A Spiritual Test : When the “victim” is the aggressor

It wasn’t until I began to study counselling that I really started to understand the difference between victim and survivor. Or that these two words reflected a world of difference in how we choose to live our lives.

I guess you could say I’ve spent  most of my life slipping between both those positions trying to find a comfortable balance. Mostly hitting my head against resentment. Occasionally finding a position where I could exercise forgiveness. Finally realising that what matters is my authentic self. My truth. With a healthy dose of personal responsibility thrown in to balance out my rights. In working through this particular spiritual test I’ve also embraced the victim in me. And turned her into a survivor. Better than that, I’ve turned her into a ‘loud and proud’ voice for my beliefs. Best of all, I let my actions follow my words. Because I know this is the way to work from my heart centre.

So why the victim? In my experience there are a range of reasons why I or someone would identify themselves as a victim. Of course we have all had experiences where we feel that we have suffered some harm or abuse at the hands of others. Unfortunately that does happen and I won’t ignore that bad behaviour and treatment does happen far too often. However, it’s when we get stuck in defining all of the events in our life as being ‘done’ to us i.e being powerless, helpless, that a victim playing pattern begins to emerge. The person concerned, for whatever reason, turns all challenges, prohibitions and no’s into another justification for reacting as if they were a victim.

The boundary between the outer world and the inner world becomes distorted. Sadly if the label victim is embraced by the person eventually everyone else becomes the ‘enemy’.

This is where aggression can further distort the perception of the victim. Because the person is defending a belief in powerlessness everything becomes a battle to assert power. Whether the facts support the assertion or not. Aggressive words and actions follow in an effort to reclaim the ‘lost’ power. Except that this response often reinforces the sense of powerlessness when the other person/people respond. In this distorted energy circle it can be really hard to break through a victim mentality. Which is where the word survivor can be of real use. I have had all sorts of bad experiences. In order to move on from a feeling of powerlessness I have had to consider my life events from a different point of view.

I’ve become a survivor. This is a powerful way to define myself. It acknowledges that bad things have happened. At the same time it gives me a sense of myself as able to cope, powerful enough to get through all of the consequences and become whole again. Whole but different. It also removes any sense of guilt or shame that I was powerless. What I have experienced will have reshaped who I am. But not to my detriment. Survivors endure, persevere, are resilient. If I hold this self image I can continue to experience the world without bitterness or fear. There will be no need for my behaviour to be as if everyone else is an aggressor. I will also be able to respond naturally to the aggression of others with kindness. Perhaps even understanding. Rather than perceiving threats everywhere. As a survivor I will be able to handle conflict and confrontation.

Understanding the difference became a cornerstone of my counselling practice as I supported many people who moved from victim to survivor. Then I started to wonder what the spiritual significance of victimhood represented.

Why did I want to experience this particular life view? Especially more than once! What purpose did it serve? Of course it took me ages to understand why I was choosing to use this energy. It was all about use and abuse of power. Another recognition came quickly after that. Sometimes I am the mirror for another person. The karma agent. Being the victim offered someone the chance to experience being the persecuted. It might seem off the wall to want to play these roles (or archetypes) yet I found it helped me to understand my spiritual journey. We aren’t here looking for love and connection. I know we have that in the pink perfect. We are here to experience the absence of love. Self-love.

Following on from this it seems clear to me that if I am the victim I can also be cast as the persecutor. I have to mirror that energy as well. What a spiritual conundrum. In any exchange which am I being? What is the truth? Victims need persecutors. Or to perceive me as the ‘baddie’ so that they can continue to experience victimhood. That certainly made my counselling supervision and spiritual guidance lively. Similarly, as a survivor I had taken on aspects of self-love. Perhaps embracing the reality that connections between people have many, many layers of meaning. What is on the surface is not the reality at all. The surface is the place where manipulation can happen. Guilt-tripping. Fighting fire with fire. Self-justification. An absence of shared truth.

How do I step out of this cycle of victim-survivor and regain my personal power?

