About the Author: Kate Olson, CPC, CHt, is a Life Coach, Integrative Master Hypnotherapist, EFT & NLP Master Practitioner & Trainer and Reiki Master located in Seattle, Northern Lights Life Coaching www.northernlightscoaching.net & Embrace Change Hypnosis & NLP www.embracechangehypnosis.com. Kate offers workshops & classes, as well as, individual and group coaching. Her emphasis is on assisting clients in finding Path, Purpose and Peace. Kate focuses on integration of mind, body, spirit wellness. It is her mission to help clients find joy through connection, creative expression and embracing change. She is passionate about creativity, travel, personal growth and enjoying life. She has another wellness-related business offering Salt Therapy, Salt Works Saltariums. Salt Therapy offers an all natural treatment solution for respiratory and skin problems. All three businesses operate as Dba's under Total Well Resources, LLC. Kate is a speaker, writer and event facilitator. She is also a radio show host on Contact Talk Radio, www.ctrnetwork.com/embracechange hosting "Embrace Change with Kate ".
Most of us have no desire to be a victim and most of us don’t want to be a bully or victimizer either, yet finding yourself in one of these roles can easily happen without you knowing or intending that to be the case. Why is this? It happens because we are relating to and interacting with others, some of whom are stuck in and constantly repeating these patterns because they have worked in the past and are familiar to them.
The victim role rarely works for anyone in the long run, but in the short run it can seem to be effective and give some satisfying secondary gains. That is not to say that there are not people who are really victimized, but that being in that position usually takes some cooperation and is not ultimately advantageous.
If you are a caring person who wants to help others, you have probably, at least once, found yourself in a position you did not intend, where someone is claiming to be your victim. I recently found myself there and had to evaluate how this happened and accept responsibility for my part in it. Someone asked me for help and I was more than willing to help them. They were likeable and seemed to be sincere. It is my nature to want to help someone, if I can. I did get that little Spidey feeling that they were someone who would use me, but I thought if I was willing there wasn’t any way that it would be harmful. So, I proceeded to help them and after a while I found I was helping them even more than I intended and yes, starting to feel taken advantage of. I tested this out by asking some very small things of them and, of course, they were not willing to reciprocate in any way. So, I pulled back in my willingness and generosity of what I was sharing and what I got was disrespect for my boundaries and resentment for what I wasn’t willing to do for them. "Hmmm?" I thought, "I have created this. haven’t I?"
I had to think about it and came to the conclusion that I had let this person into to my life and decided to engage in this relationship and disregarded my intuition. I had made a faulty judgement in deciding that they could not hurt me, as long as I was willing to help and I had probably done them a disservice in allowing them to use me to accomplish what they were fully capable of doing for themselves. So, it’s on me and I need to extricate myself from the situation and know better the next time.
Does this mean we should not help others? No, but pay attention when you sense that someone has a pattern of using other people. Does this mean that people who are in the habit of using other people and falling into the victim syndrome are bad people? No, it just means that they likely have misjudged their own abilities and have low confidence and therefore, have fallen into this pattern. It has worked in the past and, in general, has the pay back of the sympathy they get when others assume them the victim. It is ultimately quite self-destructive, but until they see that, they feel others are causing them the difficulties they are experiencing.
When you seek to help, make sure you empower and don’t allow dependence. Don’t blame or accept responsibilities for others decisions or behaviors. Support, but encourage responsibility and capability. When you give, give freely without expectation. Be grateful for both what you receive and the opportunity to give. We never have to be a victim, we always have a choice to see things from another perspective and rise to our higher self, seeing clearly the choices and decisions we have made and sometimes the lessons we have learned from them.
If you recognize that you have been victimized or played the victim role in a given situation, note how that felt and make the decision to choose differently next time. If you find that you have a pattern of “being the victim”, ask yourself why you are making that choice. What is the secondary gain that you are getting from making that choice? Is it really working the way you’d like or are you really paying too high a price for what you get from it? You may be deluding yourself as to how you appear to others. While we sometimes see victims in a sympathetic light, we also tend to see them as weak and not in control or inconsequential. Is that image how you want to seen and is it the real you? Does it help you in achieving your ultimate goals and being who you are truly meant to be? These are questions only you can answer, but for most people the answer is clear and can be life changing.
As an empath, I feel people’s pain and it took me a long time to realize that much of it is self-inflicted or accepted by choice, even while doing it myself. There is a saying that “pain is inevitable, but suffering is a choice”. I believe this is true and being a victim is certainly a form of suffering we can choose to avoid. I hope you live in your own strength and truth with kindness, compassion, integrity, responsibility, love and acceptance!
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This guest blog will feature contributions from experts & other advocates on topics that speak to integration mind, body & spirit wellness.