For the Love of Victim

Victim is in our blood. It’s part of our humanity. Natural, even. Inescapable according to psychological and spiritual guru, Carloyn Myss. Carolyn says that we have 12 archetypes we embody for learning and growing in our lifetime. Four, she says, are set in stone and the same for all of us. The Prostitute, The Saboteur, The Child, and, you guessed it, The Victim.

The Victim is not bad and wrong, contrary to how we think of her. We love her. She serves a purpose. Helps us get vital needs met, helps us get what we want. The problems come when we pretend we aren’t two-stepping with her, pretending we aren’t letting her run the show at times. The problems come when we are in denial of her presence and power in our life.

I’m an entrepreneur and most days I love the thrill of showing up to my own office, doing the work I’m both good at and passionate about. But some days, I wanna chuck it all out the window and say “Sayonara, sucker, bake like a lizard in the sun, crack open a cold beer and read fashion magazines while laughing out loud with my Poker Gals until my belly aches. On those days, I have to talk myself into showing up. Even though I know being a solopreneuer comes with things I don’t always like, and even though I choose my business, and love it, on those days, I still fall Victim to it: I lose a little power in exchange for more immediate payoffs, like procrastinating, sympathy, avoiding responsibility, or whining (which, let’s face it, sometimes feels really good).

Of course we don’t want to work some days. Maybe even a lot of days. In a row. Nothing wrong with that. Let’s just be out about it, shall we? But that’s not what we, as a society, are practiced at. No sir-ee. Instead of telling the truth about our needs/wants/complaints and actively working to meet them in a powerful way, it’s acceptable to use the Victim full tilt (and then pretend we are not because after all, we are mostly self-actualized, right?).

We are afraid that if we are out with our Victim—out loud, out of the closet—her needs will stop getting met. In my case above, maybe I need a little rest and I know all the reasons I can’t have it so I complain about it in a very clever way. I leak my upset, lightly joking about how I’m working 9 days in a row and there is nothing to be done about it (enter Victim). Most people are good and kind so they respond with sympathy or agreement. Ah, agreement. We love agreement even more than sympathy. But I’ll leave that for another blog. Even cleverer, through my complaining, I actually get to procrastinate, put off the part of work I dislike thus getting my needs met covertly. Smart, right? I’m afraid if I tell the truth about how I just want to complain or not work or whatever- that I’ll have to be responsible for changing something, or getting off something, or quit whining (which, if you remember, can feel really good).

Funny humans we are, to boot, we like to think our complaint is a really good one, an uncommon one, and super justified…impossible to fix or solve.Yea, but this is different”, “I just need to bear with it”, “That’s just how it is, this client is special”, “Nothing can be done and it’ll be over soon (heavy sigh)”. We like to think we are unique. Truth? Our complaints are not unique or impossible. In fact, our complaints are actually boring and ubiquitous when you get right down to it (insert your own laughter here). Trust me, I’ve listened to them for over a decade now (including my own). And as for impossible, just about anything is possible- you just can’t see it inside that victimy-context that you don’t know (or believe) you have. Except you do. We all do. It’s in our blood, remember?

Next time you hear even the tiniest peep of the Victim knocking on your subconscious, let her out a tiny bit. Crack the closet door and let in a speck of light. Bring her out into full view in all her glory.

Consider your Victim is here to help you get what you need.
Love her up.
Then ask yourself:
What I am not telling the truth about?
(I don’t wanna!)
What would be the most embarrassing or shameful thing to admit right now?
(I just want to complain, it’s actually feeling good and I’d like to milk it all day if I wouldn’t be found out).
What need or want is not getting met?
(Rest? Being heard? Being alone? Collaborating?)
How could I simply be “out” about my wants and needs?
(Maybe I’ll tell so-and-so. Maybe I’ll make a request.)
Or, my personal fave: What am I being a brat about?
(Me? A brat? Ha!)
Yeah. Sit with that.

Then again, there’s always the alternative: Leave the damn bitch in the closet with the door locked and chained, milk the perks of sympathy and avoiding responsibility for all it’s worth and make everyone in your life, including you, miserable all the while pretending it’s all a “normal” part of life.

Oops. Was that my out-loud voice?

One Comment

  1. Casey
    Posted March 10, 2010 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Great article Regina! I have been sharing it with my girlfriends.

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