Six Steps from Victim to Victor
Let’s begin by defining the concept of victim, from an energetic perspective. The term has become distorted to encompass a way of being (a victimhood), that is removed from the original intent. It is entirely possible and natural to be a victim, of a crime, for instance. It’s when the experience stretches into a way of life that it becomes increasingly unsustainable.

Let me put this another way. Victimhood is okay to visit once in a while, but setting up house? Not a good idea. Not only is it hard to live there, but it’s even harder to leave. You can’t sell a house in Victimhood, it’s a neighbourhood filled with abandoned homes and abandoned dreams.

Victimhood saps you of your personal power and encourages you to stop taking responsibility for yourself and the path you walk. It turns you into a person who expects others to care for you because somewhere along the way you’ve lost the knowledge of what it takes to care for yourself. In fact, you’ve traded that knowledge for the label of victim. Somewhere inside, that knowledge is waiting to be (re)awakened.

It appears it is quite comfortable for some people to remain there, partially because it means they can blame external circumstances or others for the way their life has turned out instead of accepting responsibility, which can be life-changing. Taking responsibility for your life means taking responsibility for all the aspects of every decision, from the moment of the idea’s conception to its final outcome. All those ‘what-if’s and potentials are part of the whole package. They can be painful to consider, but if to be a whole and vibrant human, it’s important to accept responsibility in your life as a creative, engaged participant.

The label of victim is intended to be a step towards empowerment; a momentary state of being that impels you forward into a fresh perspective. Something along the lines of this: ‘Hey, I was the victim of a crime! I’m going to use this experience to strengthen my (inner and outer) resources so that this doesn’t happen again. I will learn to establish healthy boundaries and form communities that are united in creating prevention programs and support services. I will speak up and speak out and not let this become my downfall. I will use this experience to shift perspectives and help others. I will rise up! (Rawr!)

To take ownership that you are a victim of abuse, for example, is an empowering part of the healing cycle. You cannot heal what you refuse to feel. The key is in naming it, understanding it, and moving forward from there, not becoming trapped in the energy of that state. If your hope is that your abuser will recognise your level of suffering, you might stay in that state for years, and the bitter truth is that you are only hurting yourself.

Life does not happen to you, it happens for you, with you as the star of the show. You have the power to engage with each scene as it plays out. You also have the power to respond in any way you choose to the events and circumstances that shape your unique journey.

Following are 6 steps to shift out of victimhood into a more empowered state of being.

1. Identify where you are (be conscious)

It starts with getting really honest with yourself. No one wants to admit they’ve been living in Victimhood, but it’s worth looking at ways you may be sabotaging yourself if you feel your life isn’t moving forward in the way you’d like .

Do you find it challenging to face new choices and changes as they arise? Do you have difficulty finding the good in situations, or find yourself blaming external circumstances or people for where you are? Do you find things falling apart around you, and wondering when someone is going to notice how hurt you are?

If so, you may have been living in Victimhood. And that’s okay. Everyone lives there once in a while. Sometimes it’s like a holiday resort when you’ve been through something especially trying or painful. Recognising it is a HUGE step towards feeling more empowered. There’s a reason 12-Step programs begin with honestly acknowledging the problem (to yourself first, and then others).

2. Acknowledge where you’ve been

Once you know where you are, you can look at where you’ve been, and what factors might have contributed to your current experience. Now you’ve said, ‘okay, maybe I’ve been living in Victimhood,’ and you can look at why you would choose that for yourself. Quite often it’s a coping/avoidance mechanism; an unwillingness to face the pain of a past hurt. Instead, you hold on to the story of the hurt and how it makes you feel (helpless, disempowered, unsafe, betrayed, etc).

The truth is you were hurt. Someone else may have done something horrific to you. The question to ask yourself at this point is ‘do I want to continue using my power to focus on the person who hurt me by remaining where they left me?’ The answer, hopefully, is a big, resounding ‘No!’

Lovingly examine the circumstances that caused you to shift into avoidance and blame, and acknowledge your pain. You don’t need to relive it, just admit to yourself how hurt you’ve been, and how you’ve wanted to deny those feelings. There’s no need to label those who hurt you as ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ either, because that perpetuates the imbalance of power (ie that it is not in your hands). On some level of your being, you played a role in the interaction that was designed to teach you more about yourself.

3. Find power in your experiences

Now that you’ve acknowledged your present and what got you there, you can look for the gifts in the experiences. Somewhere in there is incredible power. You never gave it away, even if it feels like it. It may just be buried under old patterning and beliefs that what you were experiencing was all you deserved.

There are always gifts, no matter how bad the situation might feel. Quite often finding them begins with looking for feelings of shame, guilt, resentment or anger that arise when thinking about the situation. For example, are you angry because you allowed for your boundaries to be invaded or ignored? Look at that and feel it in the present moment. Try not to shift into blame or displacement by making others at fault, just feel it, as it is. The anger is there, and it’s pointing you towards something you’ve learned from the experience, perhaps about setting clearer boundaries.

As I mentioned above, it’s not necessary to relive every situation of your life and the associated trauma. This is about taking time to gently examine the feelings and what they’re pointing you to. Most often it’s your own healing.

4. Start rewriting your story

Part of becoming a conscious participant is awareness of the old soundtracks that have played through your mind and body (in this and other lifetimes). Once you are aware of them, you can change the tape, and start playing ones that better match your own definitions of who you are. You have a say in how you define yourself, and being conscious of the definitions you reflect is a part of living a life in line with your soul’s needs.

You can choose right now to no longer accept the label of victim. The experience has given you the lessons you needed and you’re ready to move on. Look at things from a different perspective and see how you may have grown and changed through the challenges you’ve faced. Start rewriting some of the old stories you may have been telling (yourself and others).

For instance, if your repetitive story is ‘I’m so fat!’ try turning it into ‘I’m making decisions every day that encourage vibrant health and a more positive body image,’ or ‘I love that my body propels me through life so well, and allows me to interact with the physical world.’ And then begin to LIVE that new story.

5. Get comfortable with change

I so often hear, ‘I hate change!’ and yet, it is one of the only constants in life. Think about every day activities, like going to work. There’s no way you can predict exactly how it will play out, even if you take the same route every day for 30 years. Each day, the weather changes, the specific cars on the road are different, you might get some red lights you didn’t get the day before, people will change their clothes, their moods, etc. Nothing remains completely stagnant.

Change is dynamic, powerful, and creates movement. Sometimes the reason you resist is because the familiar is tantalizingly comfortable, even when it’s actually not. What I mean is that it can be too easy to stay in a familiar situation that doesn’t really feel right, simply because it’s familiar and you fear change. Mostly, you fear what the changes will mean for you, and how drastically different your life will be. That’s pretty normal. No one looks forward to a major shake-up.

The thing with change is that it happens, whether we like it or not. If you’re not consciously working towards changing things, they will be changed for you. If you’re choosing to remain where you are because it’s easier, it might not be so easy to face the change when it comes. It’s far more empowering and life-affirming to create and instigate the changes yourself than to wait for something or someone from without to come and rescue you.

6. Find the others

None of us are alone, no matter how it may appear in your immediate circumstances. There is always, always someone else who has been through a similar situation to you, and you might find sharing your story with them helps you to heal. Be mindful of where and with whom you share it, because it can be easy for people to become stuck in a repetitive loop of victimization.

Find ways to share your story that benefit others. Share it over a long walk with a friend, so you’re moving physical energy as you open up to your vulnerability. Look for support groups that encourage empowerment, mutual support and growth. Find ways to express yourself creatively as a way to convey your feelings – art, music, and writing – these all speak directly to others’ hearts.