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Victims Struggle

Barb:
I hear this word so often. People talk about how they struggle toward some accomplishment, struggle to communicate, struggle to improve and so on and on and on. Whenever I hear this word, my brain stops as I try to understand what it means. What do people mean when they say they struggle? I know that it feels difficult, but why are things difficult? I go through difficult times and situations often enough, but I just can’t relate to this word struggle. Help me out here.

Sarah:
Like everything, I think, struggle is a matter of perception and energy. I have been there (in struggle) and I have been here (open to possibility) and I have been in the waxing and waning of both. Do we go with what is and understand that life is clear and easy if we allow ourselves to be present and open? Or do we push, resist, want, and perceive life through a negative lens? The victim mentality starts to feel good when things aren’t going ‘our way.’ We can pass it off as not being our fault or feel oppressed to justify our anger and sense of lack. But when we feel like things aren’t going ‘our way,’ it really begs the question ‘what is our way?’ Most people don’t really know the answer to this question. I guess I would describe it as a shift in focus. Rather than concentrating on an external reality or goal that we have not reached, it is a shift to the mentality that we have everything we need right now and endless opportunities to create what we want.

Creativity- yes. It’s as simple as my children wanting activities that suit their interests in a way that the masses are not providing. They have specific interests and want them met in a more technical, grown-up way than most classes geared for children their age. I spent quite a while searching, waiting, and lamenting the lack of opportunities. I recently had a mental breakthrough. I don’t know how or why but I decided to step out of my comfort zone and help my children create them. We all know people who know people. And people love helping people. John Strelecky, author and motivational speaker, opened my eyes to the clarity and wisdom of this. So here we go! My daughter and I have organized an art show for local homeschoolers/unschoolers in the DFW area at a coffee shop. Turns out all I had to do was ask! I had the support of a local grown unschooler who flows in the DFW art world. My hope for a one-night affair is a 2-4 week installation with the ability for the kids to both display and sell their art! My son has started a Live Action Role Play group, sharing his passion for medieval fantasy costuming, weaponry, and role play with others in a way that is usually reserved for adults. Victimization and creation are both powerful mentors.

Barb:
I am enjoying thinking about ‘what is our way?’ as I think you may have nailed this feeling of struggle… the feeling of things not going ‘our way.’ It’s also giving me crystal clarity on why I can’t relate to the word or energy of struggle. In my (self-designed) world, EVERYTHING that happens to me, every person I meet, every thought I have, every situation I find myself in is there or occurs because I asked it to be there or occur. EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. Because I live every moment of my life with this reality, everything is always going my way! Even when something dark and negative or even downright bad happens to me, I am fully aware that it occurred because I asked it to occur. In the simple comfort and clarity of knowing this, I am always in a place of being able to immediately – or whenever I want to – ask myself “why did I ask for this?” and receive an answer that only I can give myself. When I receive the answer, and I always do, I can then those to learn from it, change my life so I don’t need to ask for this again, reflect and alter my thought or action processes, etc. No struggle, just opportunity to commune with oneself and learn or change or evolve or … remain stagnant and frustrated and angry. And sometimes that happens too, although much less now that it used to… years ago. Life is good!

Sarah:
You touch on something important here that is tough for many to own. Whether cultivated by religion, co-dependent relationships, the sense of having to play someone else’s game, or other, it can be difficult or impossible for people to own their experiences as personal attraction. “It’s God’s will,” “shit luck,” “fate,” someone else’s fault…. we’re full of reasons why things aren’t going ‘our way’ when, in reality, they always are! When we play the victim, resist, deny, and blame, that is struggle. When we own our experiences and flow with and recognize opportunities, we have choice, control, and clarity.

Barb:
Life is supposed to be simple, and it’s as simple as this: we each create our own world, period. What we choose to allow in, what we put out into the world, how we choose to perceive ourselves and others are all individual decisions… yes, decisions. There are no victims. I realize this is particularly difficult to understand with regard to infants and children who have illness, disease, disability, abuse in their lives yet it is true for them as well. That doesn’t mean that we can’t help or empathize, etc. – we do make our own decisions about this as with everything else in life. Why would a child (or anyone, for that matter) choose to experience life with what we consider to be a negative state of dysfunction or dis-ease? When you find yourself in such a state, ask yourself “why did I ask for this?” and listen for the answer. It will present itself in the form of intuition, a flash of insight, a clear response – but you will receive your answer. Contemplate the answer and decide whether you wish to change your current situation. This is how I live.

