Hello and Welcome Back!
We explored why we get caught in the victim state, what it does for us, and why we would want to move past it.
Today I want to share a story with you that illustrates the mindset of those in victim mentality, as a way to more clearly show how this plays out in our minds.
As you read, see how this story can apply to the world you see around you, and perhaps to your own perceptions of life.
The Victim Child:
Let’s think of someone in a victim state as a child who is now old enough to start contributing to the responsibilities of the household. Up to this point the child was innocent as all children are. He saw that when he was hungry, mom gave him food. He watched her go to the cupboards to get the food, and bring it to him. He watched as his dad went out every day, then came back but the child had no real understanding of where dad went or what dad did while he was gone. Sometimes The child would look out the window and watch his dad cutting down long stems of something in front of their house, but he had no way of understanding what was going on, so the memory meant very little. His world was all about playing with his two sisters and knowing all his needs were met on demand.
One day, the child goes up to his mom and says, “mom, I’m hungry. Will you make me a snack?”
The mother looks to the cupboards and notices there is nothing in there. She knows that her husband won’t be home with the evening meal for another few hours and she can’t leave all three children home alone while she goes out into the forest beyond the wheat fields in front of their house to find berries. She then realizes that her son is actually more than old enough to start helping with food collection. So she decides to set him out on a mission to find berries. She knows that this will be hard—of course he would rather play—but it is time he learned where food comes from and how to collect it, so that he can not only help himself but also the family.
The mother says to her son, “Alright my love, I hear that you are hungry but we have no food in the house. Dad won’t be home for a few hours with more food but you can be my special little helper today. You can go get us some berries from the forest to eat! All you have to do is go outside and make your way to the forest. You will find food there. Bring it back to us, so we can all eat.”
The child thinks ‘Easy enough.’ He puts on his boots and jacket and heads out the door.
Once he steps outside, he sees that there is a big field of wheat standing in the way of himself and the forest. It is thick, tall and stiff. The child attempts to take a few steps and realizes moving through the wheat is going to be impossible. He turns around to go back inside.
“Mom. You never told me there was a field of wheat blocking me from the forest. I can’t go get the food.”
Mother replies “You can do it love. You have looked out the window many times and seen the wheat. You can figure out how to get through the wheat. I believe in you. The food is in the forest. You just have to figure out how to get through the wheat field.”
The child says “I don’t want to. That is not how you said it would go. You said go to the forest. You never said there was a wheat field and you haven’t told me how to get through it. This is impossible and now I am going to starve because you are mean and horrible. Just make me a snack like you always do so I can go back to playing”
Mother looks into her child’s eyes, “I know it feels that way love. But the truth is, if you can figure out how to get through that wheat field, you are actually going to be better prepared for what it will take to find the food in the forest. This is actually a kind of training ground. It is giving you skills you need so that when you get to the forest it will be easier. You go now and figure out how to get through that wheat. Also, there truly is no food in the house, love. You have to go get some if you want to eat. Go on, you can do it. I know you can”
The child is mad, but decides to do it because the hunger pangs are starting to get more uncomfortable. He is still mad at his mom. He heads outside again, this time with a little more determination.
He tries one more time to push his way through the wheat, only to be reminded that this technique isn’t going to work. He yells back to his mom “Mom, I can’t do it. I can’t get through. This is impossible.”
Mother yells back “Why don’t you try cutting your way through the wheat hunny? That will make it easier to get through. Remember when we watched daddy cut through it? You have seen it before. Now you try. Do what dad did.”
The child yells back “I don’t know how to do that!”
“There is a machete in the shed out back love, use that to cut a path through the wheat. You can do it. You have watched your father do it, do you remember?”
The child remembers watching his dad cut a path through the field. The memory had slipped his mind because at the time he had seen it, he really didn’t understand what was going on. He didn’t understand why his dad would do that or how he was doing it and he certainly couldn’t see himself ever having to do it, since it seemed to him nonsensical. Even though he now has this memory, he still feels like his mom should have told him about the wheat and she should be telling him how to do the cutting. How could he possibly figure out how to do that on his own?
He begrudgingly goes to get the machete. It takes him a while to find it in the shed, which causes him even more frustration and indignation. ‘Mom is so mean’ he thinks to himself. ‘Why won’t she just make me the food.’ ‘Why do I have to do this?’ ‘Where’s dad?’ ‘Shouldn’t this be his job?’ ‘I’m just a kid, this is way too much to ask of me.’
When he finally finds the machete he goes back to the wheat and takes a swing. He cuts the top of the stalk off. He attempts to take a step into the field and he still can’t do it.
“Mom, what the heck. I cut the top off the wheat and I STILL can’t get through. Can you PLEASE just come and give me food now I’m hungry and this was a lot of hard work already.”
The mom replies ‘I know you are hungry love, that is why I sent you out for food. We don’t have any in the house right now. You learning how to help us gather food will actually make it better for all of us, including you. I am not withholding food from you lovely, I am empowering you to learn how to find your own. Now think back to when you watched dad cut through the wheat, did he cut only the tops? Or did he cut lower to the base so that a path could be made?”
