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Feeling Like a Victim - It's Just Information

By Phyllis Stein, Ph.D.
November 14, 2007

All of us feel like victims at times. This article shows us that these feelings can be a gift that can open the door to greater insight and healing.

When I started Inner Bonding, I had no idea that there was anything special about feeling like a victim. No idea until my first intensive, when one of the participants started crying about how terrible things were in her life and how sorry she felt for herself. That seemed perfectly normal until Margaret gently said, "Marie, you are coming from a victim place. Those tears will never help you heal the pain." I was stunned. I was a long way from connecting with my own victim parts, but the idea that sharing your pain and being a victim were not the same thing was completely new.

At the same time, one of the fundamental concepts in Inner Bonding, that of taking 100% responsibility for our feelings, is about healing the victim parts of ourselves. Anytime we are feeling wronged, it is about a choice that we have made internally, about what we have chosen to tell ourselves, about our intent in that moment. Anytime we tell ourselves that how we are feeling is a direct result of someone else's behavior, we are being a victim. But that is just information.

Our victim place is so hard to see at the time, because it is always completely obvious that if the other person acted differently, we would not be feeling what we were feeling, but it is always true. People's actions trigger our feeling, but they are not the cause. The cause is what we choose to do with these actions. I might add, as an aside here, that when we cannot figure out how we, not others, are causing our feelings, other people can help us see it. All of us have been there.

Children, on the other hand are true victims. Their feelings are caused by others, and they have very limited abilities to take care of their own needs. In that sense, feeling like a victim is "the right feeling, wrong year." These feelings are not to be suppressed or dismissed, because they are important information about what happened to us. Our little ones remain victims, frozen in time, trying to tell us what happened, until we come back to them as loving adults and help them see and feel and trust the new reality that they are safe and loved. So feeling like a victim tells us that we are not doing this at that moment.

Critical to healing our victim feelings is the development of a spiritually connected loving adult. Until that happens, we need to just remain in compassion for our wounded selves. As I have written, for years I completely understood Inner Bonding in theory and did my very best to understand how I was causing my own feelings and take responsibility for them. I got as far as I could with it, and it made a big difference. But, until I could connect with a source of love, I remained a victim, because as soon as I could not get love from another person, I was in pain. I knew perfectly well, in my head, that it was up to me to deal with the loneliness and bring love to my child, but when I could not do it, my little girl felt like a victim. I was mainly dependent on my now ex-husband for love. I tried not to blame him when he shut down, but energetically I was in pain, a victim of his behavior. More than that, because I was so stuck in victimhood, I could never see that he was closing his heart because he had no loving adult and his little boy was overwhelmed with pain. Because I was a victim, I could not feel compassion for him. When we are victims, it is all about us. Indeed the lack compassion for others is another sign that our wounded, victim self is in charge. That is just information.

So when we notice that we are feeling like a victim, we need to have awareness without judgment of our victim selves, because judgment re-victimizes the hurt little one who is in pain. We need to gain enough healing, enough experience in acting like a loving adult, that our little ones can let it go. It is a process that does not happen overnight. In my case, for example, it took over a year of dealing with many, many painful feelings to completely heal the victim parts that were triggered by my husband's leaving me for another woman. At the end of that very intense, exciting and amazing time, I no longer believed that his leaving and her actions were the real cause of my feelings. I had discovered, over and over, that all of my feelings were caused by how I treated myself. I stopped blaming either of them and came to compassion for both of them. I was amazed that Inner Bonding had made that possible and more than that, grateful, because feeling love and compassion beats the misery of feeling like a victim hands down.

In the end, feeling like a victim is just information, a doorway to healing. Because we have Inner Bonding, the actions that trigger these feelings are gifts that we can choose to open. They provide us with access to what happened to us and is still happening to us, information that we need in order to move towards a state of grace.


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The highest experience in life is to share a circle of love. A circle of love occurs when your heart is open with another whose heart is also open. A circle of love replenishes the soul. Today, create a circle of love with Spirit, nature, animals and with people who are available to sharing love with you.


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The highest experience in life is to share a circle of love. A circle of love occurs when your heart is open with another whose heart is also open. A circle of love replenishes the soul. Today, create a circle of love with Spirit, nature, animals and with people who are available to sharing love with you.



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