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23 Comments Post a comment
  1. I am really “struggling” with the idea that children bring upon themselves abuse, neglect and torment. Adults choose to abuse and neglect children, confine them to school, etc. Are you stating that children chose to be born to parents that would parent them in a mainstream manner, an abusive and neglectful manner or force them to go to school? If the result was that when everyone grew up they became Gandhi-like figures primed by the abuse, that would make sense. In reality, most people are traumatized in this culture and far too many grow to perpetuate the culture. Although I believe there is some truth to this, some karmic aspects, I think this kind of view point can lead to elitism, apathy and a “well, you asked for it” kind of reaction towards people who suffer. I don’t believe that any human being chooses to suffer in a healthy state. When humans have been traumatized, they may draw that towards themselves, but every child who is born comes into the world expecting that their needs will be met unless they were harmed at the womb level.

    November 13, 2011
    • This post was not in any way geared toward blaming children for their abusive circumstances nor did children ever enter my mind when writing except from a mentoring perspective. Children are not reading this blog. Adults are. We are strong mentors for our children both in the most obvious physical ways and energetically. Unfortunately, adults who were abused as children carry this energy of victimization forward into adulthood. Indeed, many who were not overtly abused do as well simply because we are a society primarily of disempowered individuals who go about their daily lives feeling out of control in relationships, jobs, financially, as parents, etc.

      Karma and past life experiences are certainly interesting aspects of the abusive experience to consider but I don’t find them necessarily helpful in moving forward or breaking the cycle. What I do find helpful is the realization that children/teens handed even a spark of empowerment can also see that they have opportunity to change their experience profoundly. We can share this knowing if we have it ourselves and that is the key.

      November 13, 2011
      • Thanks for the opportunity to have a conversation about this. First, let’s be clear on my opinion on this: I am not telling anyone else what to believe or how to live. My opinions are based on my own experience, research, introspection and thoughtful desire to understand how the world works.

        Laurie, I have to admit, even though it is extremely difficult for me and has taken me many, many resistant years to get there, that yes, I have come to believe (and that may change in a moment based on new information!) that infants and children choose the abuse and illness they may be born into. Ouch, I know how much that hurts, as my whole life is centered on the unconditional needs of children to be loved, nurtured and respected. You and I both know children, including ourselves (certainly me) who were abused as children and used that experience as a basis for what we did NOT want as adults. Without that experience I know I would not have evolved to the adult that I am, with the insight I have.

        As for the elitist, ‘you asked for it’ syndrome that you believe could result from such widespread understanding of ‘everything, every person in your life is there because you asked for it to be,’ I can only say that in my experience just the opposite is true. When one fully embodies this notion as a reality, as a law even, responsibility is the result. When someone enters my life who is in dire need, let’s say in the case of an abused child for example, I recognize immediately that this child and I have something to accomplish together. Perhaps it is fleeting, sometimes it is lifelong. I trust my ability to walk a unique path with each person and each situation, one step at a time, feeling, gauging, listening, intuiting, offering, loving, engaging as it feels relevant and connecting.

        November 14, 2011
  2. mbh #

    I hope ths is a forum where we can openly discuss and agree to disagree on some points. I do agree with most of what you describe, but not with all of it.

    There seems to be three parts to any situation: the “before”, the event/situation, and the “after”.

    I don’t believe that we ask for or create ALL of our circumstances or experiences. It seems that the world is too complex and there are too many energies interacting for me to think that I have complete control over everything that happens to me.

    BUT, (and this is the “after” part) that does not mean that I am powerless or a “victim”. It means that it is what it is, whether I created it or not.

    Regardless of what I experience, even if it seems like it was inflicted upon me, I go through the same process I think you are describing, where I can ask questions like:

    – What can I learn from this?
    – What can I do about this now?
    – How can I do things differently so it doesn’t happen again?
    – Is this what I really want or not?
    – How did I contribute to it?
    – How does this define me, or not?
    – How can I create a solution that works for me?

    All of those questions, and more, can be asked and answered without having to define the “before”. It is possible to take complete and total responsibility for the “after” without having to claim that we are 100% responsible for the “before”.

    I tend to lean a little towards Buddhism and I think our “struggle” (or suffering) comes from our definitions of what we want or think we need (our attachments.) When we can release our own clinging to an idea that we must have things a certain way to be happy, then we can release our struggle.

