“There are no victims in this world.’
A statement that has been pretty popular in new age spirituality circles for a while.
Many believe that we have 'chosen' our incarnation here - that no one, not even children are truly ever 'victims' to anything that happens to them in their lives, due to the idea that their soul made a conscious choice to incarnate just as they did, to have the experiences they had, as a way of supporting their souls growth. Many believe that no matter how horrible a circumstance is, no matter how it may LOOK like we had no control over what happened to us in our lives or is happening to us - that this is ALL a part of our SOULS PLAN for our lives - it was all written in the stars, everything that is going to happen was fated, and thus, no victim. Total control before we were born and now we are just playing out the play we wrote for ourselves.
Others believe that while we may not have chosen our incarnation, we ALWAYS have some sort of choice in how our lives unfold as adults. That we get to choose how we are going to behave, that we get to choose how we are going to think and perceive our circumstances, and that we have control over our PERCEPTION of whatever is happening to us. That we can ALWAYS CHOOSE to see ourselves as 'empowered' and thus remove ourselves from any victim narrative.
People proclaim that the idea of a victim and a villain is centered in duality thinking - where in fact we are actually all one just playing roles. That we are all at some point in our lives going to play both the victim and the victimizer, and that true freedom is found when we transcend this mindset all-together to simply see people as people - all one and all connected.
Others believe that victimization is truly a completely mental construct. That it's only ever IN OUR MINDS that we are being victimized or being the villain. That in true reality we are all fully sovereign beings existing in our own dimensions having no TRUE effect on anyone else and no one ever having any true effect on us - unless we agree to it on some level.
There are a lot of view points here, and in the spirit of wanting to create safety and validation for all in this world, here are my thoughts:
Maybe Villains Don't Exist As We See Them:
Maybe it's not so much that there are 'no victims or villains' in the sense that there is no such thing as people who do exert force over others physical lives in ways that can't always be opposed by those being oppressed - but rather that there are no TRUE villains or 'acts of evil' because when we act out against another, we only EVER do so because we ourselves have trauma and pain.
In other words, hurt people hurt people. Ignorant people hurt people.
The idea that there are evil people, people who are intentionally causing harm, that there are people who need to be fought and taken down - that is the illusion. That's to total misconception.
In reality, there are only hurting people passing their pain around. Ignorant people who don’t understand how reality works (all of us) who then impose painful circumstances upon themselves and those in their sphere of influence. They do these things that look evil, oppressive and painful to self and others not from a genuine place of wanting others to suffer for the sake of it, but because it's what they believe deep down they need to do to survive.
All acts of violence towards others and the self are rooted in trauma. The idea that we are not safe, and that the only way to survive is to compete, rule over, over power, or otherwise 'win' against someone else in order to secure the power that then allows one to secure resources for the self.
People who hurt people are scared, lonely and abandoned. They feel no sense of control or safety outside of exerting control over others and proving to themselves that they can get what they need through force. They do not believe they can be given what they need in any other way - and usually are suffering with deep self loathing that came from being rejected, abandoned or abused in childhood in some way or other.
These people exist, and they DO hurt and harm others.
Not because of evil, but because they were, at some point, victimized in the sense that their feeling of security was ripped from them, they were trained that they were not safe to be themselves, and were taught that success comes through domination or that they MUST dominate in order to get their needs met. This is the root of narcissism, of dictatorships, of people who rape, murder, rob and harm in any way.
Trauma of not being loved and provided for being passed on.
A villain is created when a human being is threatened, abandoned, abused or otherwise taught that competition is the way because there isn't enough. That they are not going to be loved and provided for for who they are and thus must abuse others or the self (self denial) to get what is needed, or that they must take from others because there isn't enough to go around - if they have it, I don't and that's bad for me.
These People DO Hurt And Harm Others:
I don't think we need to deny that there are people who are genuinely being hurt by others, and that there are systems that make it very difficult (if not impossible) to TRULY step into personal empowerment and stay in the body.
