No one likes to be called a victim or seen this way, but let’s be honest, how many times during the course of a week do you feel like a victim? As our lives are overtaken by busyness and obligations, and our to-do lists get longer and longer, a sense of uneasiness creeps in.
Regardless of how hard we try, the mountain of unfinished tasks seems to grow only larger, increasingly overshadowing our lives. At some point everything becomes too much and too difficult to handle, and we don’t know where to begin or what to do. From there, we’re just a hop, skip, and a jump away from feeling we’re a victim of circumstances. We interpret small mishaps and incidences—spilling a glass of milk, misplacing a bill, being cut off in traffic—as personal attacks by life or the universe that push us over the edge into the abyss of despair and powerlessness.
The inner victim, which is a part of our subconscious mind, gets triggered, when we feel powerless and unable to change the situation we’re in. We may feel victimized by our jobs, the economy, the government, the dog next door, our parents or our kids. Even our own emotions or our body, if they don’t comply and change, can become perpetrators, who assault and imprison us. It could be argued that there is a difference between imagined and real victimization. Every day countless people become the victims of child-abuse, domestic violence, bullying, harassment at work etc. The millions of refugees, who desperately search for a safe place to exist, are victims of brutal regimes that have no regard for human life.
Considering the suffering of others, it may be tempting to ignore and dismiss the victim aspect of our psyche as weak and pathetic. But assuming that our mind has evolved to serve us, the victim part must also have some purpose. The fact is, that no matter how easy or difficult, how safe or traumatic our lives have been, the intention of the inner victim is to protect us. It avoids danger by making us appear powerless and small, similar to a puppy that is rolling on its back to show its belly in the hope this gesture of submission will stop the aggressor from harming it. The victim can turn us into pleasers and martyrs, securing safety and acceptance through overdoing and over-giving to others. And it can protect us by quickly judging others as perpetrators that need to be pushed away through defensiveness, blame and accusations.
The problem with these protective patterns is that they can ultimately lead to self-victimization. We continuously give our power away to the past and those, who did us wrong. We become rigid and righteous in how we treat others and ourselves. We stay stuck in the notion that life isn’t fair and that we are bound to get hurt and betrayed again. Eventually, we may lose trust and hope for the future. Yet, the good news is, that if we identify and address its core-needs, we can to transform, empower and integrate the inner victim.