    And on one last personal note, I find for me, my struggles are very rarely between myself and another. They are between different parts of myself.

    November 13, 2011
    • Wow, mbh! Thanks for sharing. There is a lot of truth for me in your words. I choose not to ‘blame’ myself for things not going the way I anticipated but rather a place of acceptance and inquisition as to whether they way I anticipated is truly “the” way. There is far to much guilt and shame out there to layer it on ourselves. It is rather about flowing with the circumstances of life and being aware of choice on a moment to moment basis.

      ‘All’ or ‘always’ or ‘never’ are words I really wonder about. These are not rethinking words. I know what I know until I know something new that throws me into a new rethinking spin.

      November 13, 2011
      • I love your contribution to the conversation mbh and what you say feels powerful and true to me… except for the part about not asking for ALL of what is present in your life. To me this is where the power lives, in the recognition that we do ask for ALL. This belief is what gives me a powerful, centered heart of connectedness with everything and everyone in my life and the awareness that I am capable of any change in my life at any time I wish.

        November 14, 2011
      • mbh #

        Barb, I have, like you, seriously and thoughtfully considered the idea that I choose everything that I experience. I can see the appeal in that belief, because if I choose all of my experience, including the horrible parents I get, the sexual, physical and emotional abuse I suffer, and the diseases I endure, then at least I am in control. I created it. It would be way more difficult to believe that there are some things outside of my control. I would rather be responsible for everything than be out of control about anything.

        I actually find it somewhat comforting (not in a blaming way) that so much exists, in such a wonderfully interactive manner, that I am a small piece of a very, very, huge, beyond-imagination picture. I interact and dance with it, like one small butterfly among the billions of of other “butterflies”, creating small waves that affect one another.

        In the end, I guess we just don’t know for sure, but we all have to make our best guess, or at least decide on what works best for us, to bring us peace of mind and a positive experience. I am glad that we have different perspectives and ideas on that. That is what makes life so rich.

        With that said, regarding the topic of this post about struggle, it seems that we all seem to agree that we have complete and total choice in the present, regardless of how we define how we got here. And that, I believe, is good.

        November 14, 2011
  3. Amy #

    I also appreciate this discussion and prefer a more open definition of experience in that it happens. I don’t need to box it in by saying I asked for it. Experience simply is what it is, something I experience and I get to deal with it. Not only do I get to deal with it, I get to *choose how* to deal with it.

    Finding the power to choose can be part of the struggle for many. If they have felt largely held down or oppressed the ability to choose may not feel like reality. It may feel like a farce and someone telling them that they asked for it doesn’t really help (saying that from experience). Sharing that we have the power to choose in the present about how we respond to our experiences can help as someone begins to realize their own creative power in life.

    To me, we are always co-creating so nothing is an independent creation… and yet we can also look at ourselves as a microcosm of the macrocosm. Many different perspectives we can entertain.

    Struggle, for me, comes in fighting reality. Resisting reality hurts. Wanting it to be different and fighting inside of myself that it is not.

    Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t want different! Yes, I want a world where people are treated with dignity, all people!🙂

    Do I punish, control, and force to bring this about? NO. That would be to contribute *to* the struggle.

    Do these tendrils of power over or demand come up in me at times? Sure. It is what I do with them, as MBH said, inside of myself. It is in the recognizing that these perspectives do not really lead to what I want, growth, or beneficial change.

    All the same, I do not find that faulting one’s self ever helps. Taking responsibility for right here, right now does.

    November 13, 2011
    • Thank you, Amy! Yes, I agree that finding fault with oneself is certainly not the goal. How does that contribute to a positive feeling of choice and empowerment? It doesn’t. The point you make about recognition of co-creation is important. With this awareness, we can make choices that are more in alignment with our desires and needs.

      November 13, 2011
  4. Amy #

    Oh, and I have to chuckle with Barb’s comment that life is “supposed to be” simple. Who says?😉

    Yes, we can all distill it down to simplicity. I love this!

    And, sometimes it just doesn’t feel easy, fair, or simple. There is power in simply feeling what we feel. Allowing ourselves to accept what we experience and move forward from here.

    Sure that’s in our perspectives.

    Is it in the defining of life that we share our perspectives (i.e. that it is supposed to be simple) or are we sharing the simplicity we experience in the way we choose to perceive and focus?

