When you find yourself feeling really sorry for yourself… or perhaps your tendency is to collapse from overwhelm into powerlessness…. Do you find yourself saying, “Why me?!” Or do you notice yourself declaring, “I can’t…” when referencing decisions you need to make, or have made in the past? Medical Intuitive Caroline Myss says that there are 2 universal archetypes that ALL of humanity dances with: Prostitute & Victim.
In order to explore our involvement with each, we have to go into our Shadow side… which means exploring our hidden/masked desires, thrills or ‘payback’ that exist in some form. Let’s focus on Victim for now.
For example, where is it enjoyable, or feel good for you to feel like a victim? Where does it benefit you to feel powerless? Do you get to avoid feeling responsible? Do you get to avoid taking difficult action? Do you get sympathy and ‘love’ from others by being perceived as a victim? And so on…
Our culture’s view of disease/illness is based upon Victim. When are you allowed to take time off work or school – not only without being challenged, but receiving sympathy and well wishes? When you are sick! Our culture views illness as something outside of our control; germs just take control and we are the victims of infection.
This dynamic gets even more complicated in chronic illness. In order to achieve long-term healing from any chronic illness, a vital part of the healing process involves examining the ‘downside of wellness’. We tend to think that chronic illness is a negative state, that the person is victimized by the illness. But a deeper examination will reveal one or more big benefits the person is also receiving by being ill.
For example, Marsha has Fibromyalgia/cancer/colitis/etc – for which there are serious physical components – but she also gets to avoid working full-time. She gets to rest and spend a lot of time being with her inner world, perhaps she takes up some enjoyable non-stress hobbies and also does gentle yoga every day. Her husband now has to cook at least 3 nights per week, because Marsha simply cannot get up off the couch. She receives sympathy from her children and other family members and someone now cleans her house every month. So yes, she’s suffering and in pain, but she is also enjoying numerous benefits as a result of her dis-ease. Perhaps her subconscious/higher self is using her body to set some boundaries and get her needs met – because Marsha is not consciously able or willing to say no, to set healthy boundaries around her time and energy, or to get her needs met. So her body is doing it for her.
Here’s another even more subtle benefit to being ill with a serious or life-threatening disease: It gives you permission to be solely focused on your own body and your own needs. Because nothing is more important than not dying. So everything that you do, during every part of your day, is targeted towards supporting, nurturing and meeting your own needs. In a people-pleasing world like ours, that’s revolutionary! You don’t have to develop boundaries, or the ability to say ‘no’ to things you don’t really want to do/be – your disease takes care of that for you. So it makes it really easy to focus inward, to support your pathway of healing, growth, and development as your top priority. Because our soul is not here to get a job, make money, stay safe, and then die. Our soul is here to grow, to expand, to explore our potential, and see what awesomeness we can co-create in this third dimension.
Having been there, done that, I will say that in many ways this single-minded focus on healing yourself (giving your body/mind/soul everything it needs) is easier than normal life. Regular (not ill) life is messy, complicated, there are so many things, people, tasks vying for your attention and needing your help. Relationships can also become more challenging when supporting you is no longer the primary objective!
But let’s go beyond illness. Let’s look at toxic relationships, oppressive governments, failed dreams, or lost opportunities. We pretend that life is happening to us – the Victim Archetype is one of the strongest archetypes in human existence, and we all dance with it, to varying degrees. And we come up with constructs to describe or justify our victim-status: it’s a learning curve, or, this is my karmic contract, or, this will make me stronger, or, I need to change my vibration to become more positive so I can stop attracting this pain/negativity. All of these are valid and often truthful explanations. BUT. They don’t provide transformation.
What if, instead of just seeking to rationalize or justify why we are in a victimized place, we go the next step to fully OWN that we’re here because, on some level, we like it, because there is some part of us that wants or needs this?
As Alan Watts said, “We think we want what we want, but what we really want is exactly what’s happening.”
Or as Dr. Carolyn Elliott writes in her book, Existential Kink, “Having is evidence of wanting.”
When we are willing to own that we create (usually subconsciously) our own victim experiences, then we are free to love and accept ourselves anyway! And when we sit in this love and acceptance of our weird-ass desires for pain (hurts so good, feels so vindicating, forces me to set a boundary) then we can begin to chuckle indulgently with our self. As Kelly Brogan so brilliantly describes:
“When I feel victimized by someone else, and I get, let’s say, an accusatory email from that person, I feel a rush of energy up my core and my stomach simultaneously feels like it’s dropping out of my body. This is the same feeling that comes with rollercoasters and horror movies (which I tell myself I enjoy!). So what really is the difference between the sensations of pleasure and pain, of fear and excitement? It seems to have something to do with agency, consent, and choice. Which is why being flogged against my will is quite a different thing than being flogged by an adoring lover. So what if the experience of the victim dynamic with this “accusatory” person is also something I actually want? Why would I want that?!
Well, for starters, when I get to feel victimized in a dynamic, I enjoy feeling the deliciousness of righteous anger (one of my personal favorite feelings). I get the compassion of my friends and the exhilarating energy field of groupthink finger pointing. I get attention. And I get to feel innocent, vulnerable, and feminine. And then, if I choose to retaliate (even if just in my mind), I get to flip from that masochistic enjoyment to the sadistic enjoyment of feeling my power over another. I get to meet the wicked part of me that delights in her evil Queen-ship of punishing energy. All without even saying a word… The victim field can be blissful. To fail to recognize that is to hide from our already fulfilled desires.”
Instead of railing against what’s wrong and demanding that my partner, Big Daddy govt, pharma, biz, cabal, employer, landlord, bank etc see the error of their ways and change to support what I want… how about I take responsibility for my own ability to vision, build, and create what feels good to me? To get together with like-minded sovereign, empowered souls and co-create what resonates with my own deepest desires?
Now THAT is revolutionary. No more energy wasted fighting big daddy or big mommy. Just own that I’m no longer a child, and I actually do have the power and ability to create what I want. YES.
“Fighting with reality, fighting with what’s in front of you, and insisting that anyone be different than they actually are, is the most draining act of disempowerment and self-betrayal.” – Dr. Kelly Brogan
As this world burns around us, rather than feeling like helpless victims, how about we move into creating the world we want to live in? This world no longer works, it’s on its way out. So how do you want to live? What calls to your soul? Don’t worry about whether you can afford it, or whether it’s possible, just give yourself permission to connect with your heart’s desire and imagine what would make you feel good. And then watch this video…
This talk from Dr. Joe Dispenza is perhaps the best advice I’ve seen on how to move beyond Victim and into Creator. And if you’d like to get into your shadow side, to figure out which subconscious drives are determining your current reality and why, then get the book, Existential Kink – it’s a game-changer.