“How would you counsel those who seem stuck in
the past (or present) role of a victim?"
Rev. Chris Jackson, Senior Minister
One of my favorite spiritual resources is “A Course in Miracles.” It says, “What could you not accept if you but knew that all events, past, present and yet to come, are gently planned by One whose only purpose is your good.”
I love the message in these words, for it tells me that everything is always happening in the right way at the right time, regardless of my personal judgement to the contrary. Personally, when I look back on the events of my life in which I appeared to be victimized, I search to find the opportunity disguised in the victimization. I have come to realize that all of my demons and devils served a purpose in moving me in the direction I needed to move. It’s hard to hold onto a victim identity when, through the apparent victimization, I experienced a necessary awakening.
In counseling, it is always best to lead an individual to their own insight and revelation. This can be accomplished by asking questions. I would ask the counselee, “Do you want to be a victim or a victor in your life?” “Can you see where the apparent victimization you are experiencing is showing you an unrecognized aspect of yourself?” “Is there a way to turn this experience into something that moves your spiritual awakening forward – can you understand that there is a reason for it, and find an opportunity for growth in it?”
When we are immersed in the role of a victim, it is very hard to answer these questions. The ego becomes defensive, feeling that it was wronged in some way by another person. This is the tough part of spirituality – taking responsibility for our experience. Even so, the effort is well worth the end result – personal liberation and freedom.
Rev. Elizabeth Longo, Associate Minister
First of all, I would not see a "victim" in front of me. I know that in front of me is a spiritual giant that is under the spell of the human condition. I approach every counseling session with the intention of being fully present with an open heart, available for God to work through me. I know with absolute certainty that the person in front of me is the divine incarnated. Then in that sacred space, surrendering the session to God, I listen to the person's story. By the simple act of being heard a shift begins to take place, making room for healing and transformation to occur.
Once the person has had the opportunity to tell their story and to allow the emotions to come forth there is usually a letting go and a deeper awareness of the peace and joy that is at the core of our being. Then I share whatever guidance may come through. There isn't a formula.
I trust the process with absolute faith that God is in charge. I will then give the person some homework and recommendations that usually involve changing their thinking, and/or their habits. And a deepening in their prayer and meditation practice. They will leave the session with a plan for transformation.
Rev. Juan del Hierro
First and foremost, I honor your honesty and your authenticity in recognizing that you are at times stuck in the past. It not only takes courage to admit that we are seeing ourselves as victims, it takes courage to get past it. One of the most important processes we can move through in our spiritual journey is the process of forgiveness. It is about forgiving others, forgiving circumstances and forgiving the past. It is also required that we forgive ourselves, especially for allowing ourselves to feel victimized.
The main question to ask yourself is: "how is it working for you to be a victim?" If you are tired of it and recognize it isn't serving your highest good, then I would invite you to consider new ways of being, including seeing yourself as not the victim of circumstances or people, but the victor over your challenges. Life is about being present. Be present to your feelings but do not allow the present to be victimized by the past. Allow your present to be a space for you to recognize your own divinity and deepen your faith that no one and nothing is against you, only for you.