The child is completely enraged now. How could his mom hold him back from eating for so long? How could she ask him to to do the work that was clearly his father’s responsibility? How dare she? This was totally unjustified. He wanted food, and he wanted it now.
“I don’t care what dad did mom. I just want food. Please will you just give me food?”
“I am teaching you how to get the food love. There is no food in the house. The food is ONLY in the forest. You have to get to the forest to get the food. Once you know how to do that, for the rest of your life you will know how to feed yourself. I know it’s hard to learn to do things for yourself, I know it’s hard to learn that food does not magically appear from the cupboards, but knowing how this actually works is going to give you a much better chance in life. Can’t you see that love? If you continue needing someone else to get food for you, or if you continue believing that food comes from the house, you are going to starve. There won’t always be someone around to feed you. The food comes from the forest not the cupboards. If you continue to believe that only others could bring you food or that it came from the house, you would eventually starve because neither of those two things are true. This is not a punishment. I am not withholding anything from you. You can do this love.”
The child ignores her. But he is hungry enough to try one more time. Maybe if he cleared enough brush, THEN his mom would finally give him food.
So he starts hacking at the wheat. Still swinging at the tops. He clears all the tops off of all the wheat in the first row that he can reach.
“Ok mom, I cut off all the tops of all the wheat I can get at. Now will you give me food?”
“Sweetheart, you need to make a path THROUGH the wheat. It’s not about cutting off the top of the wheat. The point is to get to the forest so you can get food for yourself. That’s what you want right?”
Now the child is livid. His mom is being such a horrible person. Why why why won’t she just give him the food?! Why would she not give him credit and reward for cutting off all the tops of the wheat?
So the child starts hacking at the wheat more. He cuts down the whole first row. Then moves onto the second. Then the third. His anger is fuelling him. ‘This will show her!’ He thinks to himself. ‘I’ll prove to her that I am the BEST at cutting down this wheat and surely that will make her give me food. Maybe even LOTS of food. If I do this the best, I deserve more food than my sisters do for sure. Look how hard I’m working. Look how much effort I am putting in. I am such a hard worker. I am trying so hard and my sisters just get to sit inside and play. Life is clearly way harder for me than them. Also, why would mom and dad LIE to me my whole life about where food comes from? If it is really true that food doesn’t come from the house, what the heck!? Why would they put it there and let me believe that’s where it comes from? There is no way food doesn’t come from the house. That is preposterous. I have seen the cupboards be empty in the morning, then full of food in the afternoon. She is just telling me lies that food doesn’t come from the cupboard to make me suffer.’
He continues to cut through the wheat. He looks at his hands and sees blisters developing. Now he is REALLY mad. This is total abuse. His mom is horrible. He cuts through the whole field. Then he decides he should rip out the wheat from the earth so that he never has to do this stupid task ever again. If he gets rid of the wheat, there won’t be any more wheat to cut and he can finally have food forever. He uproots every last stem. Then, as a final act to ensure he never ever has to suffer like this again, he starts a fire. He throws all the wheat in the fire so it has no chance of growing back.
As the flames start to engulf the wheat, his mother runs out exclaiming, “HONEY! What are you doing?! Why are you burning all the wheat? Why did you pull it all out of the ground? What are you doing?!”
“Look. I cleared all that stupid wheat. Now I will never have to do it again. That was super hard work. You lied to me about food not coming from the cupboard. I remember it showing up there all the time. You were clearly just trying to punish me by making me do this, so I figured out a way to make sure I never have to do it again. All the wheat is gone. It can’t grow back because I uprooted all of it. Now I have blisters on my hands. I am tired. I am even more hungry now than I was when I started. Give me food now. I deserve more than my sisters get.
The mother replies “Dear one, this wheat is PART of what feeds our family. We make bread from this wheat that we grow. The shafts you would have cut down to make a path to the forest would have been the shafts I used to harvest the wheat grains, so I could grind them into flour. Then when you got to the forest you would have been able to collect berries and nuts and we could have turned those into jam and spread. With all of that, we would have had sandwiches for the family for days. The cupboards never fill themselves with food love, your father and I would collect it and make it, just like I was showing you to do. Now that you have burned all our wheat, we won’t have bread. Honey, I wasn’t punishing you and there were no lies. You are just old enough now to understand how things really work and to do your part to help us all thrive. That is all this was.”
The child is now furious. How DARE she not reward him with food for doing all this work? How dare she invalidate his efforts? She is for certain the WORST mother in the world, clearly intent on keeping him starving and in pain.
“Mom. I cannot BELIEVE you are lecturing me right now. Look at all the work I did. Look at all the wheat I cleared. Look how I got RID of it. Give.Me.Food.Now. You are making me feel SO MUCH WORSE by not feeding me after all of this.”
