I’ve been exploring the power available in embracing the role of Victim.
Yep, you read that right.
My first exposure to the Victim/Victor conversation was at about 19 years old from Doc Lewis. This man changed my life. He was my college humanities professor and brilliant at incorporating side lessons into his teaching. He brought the conversation up during a World Religion course, which was so impactful that I still have my notes from class. I can still remember the classroom, his 70’s tie, the faces and names of many of my classmates as he lectured us…
Unpleasant things happen to us all. Some of us are born into unpleasantness. My question for you is this: do you want unpleasantness to be your whole world? No? Of course not! The thing that separates happy people from sad is their relationship to the Victim vs Victor conversation. Things happen to victims, and for victors.
I’m a big fan of word studies so I want to start with the definition of the two terms.
Victim [vik-tim] noun
- a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency:
- a person who is deceived or cheated, as by his or her own emotions or ignorance, by the dishonesty of others, or by some impersonal agency:
- a person or animal sacrificed or regarded as sacrificed
Victor [vik-ter] noun
- a person who has overcome or defeated an adversary; conqueror.
- a winner in any struggle or contest.
What my still-developing brain took away from the overall conversation is that it is Victim versus Victor.
You can either embrace the victim role and allow life and things to happen to you (and be weak)
You can embrace the opportunity to be the victor where life happens for you (and be powerful)
However, this was my own twisted interpretation.
The two roles aren’t good/bad or weak/strong – they both have their place. And it isn’t one or the other – they can both exist in the same space, in the same person, in the same experience.
In fact, I suggest that you are a stronger Victor if you have moved through and embraced your Victimhood.
I’ve had experience embracing both of these spaces. When Doc Lewis first introduced me to this dichotomy, I was in the midst of healing from a violent, traumatic experience with a boyfriend. I reacted by stepping firmly into the Victor role. I gave myself pep talks, advocated for others to get out of abusive relationships, and allowed it to fuel me into a position of strength. What I did not do was take time to heal. I stepped right over the part where I acknowledged the pain, fear, helplessness, and betrayal I experienced. And by not acknowledging it, I didn’t allow myself to heal it. So while I was able to navigate the world as a Victor, a badass ‘survivor’, I was still a bit broken inside dealing with trust, intimacy, and self-confidence issues. Once I finally allowed myself the space to address and heal these things, my inner confidence, my relationship with myself, and my trust in others, really began to expand. I had to find a balance between moving through and moving past.
The space of Victor is masculine in nature, there’s a sense of dominating over something. This energy is really useful, especially when it translates to action and social justice.
However, we know that a state of balance is where the juice is.
The space of Victim is feminine in nature, there’s a sense of allowing things to happen. This energy is useful for processing emotions, learning lessons, and staying connected to the heart space of it all.
For many, the immediate response is to jump into action, to strive to change things, and embrace the Victor stance.
I am all about taking action, walking the walk, and working to change the world.
I return to the juiciness of balance. Embracing the Victim, searching for the lessons, processing the emotions and impacts, paired with striving to be the Victor, moving past and succeeding – this seems like a powerful place to stand. A Victor with a healthy relationship to what it’s like to be a Victim, with access to true empathy, is primed for impact, healing, and growth.
This feels like an especially appropriate conversation right now. For four years, people in the U.S. belonging to marginalized communities have felt victimized by the President. Others have felt like the President himself has been victimized for four years. No matter who won the 2020 election a large number of U.S. inhabitants were bound to feel crummy.
It is oh so tempting to immediately jump to activism, to domination, to fighting for what you think is right. I encourage action. However, I encourage you to also take time to explore what it feels like to be the Victim. Process it, heal things, move through the experience. It will set you up to move into the Victorious space even more powerfully – when the time is right.