Right at the beginning of this article, I would like to make a disclaimer. The topic I will discuss is not easy to address and is even more difficult to receive depending on the severity of the incidents leading to victim patterns in our behavior. What makes it so difficult are suppressed and locked away parts of us that react to letting go and most of all the concept of forgiving a perpetrator or agent. What is often talked about by mental health professionals but seldom heard and understood by the people in pain. The process frees us from the past. Otherwise, it will continue to affect us, stopping us from living an independent and very possibly joyful life.
I am talking about this from my viewpoint including my own patterns of adapting victim-based behavior.
Emotional abuse and narcissistic disorders in authority figures have led to the negation of my personal power resulting in the perception of powerlessness and impotence. At a certain stage in my healing process, I had to realize that I had given away my power and was afraid to reclaim it.
From the standpoint of the rational mind, it can be agreed that other people can’t make us do anything… if we won’t let them. With emotional abuse, there is no logical reason we should be intimidated by someone in front of us. Just the other day I was present where a young lady intimidated everyone involved in a conflict. She was clearly the person behaving in an inappropriate way but was still in charge of the whole situation. I myself felt my hands shake and my heart rate accelerate. The important part is to step into our own power that we have given away for so long and to set clear boundaries. Initially there will be some going back and forth between finding ourselves where we perceive ourselves as the victim but it is essential to become the observer and to take back the authority and power we have been used to handing over. When a subliminally aggressive or encroaching person would come into the room, I would get so insecure I’d give them everything without hesitation even though no demands had been made.
In the end, forgiving and letting go of the past applies to all situations but what each one of us has to do is a highly individual process which can best be addressed through therapy or professionals that can help to walk this path.
So why is the headline for today’s article the victim quagmire? Basically, to be a victim or perceive one’s self as one is a dead end that will give us sympathy and attention from others at first but will keep us from feeling autonomous and self-determined. Depending on the degree of complaints and accusations we are conveying, the people surrounding us will stop empathizing and withdraw at some point because this state of mind is draining everyone in the long run. The only difference is that if I am used to being in that state, I won’t notice the depletion because this is my “normal” mode of behavior. Others who are going in and out of this kind of energy field will only realize over time that our energy pattern is making them feel depleted and drained after having spent time with us.
Trauma Therapy is a very sensitive topic and I urge anyone to abandon bipolar or dichotomous thinking in terms of right and wrong, good or bad, etc. This is one of the main obstacles to forgiving others and ourselves because we see ourselves as right and the other person as wrong. Everyone is right and wrong simultaneously. If you have ever read a story in which the author is going to the trouble of narrating the story through the eyes of the protagonist and the antagonist, telling the same story only perceived differently, you will have an idea that we all see ourselves as the heroes or sufferer in our stories. This relates to the dynamics of the ego and eventually, volumes are filled by contemplating the ego and its effect on the soul.
It is often said that forgiveness is setting us free from the negative emotions that would otherwise consume us and our whole life. From personal experience, I can affirm this is so. I took almost five years of work to really let go and to take responsibility for my own actions.
We often tell ourselves that all we want to hear is an apology from the person that hurt us. In other cases, we want that person to have to go through the same pain we did as payback for what they did to us. Sadly, we don’t realize that usually this pain set the cycle in motion in the first place. Most if not all perpetrators have experienced traumatic events in their past. Often it is passed from perpetrator to the victim who becomes the agent of the traumatic event for someone else. The only way this loop can be interrupted is through love and the act of forgiveness.
It takes time to realize that even though the confession of the person might be helping the process, we must still be able to forgive the person for making a mistake. So, waiting for someone to come to their senses is best let go because that day might never come. If it does, we still have to do the same work and lost time we otherwise could have spent enjoying the moment and doing beautiful things.
The act of true forgiveness has by far been one of the most difficult things I had to do in my life. I am continuously experiencing moments where I must let go of grudges I am holding because I feel how they otherwise corrupt my every thought. Some years ago, I decided to give happiness a chance and one essential tool in order to live a happy life is to forgive.
I am not asking you to forgive the most traumatic event that happened in your life. Start with something small, a friend that kept you waiting or canceled an appointment on short notice and so forth. Most of all, be good to yourself. You probably didn’t learn to forgive otherwise you wouldn’t be reading about it. No one I know really learned these things in school or with their parents. So be good to yourself and give your self time to learn something new. This has the potential to change your life because it is an important step in being in charge of your emotions and feelings. Deciding to have only loving thoughts and be compassionate can be compared to deciding to participate in the ironman triathlon. It all starts with an idea but it still needs a lot of practice and work to make it happen.
By the way, the Hawaiians have a beautiful technique that is called Ho’oponopono. Wikipedia’s definition of the ritual is “a Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness”.
I stumbled upon the technique some weeks before I traveled to Hawaii for the first time after having been on O’ahu ten years before. Briefly explained, you state you are sorry, ask for forgiveness for your part in the conflict, state your love for the person or being, and thank them in the last step.
This method is a beautiful way to resolve a conflict. It works in many ways, the most potent when it is used when all conflict parties have assembled but can also be done by one’s self. If you are interested to hear more about Ho’oponopono send me a message or use your search engine of choice to discover more about it.
All I can say is that it works wonders for me and I am very glad I got the chance to resolve some conflicts in the past. Presently whenever I am under the impression that I need to put things in order, I use ho’oponopono. The
Ho’oponopono is very potent in resolving conflicts and is worth to be considered if you made the experience that “simple forgiveness” didn”t work for you in the past.
I had let go and forgiven so often in the past but the anger and rage would still persist. Mostly because I held on to belief I was the victim in the story. It might be all coincidental because so many things came together simultaneously but my visit to Hawaii and the techniques I learned have helped me to mend the relationships that had been deteriorating and I got to be free from nightmares as a result.
If you have any questions or comments please let me know.
Aloha & Mahalo