They have little equanimity when dealing with life’s inevitable difficulties.
- They believe they are powerless.
- They are often defensive.
A victim identity comes from victimization experiences that have not been healed. So, the cure to victim identity is to heal the wound. If some of the characteristics above apply to you, here are some suggestions on how to shift your experience of the world.
- Find a therapist, counselor or healer to work through past traumas that are keeping you stuck.
- In every difficult interaction, ask yourself, “what was my contribution to this dynamic?”
- If you can find none, as often occurs with institution type conflicts, remind yourself that this is not about you personally. It’s just a messed up system.
- In fact, balance taking responsibility for your contribution with an awareness that the difficult interaction may not be about you at all. Someone might just be having a bad day.
- Make a practice of looking for the good. Search for ways that the world – universe – god – spirit is supporting you. Make a practice of gratitude.
- Orient to difficulties as a learning experience.
- Start by taking one place where you often feel the victim and make a conscious effort to shift your thinking.
- Involve yourself in healing and mindfulness practices such as yoga, meditation and self-growth programs.
- Read more books related to self-help and mindfulness. Try Byron Katie, Pema Chodron, Tara Brach, Eckhart Tolle and Thich Nhat Hahn.
- Get involved in groups that support healing such as CODA. Find meetup groups that are aimed towards healing.
Getting out of a victim identity is all about getting into your own personal power.
May you be healed from your history of victimization. May you fully claim your power and capacity to have a positive effect on your life. May your own healing inspire the healing in others. May you be at peace.
Sabrina Santa Clara ~ Authentic Alchemy x3
Spiritual Counseling ~ Temecula, CA