Why do we continue to feel like victims in certain situations and with certain people? Can others make us feel this way, or is it something about us that generates our internal victim experience? Being a victim is part of a ‘power over’ belief structure that says someone has the power and someone doesn’t. You may be the victimizer or the victim and many of us play both roles in different relationships. A client of mine plays the victimizer of her son by blaming him and telling him all the ways he disappoints her, and she then plays the part of the victim at work by denying or rationalizing when she receives the same treatment from her boss.

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One of the reasons we stay stuck in this victim ‘loop’ is based on our early experiences of not being able to get our own needs met. As children, we felt vulnerable and that we had very few choices when a situation came along that we didn’t feel good about. When we combine this with what we learned in our earliest years; what we need comes from others/outside of us, - we feel out of control to get what we need.

Most of us work hard to find a way to feel we are in control by finding the safest/best way to respond to our experiences and the people in them.  This may look like trying to control what others do and say. However, when we blame others and deny our role in the situation, we end up being the victimizer leaving victims in our wake. Being in control may look like rationalizing our way as right so we don’t have to feel the uncertainty of the unknown or submit to what others want. Some of us hide what we want/need/feel just to keep the peace when someone else wants something different. In that case, we become the victims by our own hand. Some of us find a way to ignore what others do and say to stay in control. This has us disconnect from other people and situations where there is pressure for us to perform – leaving us again feeling like a victim.

What to do? The first thing is to realize that you ALWAYS have a choice. To discover what the best and most loving choice is for you, it’s important to first have an intention to be accountable for your experience, instead of falling into the victim ‘loop’. When a situation or circumstance occurs that doesn’t feel good, the FIRST STEP we need to take is to Recognize how it is for us. What we are feeling, thinking and experiencing. The next step is to Own what we are thinking and feeling and how it is familiar to us. A strong negative reaction to a situation happens when we feel triggered by past experiences that feel the same. If we felt like we were not enough when our mother criticized us, we may feel the same thing again when someone criticizes us now. Taking these first two steps may stimulate some emotional release/ movement. The goal is to allow these emotions to come to the surface and give them the space to move through us without trying to change or fix them. We do this by focusing on the physical experience of the emotion moving through and by pulling our thoughts away from the ‘story’ going on in our mind.  This allows the energy of the emotions to move through, complete and release. Once we have recognized and owned our experience, the next step is to Forgive ourselves for ending up here in this familiar place that doesn’t feel good. Remember that we didn’t have the awareness or ability to do anything differently before, and we need to let ourselves off of the hook. With our new awareness, we can clarify what we do want with the next two steps, Self-Examination and Learning.   Lastly, we can Take Action on our own behalf in ways that feel good without making anyone else wrong.

How will you choose to step out of the victim loop today?