The child feels justified in his anger. He believes food is being withheld from him and to top it all off, his mom is invalidating all his efforts. Because he was not willing to learn the truth about reality, because he wanted to hold onto the childlike fantasies of food appearing in the cupboards and because he wanted to hold onto the childlike state of not having to contribute or understand his role in the community, he refused to learn. Without that learning, he made a big mess of things. He felt that HE was the one being punished, that his traumas were unfair and unjustified–without realizing that by acting from his misunderstanding and trauma, he was actually hurting not only himself by burning his own food supply, but also the WHOLE FAMILY by burning theirs.
He carries on with his life feeling traumatized and wounded. He never learns to collect food, instead learning to continually emotionally manipulate his family into feeding him. He shows them the blisters on his hands. The scars from when he cut down all that wheat and says these are enough. He shouldn’t have to do anymore. He never learns to feed himself and thus is never able to live on his own, never able to have his own family. Never able to live a full life. He stays in his parents house, suffering deeply, blaming everyone and everything. All the while he is nursing a broken heart and body that feels so unjustly treated. He was only an innocent child and now look at all of this pain. It was not his fault. Life, to him, is harsh.
This is essentially the mindset of the victim. It is a state of consciousness that WANTS to stay in a childlike state of non-responsibility. It is a childlike state of wanting to hold onto wounds as they provide an excuse not to have to try.
Our current society is very much built upon the foundations of this victim mentality.
The adult who wants to stay in a perpetual childlike state, who wants to act from his wounding not from his true self and who wants someone or something else to be responsible for everything.
This is why we have the governmental, religious, educational, medical, media and financial systems we do. They are all set up under this understanding of human nature. That some are the moms and dads and everyone else is the child who looks to mom and dad to provide/guide/protect and most importantly shield us from the consequences of our own actions.
None of us want to be told that as adults we are now the cause of our own pain or happiness based on our choices and perspectives. That of COURSE we were wounded as children, of COURSE we were all put in painful situations that we didn’t understand, of COURSE we were lied to and treated poorly. But now, as adults, it is our job to integrate all of that and move forward with new self-awareness. We get to decide if we live in the wounds forever and create more trauma/drama for ourselves and everyone around us OR if we are going to LEARN from those traumas and become more aware of reality and ourselves and therefore better, more capable creators of peace, order, structure and complexity.
So again, this is not about ignoring our wounding. This is not about ignoring reality. This is about taking that first and most important step toward growing up which is saying,
‘I am going to take responsibility for my emotions, thoughts, feelings, actions and the life I am creating for myself now that I am an adult. I am going to get curious about all my pain, all my traumas, all my circumstances so that I can LEARN something new that will empower me, rather than wishing all these things would go away or assuming I know that they shouldn’t be there and are wrong.’
It is about realizing that as a child, you did not have the power you now have. It is about being willing to integrate your wounds. Being willing to learn how reality really works. It is about being humble enough to say you are not outside of it but actually a part of reality and as long as you stay in victim mode you limit your own life to being one of pain and suffering AND you cause others pain and suffering while withholding from the world all you have to offer. This stepping out of childlike/victim mentality is realizing that you are a part of the whole and as long as you identify with your pain, ignoring how reality actually works, you cause yourself to suffer. As long as you move from your woundings rather than from your truth—you are the cause of all your own pain, and in fact you are making life harder for everyone else by not offering whatever it is you have to give here and causing chaos wherever you go.
You will recognize that even if you were working from the most innocent and lovely wounding—believing that if you just subdued and suppressed yourself enough that you would make everyone around you happy and then you could be happy too—that by doing this you were causing chaos.
You were acting like the parent who protects their child from the consequences of their actions, which only stunts their growth.
You will see that acting from wounding where you manipulate yourself to be what others want you to be, you are causing everyone pain. It may seem like you are helping them in the moment by not making them uncomfortable, but in the long run, no one wins. Even the wounds that led you to be someone who considers themselves a martyr who lives for others will one day see that this self-sacrifice was no service at all. That this self-sacrifice was simply a removal of the self from the whole. That to live to serve others wants and needs in this moment—not seeing that oftentimes what is wanted and needed in this moment is really just THEIR trauma talking—we cause more chaos and drama than we resolve. It can be a hard pill to swallow when you really thought you were doing everyone favors by not being you, but it is an important thing to see. As long as you are acting from wounds, even with the best of intentions, no one is winning. Everyone is suffering.
When you are ready to grow up, you will see that who and what you are IS your service to the world. That you figuring out who you are, and then living in authentic alignment with that—having integrated your wounds and realizing what they had to offer you, by listening to your emotions and thoughts and allowing them to lead you to the life that resonates with you—you become a powerful creator who is happy and joyful. Your ultimate fulfillment will come FROM taking compete responsibility or yourself, because it is only when you do that, that you can know yourself. And you can only be fulfilled through self-expression, and in order to express yourself you must know yourself. When you let go of identifying with your pain and struggle, when you allow yourself to see that your suffering and pain are teachers, you will find yourself, and in that you will find what you have to offer all of us.
You can do this.