For instance there are many places on this planet where a woman who steps out 'against' her husbands wishes in any way is subject to death. Literally. Women who, if they refuse their husbands sexual advances (which can be considered rape), by the law of her country, is in the wrong and can be severally punished. To leave would mean certain death as well. Many women are BORN into this situation and there is no clear way out.
There are people who do not have food 100% because of the actions of others.
Children born to alcoholic and abusive parents who are going to deeply scar them.
I know it can be easy for us in the Western World to project OUR circumstances onto everyone - the idea that whatever systems of oppression were working against our capacity to own our sovereignty and step into our personal power could actually be DEFEATED through our will, our mindset and our change in action - and I think a part of why we refuse to own the idea that there really ARE injustices that are taking place on this planet that are very real, and not due to lack of a victors mindset.
I don't feel it's totally accurate to call ALL CASES of victim reality a mindset issue. I know we WANT it to be this, because it removes OUR GUILT and our need to feel EMPATHY and the BREADTH of the pain and trauma that is occurring on this planet right now that we don't have control over - but this is also a form of reality denial that is not actually helpful overal.
Yes people can do their best to survive - but to say that they are NOT IN ANY WAY a victim is missing a part of reality.
A child has no control over how their caregivers treat them. A woman has no control over what country she is born into. A person may be raised in a place that literally has no food, health care or resources.
This is real. Their lives are ever in danger and they don't have the resources to free themselves in the physical reality they exist in.
We are 'victim' to the ways our parents think and live so long as we are not autonomous. This isn't a mindset issue, we don't have control over our own minds or bodies at that point.
I know again we want to relieve ourselves of feelings of guilt for having a life where we WERE able to liberate ourselves from our victim situations - but projecting our level of freedom onto ALL PEOPLE is simply not reality, and it stops us from being people who stand up for human rights to be more readily available in places they currently are not.
We Are INTER-Connected - Not Independent NOR Codependent:
We humans are INTER-connected - not independent and not totally dependent.
But we do affect one another.
Our systems DO determine how much true choice and freedom we have to express ourselves, have our needs met, find joy, peace and fulfillment. To have our physical circumstances, mental and emotional circumstances be a way that serves us.
We live in a closed system. Meaning those traumatized people who look to assert dominance over their world DO SO against other humans. There is no where for their trauma to go other than out onto others. We don't yet exist in a world where we are all standing in our sovereignty - we are in a codependent system right now - and thus what one does absolutely affects others. We are making progress - but we are not yet sovereign.
There are 100% situations on this planet where it doesn’t matter HOW MUCH we empower ourselves, asking for anything too far from what we have is to walk off a plank. I know this is really hard to wrap the mind around in the Western World where there is the potential for freedom when we ‘work hard’.
This is not the case for everyone.
This needs to be acknowledged, to really put ourselves in the shoes of others who have a life nothing like ours.
We need not throw the baby out with the bathwater in this discussion.
What I think may serve is to recognize that if we want a different world where there are no stories of victim and villain, we are going to need to do the serious work of loving those who are traumatized and currently acting from a place of looking to inflict that same trauma onto others/secure resources for themselves in the only way they deem viable - through force over others. We must change how we deal with 'villains' in ALL areas of society, embracing the 'villain' in each of our individual selves and loving these parts into safety, and then turning outwards and doing the same for those around us - in ways the honor our personal boundaries of course.
We are going to have to come to terms with the idea that we are still a species that has yet to grasp the idea that we are all one - that our actions DO affect one another. AND we are individuals living in our little reality of perception and experience. Both exist. We need to upgrade our processing system that says it is 'either or' - that we either have FULL control and power over our own lives or we are FULLY victim to circumstances - and see that it's a combination. None of us have FULL CONTROL. None of us can change our parents. Change where we grew up. Change our bodies to such a degree that we will have a completely different life experience. We can't undo our conditioning. We were all victims. We can't stop someone from coming and shooting us in the back of the head. We can't stop the weather. We are all going to have to own that on SOME LEVEL we are victims to a reality we don't control. We have the power to choose our ways of perception when we have done adequate work to be able to choose our perceptions - but even that is luck of the draw. Some are too traumatized and will never be able to shift their perspectives. I know it can be overwhelming to think about how LITTLE we control our lives, but to see this means that the control we DO HAVE becomes so much more POTENT and USEFUL.
