“The struggle of my life has created empathy. I may be involved in pain, abandonment, and not loving me to people.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
If you consider yourself a victim, you are alone. Identifying as a victim, you give your torturer’s power to you, the very power to define who you are.
Such statements are undoubtedly true and are therefore generally accepted knowledge today. If you consider yourself a victim, you will be alone. You will be a defeated person, a person who is at the mercy of others, and that is not the way to live.
Still, the truth is that many were victims. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that at some point in life, everyone is the victim of something or someone. So how can we refuse to be a victim without denying reality? On the contrary, if you accept being a victim, why not give up your strength and independence?
The answer I think is partly in the subtleties of the language, the small differences with the big differences. Would you like to say that you were a victim instead of defining yourself as a victim?
One of the things this does right away is to explain the act, not the person. That means whatever the crime is being used, abused, bullied, deceived or criminalized. It does not then take away that person by defining him or her after the event.
In fact, “sacrifice” is a verb, and its use alone seems to focus on the subject rather than the subject. When I heard the word “sacrifice,” the first thing I thought was “who did it?” It is not “who are the victims?”
It may sound like tearing hair, but the word “sacrifice” refers to a moment, not a person. By defining someone as a victim, it accurately portrays reality without permanently changing it. It naturally focuses on those who shouldn’t have done it, rather than those who shouldn’t have it, as if he or she had a choice in the matter.
However, there are far more important points here than these semantics. This played more than anything else in an important part of the story: our personal growth and development, while we didn’t want to define ourselves as a victim.
It may be unpleasant to experience, but pain deepens people. To get hurt or get sick is to communicate with anyone who has been sick or injured and has been sick or injured, or who will be sick or injured.
In suffering, you are given the opportunity to suffer with everyone else who is suffering and can connect with the vast number of people facing a myriad of different situations. Suffering is human and is part of a much larger whole.
When you go to the other side, you have a choice. We forget our suffering and can’t learn anything and remain unchanged. Or you can define yourself as suffering and collect another sad story that clings to you. Telling the story creates our ego, and in fact, for many, it is the story of the victim.
At first glance, the victim’s identity is not happy, but the victim’s story is fascinating. It can certainly be a way to avoid liability and curry sympathy from others. Best of all, it provides the stability of the invented identity. It’s just an ego.
Its stability stops the ultimate fear of the ever-changing uncertainty of life. But at the same time, sticking to this stability makes us fight life and therefore suffers. It’s a rejection of life.
But there is a third way. It is about accepting what has happened to us, learning from our suffering, and becoming smarter, kinder, and more empathetic. It is to accept our sacrifice without becoming a victim.
Suffering is a great teacher and a great unity. Ancient spiritual teachings from India claim that there are three ways to acquire spiritual knowledge: through experience, through reading books, and through teachers, or knowing about it. Through someone.
Unfortunately, if you have met or read someone who has experienced a great mental awakening, or if you have experienced it yourself, it is usually the result of the former, and that “experience” is usually pain and suffering. is.
So when we are sacrificed, we can gain some insight and power. It makes it easier to recognize and empathize with those who have been, have been, or have just been hurt. We can be that helping hand, that listening ear, that open heart.
This is a lesson I have learned through a painful experience.
A few years ago, just a few weeks after my father died, when my mother was on a cancer journey, I belonged to a cancer caregiver support group. I returned home from a great distance and was the caretaker of both. This was a very difficult experience.
It was time to stay in the group until my mother miraculously recovered, and perhaps 16 months later, to live her life. When someone left the group, various members went around the circle and gave a little compliment to the person who left.
One woman in the group came from a completely different situation than I did. I was a white man in the suburbs, grew up in a stable family, and attended a prestigious university. She is a mixed-race African-American and Hispanic woman, raised in a single-mother household in Bronx, and returned to earn her degree as an adult.
She had a confession. She said that when I first came to the group, I looked like a privileged white man from the suburbs where I was born. But when she knew me and heard me in a group, she knew I had something. I was able to listen to people, hear their pain and somehow relate to them. I was able to secure space and at the same time give good advice, and she knew it was heartfelt.That wasn’t what she expected [me].. “
What she couldn’t say was the picturesque suburban upbringing that obscured the ugly truth. Unfortunately, my childhood story was one of the most frequent abuses. There was physical, emotional, and in some cases even sexual abuse.
I grew up in a family of four children, a family scapegoat. It was a dynamic relationship that my parents taught all my siblings. Looking back on my childhood, almost all of my happy memories happened outside my home, at school, at my friend’s home, on my own, and outside of my home. I was alone in a house full of people.
I would like to say that kindness is rooted and is an essential empathy for the trampled person, but it wasn’t. It stiffened me and made me immutable. I was able to make it strict. I was able to get over it all. Why couldn’t someone else? That was my attitude.
Then, as an adult, I was in danger. It’s a complete emotional collapse. After years of illness, a difficult career, and tragedy between friends and family, it’s all overkill. I fell but was reborn. When all the defenses broke, I experienced a complete change of mind. Above all, I found my empathy. It was a bottomless well that I didn’t know was there.
Above all, I was attracted to outsiders. I saw outsiders being despised deeper in me. Perhaps it was because I was able to remember how hard it was for outsiders to grow. Now that I have fully embraced and integrated my entire experience, including the victim’s childhood, I was able to empathize with that outsider.
Still, I didn’t think I was a “good person” even after growing up like myself and having a big “shift” due to a breakdown. I don’t think people think of me that way, so I think my outer reserves remained intact.
What the woman in the cancer group told me that day was better, more meaningful and rewarding than the trophies, awards, praises or awards I had ever received. But it was a compliment I bought from the bottom of my heart. Without the childhood sacrifice and the suffering I experienced in adult life, I wouldn’t have won it.
I am not a victim. For it to be true, I still need to be sad or resentful. I need to live in a maladaptated way to survive through coping mechanisms and pain management. Is it upset when I think of that innocent, happy, carefree childhood I’ve never seen before? It is certainly so. But my past has taken me to my happy present and taught me the lessons of the heart that would never have been taken otherwise.
Looking back, do you want to start over? That’s certainly not the case, but I’m happy that it happened and I’m grateful for those experiences.
But I’m not the victim of anyone, but I don’t reject my victim — in fact, I accept. That’s part of my story and probably the most important part.