With all of the conversations happening around the #metoo movement the last few weeks, I've been seeing the dreaded victimhood debate pop up everywhere.
"I refuse to say #metoo because I'm not a victim."
"You're really just stuck in victim mentality when you give power to it."
"Be empowered, not a victim!"
People are so scared about being labelled a "victim" or having "victim mentality" -- especially in the spiritual community. And using it against someone else is a big statement. It's like a dirty word that someone calls someone else to end the conversation. It's the final jab. It's kinda like the "oh no she didn't!" insult of the new agers.
I find this bothersome.
And frankly, uncool.
Because we are and have been victims, every single one of us.
A victim is, by definition, "a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency," which is really just a statement of fact and not a spiritual concept. Being a victim is a reality, pure and simple. It should not be the super emotionally charged statement that we throw at one another like daggers.
If you're been assaulted, you're a victim of assault.
If you've been raped, you're a victim of rape.
If you've been robbed, you're a victim of robbery.
It's really pretty cut and dry to begin with. Why in Goddess's name do we have to take something so literal and muck it up with our own karmic drama?
Victim isn't a dirty word. It's a reality.
And I know, you want to take it in the spiritual concept direction now. You want to get deep with it or whatever. The cycles of victimhood, the giving away of power, the lack of ownership. Yes, I hear you. If you want to go there, alright. Let's go there.
Victim is an energetic archetype that is universal and embedded in the collective unconscious. It's a role that every single one of us without exception has embodied. You don't get to exclude yourself because you think you're supposed to be stronger. As strong as you are and will become, the victim archetype will always live inside of you.
The victim archetype is one that lives in a place of pain and violation. Being forced into the victim role is a traumatic and nonconsensual act. Rape is nonconsensual. Assault is nonconsensual. Betrayal is nonconsensual. Every traumatic thing that occurs is a nonconsensual act.
When we experience these nonconsensual acts that force us into the victim role, especially at certain ages and developmental stages of our lives, yes, it does set up unhealthy energetic patterns in our brains. It does create a mindset that we are not good enough to be treated well, and that we will always be betrayed and victimized. And yes, these patterns will tend to draw in more of the same. We can also re-traumatize ourselves unconsciously.
But these energetic patterns were not created willingly. No human being, in their heart of hearts, genuinely wants to suffer. That victim mentality was created out of pure pain and isolation, based on a nonconsensual act that mercilessly continues to live on in their bones.
But then how does one escape that pattern of victimhood based on nonconsensual acts?
How does one stop being a victim, in the psychospiritual sense of the word?
I would think it would be obvious that shaming someone for feeling that way wouldn't work...
Or telling them to stop feeling sorry for themselves...
Or telling them that they're attracting their assault based on their low vibes...
Or telling them to be stronger than that...
If you step back and think about it, it's pretty cold. These human beings, who have been in pain for so long, need our compassion and our nonjudgmental ears. They need validation in a world that refuses to give it to them.
And more than that, they need to know how to reclaim their power once they've been victimized. And shouting "victim mentality!" isn't going to help them. Why would we create so much energetic aggression in response to an aching unending pain in another being? Why would we judge and exclude and shame those who need support to transcend that cycle?
It has to start with loving your own victim. This is shadow work at its finest, people. We all have our very own personal victim archetype, she requires the same kind of patience and love that our other archetypes do. She is a part of our shadow. And as most of us have realized at this point, we need our shadow to be fully integrated beings, and to integrate our shadows, we need to work with them intentionally. Trying to push down every sign of victimhood in ourselves and others will only keep us further from our wholeness. There is a root cause, a core wound, that your victimhood stems from. And if you find yourself in those victimhood patterns, it's not because you want to stay a victim. It's because you haven't yet processed and integrated the root cause.
The only way out of victimhood is to go fully into it and through it.
By denying yourself as a victim, you are denying an actual physical reality of your life, which creates an energetic dissonance. The longer you continue on in this type of denial, the larger the gap becomes. If you have the courage to let yourself sink into that reality as a victim, truly feeling the pain of yourself as a victim in your current situation and in the root cause of all your victimhood, you will find that you are validating one of the deepest parts of yourself, and you will be able to move through it. This is why I recommend intentional pity parties. It's a way to create space for your victimhood and your self-pity in a safe and constructive way.
Victimhood and self-pity are completely valid and legitimate feelings too. They deserve a safe space as well, just like all your other more desirable emotions do.
You'll find that once you create spaces for victimhood in yourself, you'll feel validated in a way that allows you to naturally transcend that energetic pattern. You can't yet choose a different way if you haven't seen the full extent of the pattern and the initial victim wound. But once you've allowed yourself to be completely immersed in your pain and your victim mentality, you will be able to recognize those energetic patterns and choose differently with how you react and process in the future.
You'll also notice that the people who cry "victim mentality!" the loudest tend to be the very same people who haven't processed and integrated their own victimization. Because once you have validated and understood your own inner victim, there's no longer an emotional charge around the word, and there's no longer a need to judge others for their own inner victim. When others have been stomping out their own pain for so long, refusing to see it for what it is, they feel they must also stomp out the pain of others, because they don't want to reminded of their own pain.
This is why whenever I'm working with someone who has victim mentality patterns that keep coming up, I don't call them out and tell them to get over their victimhood. I don't tell them that their low vibes are asking for it. I ask them if they've taken the time and space to fully acknowledge the painful experiences they've had.
If you're a doctor, and someone comes to you with a broken arm, you don't say, "It's your fault your arm is broken."
You say, "What happened?"
so you can heal it.
Victim isn't a dirty word.
Victim is just another part of ourselves
that needs to be seen.
Met with compassion.