We are going to have to learn that when we act in ways that seem to harm the self or others, we are acting out of sync with reality. Again we are free to do so, but if it's not giving us the global results we want, we may want to take some time to really study those who are seemingly in the victimizer role, and see how we can support them in their healing journey. To support ourselves on our healing journeys, while paying lots of care and attention to the conditioning we are coming with, the traumas that are currently driving our biology and our 'choices' and seeing that it is really WORK to free ourselves from our conditioning. That we often are NOT choosing our reactions and responses to life, we are NOT choosing our perceptual filter - and aren't even aware of its presence.
This is deep work to truly take responsibility for ourselves - and it requires a LOT of self witnessing with curiosity and compassion.
We may want to consider that while it’s not so much about overthrowing or asking every individual to fend for themselves - to see that sometimes we DO have power to help improve the very nearly impossible circumstances of others by advocating in many ways for a system that serves to meet the needs of everyone better. By advocating for a system that includes the rights and freedoms we had that were the foundation of our finding our capacity to empower ourselves for all beings on this planet. This sometimes looks like protesting. Like opposing certain actions. Standing in the gap. Spending money differently. Being a good neighbor.
Because we are interdependent. Not alone. Not all fully connected.
Looking for where we can change things, and accepting what we cannot in this moment. Looking for an ever improved society through deeper love and understanding of that which traumatizes, and how we can better support the traumatized in finding peace - and thus less need to exert power and more capacity to work together.
There Is Always The Mind:
Yes, we can always find an INTERNAL empowerment - Elie Wiesel stated 'I realized I could go into the gas chamber a captive man, or go into the gas chamber a free man.' In the sense, he could have run. Resisted. Put his life at risk in a plethora of ways. Or, he realized, he could CHOOSE to accept the circumstances he was in, and in that OWN his reality and rather than seeing himself as a victim to it to choose to go with it as a free will act.
**But that didn't mean he was free to choose not to die if those persecuting him didn't want to let him live.**
**But this doesn’t mean that the circumstances of the holocaust were not something the world needed to become aware of and move to intervene to stop.**
Human rights are something we should all be working together to create for ALL HUMANS.
So while we can choose to embrace our uncontrollable circumstances and go with them, while we can liberate ourselves from the victim mentality that we are trapped and rather embrace that we always have SOME form of choice - even if that choice is to risk our lives to resist the reality we are facing - I think it is important to really consider the GRAVITY of this.
Most of us don't know what this is really like. We know self empowerment to be challenging and risky - but not actually life threatening. Not in a system that 100% prevents us from having sovereignty. Yes we can all mentally liberate ourselves to embrace what is, but that doesn't look like being able to actually leave or make things better for yourself in many cases - and I think it's fair to want to change this, so that that foundation is available for everyone. This doesn't require looking at people as victims or in need or rescue - it simply means we acknowledge the limits placed on certain individuals AGAINST their capacity to fully empower themselves, the limits we did not have, and wanting to remove them so that person ACTUALLY has a choice to empower themselves if they so choose.
This is a very nuanced subject in my view. Not so black and white. I don't think either perspective that there are villains and victims OR that there isn't is wrong - I think they both contain truth. Maybe it's more about trauma recovery than blame OR trying to claim FULL responsibility for our lives. Rather truth is somewhere in the grey.
Where can we find the power we have for ourselves and others, work towards a better world while owning our position and finding the joy in it?
We all have choice and all have things we don’t have choice in. We can always work towards something better and should be, while also owning where we are. Both and.
Let's truly empathize with those who have circumstances that are VERY different from our own so as to truly see where love lives.