It took me quite a few spiritual lessons to work this one out. When I looked at the underlying energy of this type of situation I realised that what the victim wants is power and what the survivor wants is power. The power of love instead of it’s absence. Then it seemed an awful lot clearer for me. I already had power. It had been with me all the time. In life shit happens. Always. It’s how I shovel it that matters. So I stopped giving away my power. If things happened I asked what I had done to help them turn out this way. I acknowledged when I was self-sabotaging myself. And I loved myself enough to stop. I also understood that I could step out of the game any time I wanted. It became possible to give voice my views about game playing too.

I stopped giving my power to others. Stopped loving them more than I loved myself. And I make a commitment to examine my own feelings, thoughts and behaviour. So that they couldn’t be manipulated by others. Twisted against me by aggression. Or pulled into blame, shame and guilt by those who needed to feel like victims. I understood that stepping out of the game would make me more visible. People who are prepared to stand in their own power are often feared. Because we have escaped. And we are not afraid to tell it like we see it. Most of the time nowadays I let the power struggles pass. I will always speak my truth, especially when called upon to witness aggressive behaviour by others. Because I have no vested interest in outcomes. I call out their behaviour because until we end power games unconditional love will struggle to get a toe hold in this world.

There are too many victims, not enough survivors and too few of us standing in our power. So sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

Day 541 of my blogging challenge 

Go Forward With Love

A thought has been in my mind all day. Go forward with love not need. I’ve been doing a bit of thinking about my authentic self. How do I live a life where I am being true to myself?

I have a lot of support from my Guides. For a long time they have been helping me understand more about living a spiritual life. Each of the choices I make, the actions I take, have consequences. Payback comes in this life and, I believe, in my future lives. I’ve written before about what you give out you get back. But sometimes it can be difficult to know which way to go. I want to do the ‘right’ thing but how will I know that it is? Especially when other people may not agree with my definition of what is right. As I know I can over think things I also know there is potential for me to get very stuck about taking action.

When I sense an issue may have the potential to get me bogged down I go straight to my Guides. Not for them to tell me what to do. I have free will and my life has to be lived by me. But to help me work it out as best I can before I get too stuck. There are some big challenges facing all of us at the moment. How do I respond to the violence and aggression that is surfacing right now? What do I do about my part in that energy? Am I contributing fear or love? What is my authentic self feeling, thinking and doing? Because if I say I am a person of peace and love is that what every bit of me is showing and doing? Of course it means stepping back from myself and taking a long hard look into me.

To go behind my mask, to see the true me, makes me vulnerable. I am opening myself up to judge myself if I’m not careful.

Yet I do want to acknowledge the bits of me that play into my fear and hatred. I know we all have those bits. Even if we try to hide them from ourselves. Looking at the ways in which I can be mean, nasty, judgemental of others, cruel, harsh or aggressive help me to choose if I actually want to give out that energy. That is a powerful way of helping me to step back from the shadow side that all of us have. Because the shadow side is driven by need. The need to put others down. A need to hide my own insecurity by targeting others. Even the need to hurt others because I am hurting. And definitely the need to make others fearful so I have some company in my own fear.

How do I go forward if I am driven by these need. The simple answer is that I don’t. I wallow. I drown in hatred and fear. It festers within me and my world becomes a steady progression of ‘wrong’ choices. Choices that take me where I really don’t want to go. But put me in the fear nevertheless. I understand why my Guides have been telling me all day to go forward with love not need. I have to love myself enough not to choose the shadow side options. It’s important for me to see every human being as valuable, unique, special so that I work from a loving place. And it’s vital that I resist the need that my shadow side tries to drive me along with.

If I go forward recognising that I have everything I require to live a happy and full life then that is what I will have. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy whichever way I do it. And I prefer love to fear any day of the week.

Day 501 of my blogging challenge

Oxygen Mask Required?

9d615800-7c7a-4ec4-acc9-8f6f2ae802cb-pngHere is the first step into my next year. I’m continuing to blog. I feel that the times are rather challenging at the moment so my blog is a necessary blast of oxygen that helps me get through the turbulence.

