The difference between victimization and self-compassion

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I had a consultation with someone who had experienced a terrible accident as a toddler. She was seriously injured and disabled, and many surgeries were needed to keep her functioning. Now, as an adult woman, she’s got her life back on track, but she still struggles with a tremendous sense of guilt.

In her view, she was partly responsible for the accident and it had such an impact on her and her environment that she felt that her entire family had to suffer because of her carelessness. Her parents and others around her helped as best they could, but unwittingly it weighed heavily on her that their lives were so marked by caring for her.

That guilt was so much stronger than her own pain and grief that she never got around to healing her psychological wounds. Refusing to see herself as a victim, she learned to be strong and powerful in order to survive and be as little of a burden to others as possible.

She was so allergic to victimization that she would never use the word “pathetic” in reference to herself. Her environment tried to do that more than enough, she thought, but it gave her the feeling of being pushed into a corner.

Her guilt was also a way of not having to feel her own overwhelming emotions every now and then. In essence, she projected it onto her environment: they were fellow victims and had pain and sorrow from what she had caused by stupidity.

The head is in the middle

She read my book Feather Light; living and working with spirit guides and wanted to experience a more conscious contact with her guide, but she felt that there was a blockage preventing that and that her mind was somehow caught up in it.

She had seen that well. She needed her head to keep unwanted feelings under control. But contact with your guide goes through contact with your feelings and opening your heart. So if she really wanted to communicate with her guide, she couldn’t help but face her unresolved past and get to work with it.

Self-compassion threatens your ego

If you yourself experienced a traumatic event in your childhood, you may recognize this pattern. Processing, which can often take place much later in life, requires a gentle, loving approach full of compassion for the child you were.

That can be very threatening to the ego, which will fight tooth and nail against feeling what has been tucked away so far for years. Your ego sees it as its job to guarantee your survival by protecting you from those overwhelming emotions. As a child, that was absolutely necessary and it probably brought you a lot, so it’s important to respect that resistance. But now that you’re an adult, you’re strong enough to start feeling what you couldn’t and wasn’t allowed to feel as a child.

The victim role is also a survival mechanism

Being kind to yourself and giving attention and space to long suppressed emotions should not be confused with victimhood. It’s okay to feel like a victim of something that happened to you without being afraid of being a victim.

If you do step into the role of victim, you will not take responsibility for your own life and you will, usually unconsciously, saddle others with a feeling of guilt. You thus avoid confrontation with yourself. That too is a survival mechanism to not have to feel what is really going on. It makes you weak because you shift the responsibility for your life onto others.

Always having to be strong makes you vulnerable

But always having to be strong actually also makes you vulnerable. Usually you are not well able to receive help. You have the idea that you always have to solve everything yourself and you prefer to give help to others, that is safer for you. If you’re also struggling with guilt about what happened, you’ll have to deal with that first.

Many children take the blame for something for which they bear no responsibility. Think, for example, of people who have experienced incest in their youth. Because they have not resisted enough, they often feel partly guilty of the abuse. Forgiving yourself, no matter how unjustified your guilt, is of great importance.

In any case, you need professional help in processing your trauma and making contact with your feelings. That’s an important first step: admitting that you need help and actively seeking it. Even if you have already had the necessary therapy in your life, it is still important to recognize that at each stage of the process, which often takes years, you may need different help.

An accident as part of your soul plan

In my book Being sick makes you better I discuss the relationship between health and the soul plan. An accident can also be part of your soul plan . Certainly a major disabling accident is never accidental and planned in advance. That is often difficult to understand. Because why would you choose such a fate?

As a soul you have completely different interests than as an earthly person with an ego and human desires and needs. Your soul is out for growth and wants to develop into more and more power, wisdom, love and compassion, through many earthly lives. She wants to gain as many experiences as possible, both positive and negative.

Especially experiences that evoke strong emotions, because that is something the soul can only experience in a physical body. It is therefore through the body that we gain most of our life experiences and learn our lessons. That is why it is so effective to heal our psychological wounds through the body. Emotional bodywork, hypno and regression therapy, intuitive massages and many other body-oriented therapies can help you work through your traumas.

Karma as motive

Karma often plays a role in the soul’s choice for these kinds of intense experiences. We may have been both victims and perpetrators in past lives. Sometimes it is necessary to experience something that we once did to others.

Not as a punishment, but to develop more understanding and compassion with others and with yourself and to rebalance the energy between you and the people involved. But even if you were once a perpetrator, self-love and forgiveness of yourself and others is the key to healing.

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