Victimhood gets shamed a lot in my personal development circles. (It’s so easy to blame the victim for feeling dis-empowered.) I actually believe people have to be allowed to fully embrace their victim experience in order to gather the wisdom, strength and safety to rise above it.
One of the greatest services we can do to another human being is to witness and validate a person’s experience with full respect.
I find that once a person feels fully heard and understood, that’s when space opens up to ask something like, ‘do you want to let this experience win, or are you going to fight back?’
Let yourself or your friend sink to the bottom of the experience. That’s where you’ll find the leverage to push back up.
I’ve noticed that people may wait a LIFETIME for someone to say, “I believe you,” and “Yes, what you went through is terrible.” That acknowledgement alone can be a radically healing act. It doesn’t even matter if the facts of a person’s story are in any way accurate. The experience itself must be respected. It is emotionally true.
Regarding people who appear to be “stuck” in victimhood… stuckness is self-protection.
It is far more useful to have appreciation and gratitude for this protection strategy than judgment and contempt. When we can see it for what it is -self defense—then we can create better strategies for safety, and stuckness has a very strong tendency to disappear. And sometimes there’s really nothing we can do to speed the process along. It will release when it’s ready to release.
All we can do is plant a seed of possibility, manage our own frustration, and give that person loving space to get the gift. The good news is we have our own past victim experiences to help us create a safe space for other people, and to hold up as a model of what’s possible on the other side.
Yes, we are bigger than our circumstances.
That is, perhaps, the biggest secret of human existence. But we also get to experience our circumstances and glean from them their hidden gifts before we let them go.
I don’t think I’ve yet met a person who is powerless to change.
There are so many gradations of change. Life is change. I don’t believe the game plan is to ever be 100% healed and issue-free while we’re breathing (though I’m not against that).
Progress, not perfection.
I think the game is to keep milking our experiences for every drop of wisdom and evolution we can, and some life experiences can be used over and over again for deeper levels of truth and empowerment.
It would be an absolute shame to go through your worst life crap and not USE it to live a better life!
There comes a day when we realize that we can TRUST OURSELVES to spot the red flags and keep ourselves safe from harm.
That’s when our victim experience morphs into a victory experience.
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