I’ve had several conversations recently about an ‘out of sorts’ feeling that seems to affecting many of us. Knowing that the energy is shifting is one thing. I find dealing with the actual shift something else. Noticing my general muddled headedness I’ve been trying to be kind to myself and not push too hard to get anywhere with anything. I’ve also been very aware of a general level of shadow side thoughts and feelings that I’ve been expressing. And so have many other people. This clearing out is good. It gives me room to breathe in the oxygen of positivity. My Guides have always encouraged me to be more aware of myself. Because then I can choose what energy I radiate out into the world.

It’s the same for every one of us. We are tripping up over our own shadow and the energy we have put out there at some time in the past. That’s why the apparently resolved issues are cropping up again. It’s time for all of us to find a new way of being ourselves. Whenever I think about this process my Guides are really good at giving me a mental prompt to help me. It was their energy that got me to pay attention on a flight to the words in the safety demonstration. The airplane is pressurised so if anything compromises the seal oxygen escapes into the sky. At the point when the cabin looses pressure the oxygen masks drop out of the storage compartment. The instruction is to put your own mask on before you help others to put theirs on.

It makes perfect sense really. Oxygen is what keeps us alive. But there is a limited time we can hold our breath for.

So we need the masks. But if your are struggling to get a mask on someone else you are depleting your own energy. If you get your mask in place you can breathe the oxygen whilst helping all those around you who can’t breathe yet. So being kind to me is about putting my own mask on first. Then I can help by being kind to others. Of course, someone gasping to breathe might not agree with my choice. I actually know what that feels like since I have asthma. Yet the worst thing is if anyone panics for me. The more calm I and they stay the sooner I can draw a breath again.

It’s about choice and what the greater good should be. I know that when I consider my own oxygen mask I realised that sometime I put the mask on, sit back and say well, I’m ok. Sometimes I put my mask on then run up and down the plane choosing who ‘deserves’ my help. Sometimes I do the best thing . I put the mask on and start helping anyone within reach so they can help others too. Yet there will still be people struggling to breathe who might feel upset that I haven’t chosen them. The reason I try to help those around me is that when they have their oxygen mask on they can also help. Together we can make sure the whole plane has the energy to survive.

It’s that kind of time at the moment. The world is on a flight towards a greater understanding of how we connect intuitively to one another.

The energy blasts, including the two in December, are the releasing of pressure in the cabin. Eventually we will be flying smoothly again when the pressure is rebalanced. But in the meantime we have to be ready to share the energy of survival. The oxygen we need is positivity. I am working hard to stay in the optimistic flow of energy. I want to see a changed and better world so I live at the moment with that vision in my mind. No matter what surfaces I believe that human beings all have the capacity for compassion and love.

If I hold onto that I am giving myself pure oxygen that can lift my spirits and get me over the hurdles. Of course there will be those who try to pass along their fears or negativity. Some of the people who are too far away for me to reach their oxygen masks might be upset. Or unhappy that they have to wait for help. Perhaps they may even decide they aren’t going to help themselves. In a very real and practical way I have to accept that I’m not there to rescue the whole plane. No one is. We start with ourselves and then help how and where we can.

When I think of the times I rushed around the plane trying to help or sat back concentrating on only being ok myself I recognise another strand to this.

Sometimes I grab my oxygen mask or someone else’s because I’m looking to be a hero. I’m doing it because I want approval or praise. The fear of disapproval is a strong urge in all of us. Being authentic and true to self may attract adverse reactions from others. Especially where our choices and actions are described by others as selfish. There is a fear and judgement that keeps us being ‘nice’ in the wrong kind of way. I know that a bit of me wants to help so that I get a reward. It’s the bit of my ego that can trip me up by making my service to others a self-seeking exercise. But I know this shadow really well.

Now is the time to shift that energy out of my life. Because the oxygen of compassion and love can help me to change for the better. I know that service is actually it’s own reward. Most of the time that is how I choose to do what I do. Knowing that I still have a way to go doesn’t disappoint me. I am living my life as authentically as I can for this point in my life. I am sure that there is plenty of room for improvement. No wonder that I am going to grab all the change energy that is around at the moment. Life is about change. Life is about loving myself enough to change. And if I change then an optimistic life of service to others will be all the reward I need.

Day 366 of my blogging challenge.