There has been a real trend in the USA towards being a victim to the extent that most, it seems, are going to be a victim or, if nothing else, they look for ways in which to be so at some point in time. We train the fear of that very fact into every child from an early age onward.
It is all built upon the concept of “rights” and it seems that “rights” and “victims” are so closely related that we can’t seem to find one without the other in modern society. But what many fail to understand is that at the heart of battling for the “rights” automatically implies a victimhood status. The very irony of fighting for the “rights” of one person or group presupposes an automatic victimization of another or group.
As i could get very technical on the different aspects of victims and who is or not genuinely a victim, i will not. Suffice it to say that the very thing we breed into our children, the culture of fear, as i call it, is a natural step into being a constant victim.
In his treatise on the pathology of victimhood, Rethinking ‘Don’t Blame the Victim’: The Psychology of Victimhood By Ofer Zur, Ph.D, he states,
“From a very young age we are taught not to trust strangers, not to take candy from them or follow them to their cars. Milk cartons and grocery bags carry pictures of missing children who have been abducted. The mass media saturates us with stories of innocent victims who have been raped, robbed, and murdered by people unknown. More and more Americans arm themselves, barricade their homes, and avoid going places for fear of violent crime. The commonly held belief is that the victim and victimizers are strangers to each other, yet it can be argued otherwise.
While the media, our teachers, and the milk cartons tell us the danger is ‘out there,’ in fact, the home and one’s own neighborhood are the places where one is most likely to get hurt. Murder statistics shed further light on the relationship between victimizers and victims. It shows that at least 88% of murder victims in the U.S. had an ongoing active relationship with their murderers. The relationship ranged from intimate or close friends (28%), to relatives (24%), and acquaintances and paramours (36%). Only 12% of the cases involved complete strangers (Jain, 1990; Wolfgang & Ferracuti, 1967). The F.B.I. reports that 1.5 million children are abducted each year. The agency also claims that most of these children (80-90%) are abducted by a parent in a custody dispute and not by strangers (Gelles & Straus, 1988).”
As i have coached many who have been caught up in the victimization of our culture, i sense that really, we have become fodder for the egoic tendencies that i believe are at the heart of being a victim of, well, everything.
As the ego does what the ego does best, it keeps itself front and center as it seeks to “protect” you at any cost, you become “a ‘fraidy cat”, as little kids say to one another, when faced with a “put your tongue on a frozen flag pole” situation in life. The ego raises its ugly head to make sure you are not seen as such and in the process seeks to make you a victim of people, places, circumstances and, life, in general, so as not to have to have you be in the Present Moment of living victoriously.
Here is the crux of egoic thinking; Victims like their victimhood as it keeps them forever tied to a future that has no hope and a past that is filled with instances that are reasons to expect more of the same.
You have heard it from those ego-locked souls in perpetual victim status and maybe even participated in the “stinkin thinkin” exercises yourself with statements such as:
“Ever notice as soon as you get in the Express Line at the grocery store the line slows down?”
“When I was growing up my mother was very distant and since then I have had a hard time relating to women.”
“I’d like to have more money, but I have so many financial problems I will never get out of debt.”
“I’d like to open a business of my own, but my wife thinks it is too risky, so I guess I had better stay at this secure and boring job I dislike going to every day.”
What do these statements have in common? The very nature of the person who is making the statement. Each statement seems to reflect the same type of individual; a person with low self-worth and a soul who has a predisposition towards negative expectations.
Essentially, these people are holding on to their victimhood. They live at the Victim Level of Awareness. It is almost as if the ego is using victimhood as a way to keep them in their unfortunate past with the stories of the problems of their life.
Here is the truth about ego and being a victim. While they are commiserate companions, the very nature of living in the Present Moment with a peace of knowing that life is a glorious journey escapes them.
The real challenge for most stuck in the egoic nature of victimhood is that you tell your story so well to everyone around you that you end up following your own script. Your ego keeps you in an endless cycle of being that perpetual victim.
Step 1: Understand that no matter what has happened, you’ve made it to this moment, have you not?
You are here, Present in this moment. You have survived every past Now Moment. Evidently, no matter how hard the ego has given you a fear of a future that it must be involved in, no matter what the cost, you are here.
So, release the past. Understand that the Universe is a glorious place and that your journey is as it is supposed to be. Don’t label things as ‘bad’ or ‘good’ but see them as experiences for growth.
I am reminded of a quote from Oscar Wilde who said,
“Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”
The very nature of this statement should make you smile and give you pause to reflect of the journey of Now Moments and know that none of us are victims of the past, but only reflections. We can look at ourselves and then move on, for reflections do not hold us but allow us to see ourselves as we are Now.
Step 2. Embrace this Present Moment alone, for it is all you have.
Here is where i lose many in the discussion as we have been taught that there is a future that MUST be planned and calculated to the second. However, there is old adage that says, “If you want to make God laugh, just tell him your plans.”
Present Moment thinkers are usually called, “head in the clouds” or “pie in the sky” thinkers, or whatever else the ego says of those who are not under its dominion. But please show me one ounce of evidence that there is a future. Yes, we plan an existence with a hopeful eye on tomorrow, as that is the nature of truly living in the Now Moment, but we don’t live there.
It is as when i have directed a theatrical production; we hope there is an Opening Night, but the play happens one rehearsal night at a time. The idea is that we are only as ready for Opening Night that is the reflection of each rehearsal that we were involved in.
Essentially, this is the Now Moment we live in and we are aware of the presence of the future, but this Moment is but the reflection of the past.
Understand that there is much more to be discovered on this journey of love known as life, but you have indeed made it to this Present Moment. Reflect, but know that a reflection only shows you as you are but holds no pull on you otherwise. Your reflection is your past and your present, but you can look and walk away.
It is a choice.
And, live, truly live, in the Now Moments you are given for as an Opening Night approaches, know that while it may be scheduled, that when you arrive there, you are only a reflection of the rehearsals that you participated in.
Participate fully Now as it is the only Moment you have to do so.
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DA Southern is an Author, Speaker, Blogger and a Strategic Life Coach, teaching the spirit of living in Now Moments with the principles he experienced during over 35 years as an actor and director in live theatre. DA coaches his clients to rid life of limiting beliefs that have kept them from achieving miracles in all areas of their life by embracing Mindfulness of the Present Moment with a renewed Vision for life. Contact DA Southern for Coaching or Speaking @ firstname.lastname@example.org