    Fun stuff.🙂

    November 13, 2011
    • Thanks Amy. Don’t forget here that we’re talking opinions, not dogma. When I say ‘life is supposed to be simple’ I am only referring to my experience, my belief. I never want to be in a position of telling someone else how to live, only sharing my own experiences. I know many, many people who, for all intents and purposes, appear to be alive to suffer. This is hugely confusing to me as it is in such contrast to my own life and my experience with suffering. So no, to be clear, not everyone is here to see life and conflict simply!

      What I love about my understanding of how the world works is knowing that each person creates their own world… which is all I am really talking about here. There are no victims, there is individual creation.

      November 14, 2011
  5. nadja #

    Yes! I love this dialogue. Those who feel victimized & those who struggle through, feel powerless! Choose powerlessness! This past veterans day I reflected on my separation from my son while I was deployed… When I returned I lost precious time “struggling” with guilt, rather than embracing my son & being the mother I wanted to be!!!! This was first real “regret” in my life & it felt awful… I refuse to choose to feel that way again. I am powerful and make choices & I embrace all of the decisions in my life! My partner is angry that I do not regret leaving… he chooses to blame our children for his anger/impatience or whomever/whatever happens to trigger him… his life is a “struggle” and he really has no conception of choice and I feel his powerlessness, he is modeling this for our family… He chooses anger & victimization in life & I am rethinking our life together…

    November 13, 2011
    • nadja #

      I had not read any of the previous comments before my post… I understand Laurie’s comment and it is an interesting point… is there an age (though different for all & some never :c) that we expect to begin to feel this power over our lives? What about bad reactions to childhood vaccines, sexual trauma, infant circumcision… ALL chosen?

      Mmm… more importantly to me is what is it that shifts for some people and not others… My partner and I come from similarly “abusive” “dysfunctional” families, both sexually, emotionally & physically abused… yet I have not grown up feeling like a victim… he has lived with “dark cloud syndrome” as if the the universe was out to get him, literally… joking about “Irish Luck”; embracing this idea… as a child, my mantra & that of my siblings was “everything happens for a reason”… Now this was not based on religious notions or an idea about fate… it was just an acceptance of myself and my circumstances…

      I am not sure if my partner is capable of another choice with the tools that he has right now…

      Thoughts?❤

      November 13, 2011
      • Amy #

        Nadja, thanks for sharing!

        How powerful to grow up with the mantra that “everything happens for a reason” *and* to really feel power and truth in that. I think it may be in how one perceives their experiences, whether they grow up with the idea that the experiences hold them down or that there may be a gift or something beneficial for them – or something else that they may not realize. Maybe it’s just acceptance, as you mentioned. Again, to have this since childhood would definitely lead to a different way of being as an adult, or at least a reservoir to tap into when you get down or feel engulfed in a struggle.🙂

        We always have the ability to make another choice although if we do not see any options as true choices then we cannot choose them. We’re only as open as we allow ourselves to be. In my experience compassion, listening, and holding a positive expectation for someone and in having someone holding that space for me has been transformational. Maybe it looks like holding the space for him to feel that he can make different choices or feel more of his personal ability/power to respond how he would really like to with the kids, or whatever.

        Some adults never feel a real sense of being able to direct their lives and most likely it does start in childhood. We can offer an alternative by just being with them… in love. That may open a new way of looking at life.🙂

        November 13, 2011
      • I so relate to the troubling feelings you express with regard to your partner. It can feel so challenging to share intimate time and space with someone whose sense of control and empowerment is so weak. As mentioned in an earlier post above, I have had many friends and others in my life who appear to exist in this lifetime to suffer, as they seem so unable or resistant to effecting change that would alleviate their troubles. Change that is so simple for me, and perhaps you.

        Witnessing another’s pain and dysfunction has offered me many things: 1) contrast, so I can see more clearly what change I want to make in my own life, 2) aid, which is what I am able to give by way of time, physical assistance, an ability to listen, an example of my own life and flow, and 3) empowerment, which is what I feel when I consciously decide from moment to moment, why this situation or relationship is present and whether I choose to continue it or put an end to it.

        I can’t change anyone. I don’t want to change anyone. I believe in change, love the flow of change, want to change, am drawn to seeking change. And so I live the life of change. As I allow myself to be the center of a well functioning universe, I am able to fully support others for the lives they create for themselves, no matter how alike or different they are from mine, knowing that I am fully capable and in charge of making decisions all the time, every day, every moment as to whether I want the interaction/contrast, etc. in my life.

