I’m not a big fan of the term ‘being in a victim role’, and yet it does say something that I find precious: the movement from powerlessness into choice (power).
I really like this story I heard from Marshall: Marshall used to drive his kid for 1 hour every morning to school. He noticed himself complaining (victim role = ‘that it is being done to me’): “pffff…again I have to drive him to school….#@&…..”. Then he remembered: “Oh, I chose the school for him because this school is more aligned with my values. I want him to be brought up with my values”. In that very moment his driving energy changed and all the complaining disappeared.
So when I fall into a ‘victim role’ (= powerlessness), how can I go back to choice/power?
Here is how I often fall into ‘being in a victim role’:
When my girlfriend forgets to wash her dishes (for the 50th time) or when she is not caring for the house as I wish, the first thought coming to my mind is to tell her: “Why are you so messy? Why are you always forgetting everything???”.
This thought comes from a profound feeling of powerlessness: I imagine that if she will not wash the dishes, then I will have to wash them, which means to me: I will become like my mother who takes care of everyone, does all the tasks everyone hates doing and being an invisible base for everyone else to shine.
I’m scared to death of becoming that.
Powerlessness is an awful feeling to feel. In order not to stay in powerlessness I go to strategies such as: Getting angry “again, you didn’t wash the dishes!!”, complaining“I always need to clean after you”, judging “you’re so messy, and you don’t care for how it is for me” or threatening “if you don’t wash your dishes, just don’t come here to my house”. Violence comes from a deep sense of powerlessness.
If my consciousness is: “the only way for me (not to become like my mum), is that my girlfriend will wash her dishes”, then I have a very little amount of choice and possibilities, because then I’m depending on her choice. My life design (to shine) is depending on how she will act.
And the worst: The more I try to change my girlfriend (the more I try to hint to her that she should remember to do things in the house), the more resistance she offers me back (as then I remind her of her own father who she needed to push away with all her might in order to protect her own spirituality…).
The opposite of powerlessness is choice. Choice is the safety that my life is in my own hands. ’Empathy’ can bring me back to where my choice is:
If for example a giraffe friend empathises with me: “Yoram, is it that you’re frustrated that she’s not washing her dishes?” Me: “yes!” Giraffe friend: “yeah, so is it that you’re doubting whether you want to actually invite her to your house?” as weird as my choice might be to not invite her…In that moment I’m thrown back to where my choice/power is.
When I am at choice, then I naturally connect to my own motivation as to why I do want to invite her. I like it so much when she’s around…. The moment I’m clear I do it for myself, all complaining stops.
→ Whenever you notice yourself complaining, ask yourself: Where is the place where I can choose?
Choice is scary (and can be ‘weird’):
Connecting to my own choice and standing firmly for my own needs (for example saying to my girlfriend: “seeing that sometimes you leave the dishes in the sink, I prefer you not to come to visit me…” can be immensely scary. It is scary because I’m scared to lose her: “She would think I’m an idiot, and she will soon find another man who is more fun and relaxing to be with”, and also because I’m afraid of my own judgment about myself “because I’m a maniac I will never have a relationship”.
But here comes the Magic: The moment I am at choice, I change:
Here is an example from another situation happened few days ago where I was engaged supporting a friend regarding her daughter:
A friend was frustrated and depressed about the amount of hours her daughter spends on her mobile phone. In a complaining mode, she said: “It is not good for a 10-year-old to spend so much time on her mobile! Why did her stupid father buy her a mobile phone?? Why did I make a child with this stupid guy?” And: “she is wasting her life! She’s doing bullshit the whole day”. Powerlessness leads directly to depression.
Through an empathic process my friend connected to her own need for her own life to be meaningful (and not spend sooooo much of her own ‘giving energy’ in supporting a person wasting time on mobile phones).
This is already a big movement, from thinking: ‘it’s not good for my daughter to…’, to: ‘I want to care for my own precious life energy!’ There is already more power there.
And when I asked her: “so, would you like to stop being her mom, so that you can use your life energy meaningfully?” At first, it was a joyful thought, a relieving thought that she’s not stuck (=victim) in a situation she doesn’t like. And right after she connected to her love for her daughter.
After that exchange, she had two beautiful and connecting days with her daughter…
And last: choice opens up beautiful possibilities:
I went with a friend to do the shopping for the new year’s eve. When we came out of the shop the large parking lot was completely jammed as there was no traffic lights at the exit junction. About 100 cars were blocked, no movement. I noticed myself complaining to my friend why didn’t they put a traffic light in this junction?? Seeing myself complaining, I remembered: ‘Where is the place where I can choose?’ Immediately a picture came to my mind of me going into the junction and playing as a traffic officer. I felt shy and scared. But I was in the mood for experiments so I walked to the junction blocked the traffic in the main road and let all cars from the parking lot go out (took some good long 5 minutes…). So many drivers were smiling and honking the horn with gratitude. It was cool 🙂
And I thought to myself, it’s enough one person having a choice to release 100 people who are stuck.
I so so, sooooooooooo love choice,