        November 14, 2011
    • yes! This feels powerful to me, your awareness in the moment of knowing you are making a choice, a decision, about how to feel. Now, just to be clear, just because we are in agreement doesn’t make us right and others wrong, it only means we are in agreement!

      November 14, 2011
  6. mbh #

    I don’t particularly believe that everything happens “for a reason” but it may be just a matter of semantics. Sometimes really bad things happen to us but does that mean that it was destined to happen to us for our growth? I don’t think so; shit happens. However, we can give meaning to everything that happens, which is where our power comes in. Perhaps this can be defined as “a reason”, and that makes sense. I am sure it is a matter of semantics and I certainly honor everyone’s beliefs and what works for them. Goodness, the ONLY thing I know for sure is that I know pretty much nothing.

    Nadja, I have heard the theory that in any family system, we are all connected in a sort of “balance”. I like to think of it as a mobile (like you hang from the ceiling, will all parts dangling in perfect balance). If one person changes (moves a piece of the mobile), it changes the balance in the family. With this idea in mind, then it seems to me that the greatest effect you can have in your situation is to “be love, be acceptance, be no-regrets.” The others in your life can’t help but be effected by that – and that is a good effect. Will it change their ways? Who is to say? But if you continue to be the light that you are, you WILL ALSO be a model for your children AND you can be model for your mate.

    My husband and I have a blended family. I am the step-mother to the boy I consider my son. He is 20. While he was growing up, he had several “models” in his life. He had his bio-mom (who was immature, selfish, blaming and reactive) and he had his dad and I, who (although we are way far from perfect) always tried to be loving, valuing, respectful and reasonable. All I can say is that he DID learn a lot from his bio-mother. He learned he did not want to be like her. And sometimes I think the contrast in “ways to cope” points out choices to our children even better than consistency. Is this making sense?

    On the other hand, I think there is no harm in considering, re-considering, thinkingand re-thinking ever single aspect of our lives, even our marriages. If you are re-thinking this relationship, that is good. You should consider every possible outcome given every choice you have. My husband and kids absolute drive me banonkers sometimes. I fantasize about running away and living in a state park. I can do that. But when I compare that reality to the one I have now, I would miss my life, as imperfect as it is.

    Only you can explore all those possibiliites. The great gift of that exploration is the realization that we all have full, free choice all the time.

    November 13, 2011
    • Amy #

      MBH,

      I totally agree…

      “Goodness, the ONLY thing I know for sure is that I know pretty much nothing.”

      And this is right on and beautiful…

      “Only you can explore all those possibiliites. The great gift of that exploration is the realization that we all have full, free choice all the time.”

      November 13, 2011
    • nadja #

      Thank you MPH, I appreciate your thoughtful response & would like to note that I am doing this all on my phone breastfeeding/caring for my 10 month old🙂 & have not really “reviewed” before posting & I realize that I did not finish my thought on my “childhood mantra”🙂 in adulthood it is “everything happens” and we make of it what we will… minus the “reason” part… I am a “semantics” person🙂

      “be love, be acceptance, be no-regrets.” yes, yes, yes! I have also come to point my life where I realize that I thrive surrounded by people who inspire me… I accept my partner… I am not willing to live with his anger anymore… He drops a fork, anger, dog stands in front of him, anger, driving, anger… He “doesn’t like people”… I won’t go on… So I have attracted this & I am choosing to let go…🙂 I am not ready to walk away from the relationship… I just had to let him know that I am no longer willing to live with his anger…

      Peace

      November 13, 2011
      • mbh #

        Nadja, Yes. I remember when I decided to keep and give birth to my unplanned baby. (I was not married.) At that point, my opinion was, with everyone I knew, “You are with me or you are out.” I couldn’t support myself and my baby, with people working against me. It seemed selfish, but it was the most loving thing I could have done for myself and my son.

        And, I have to say that I am truly impressed with your ability to text on you phone, breastfeed and mother. Amazing.

        November 13, 2011
  7. I couldn’t agree more Sarah & Barb! thank you!!!!

    November 13, 2011
    • Thanks, Tara! I know your work is all about personal power and choice. We look forward to working with you more.

      November 14, 2011
  8. I really Believe that blog, “Victims Struggle | rethinking everything BLOG” thepassingstatic was indeed
    perfect! I reallycan’t see eye to eye with u even more! At last appears like I reallyuncovered a blog page truly worth reading through. Many thanks, Margie

    February 28, 2013

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