The Viewpoint

27 08 2015

I am moved tonight to talk about our viewpoint.  I read and post many things on facebook that I consider inspiration, and a contribution to our growth experience.  And then my photo work and some talented artists from time to time.  And what really has become clear is that people read all of these things from where they are sitting.  One person who has had a profound break through regarding sex, very often relates it to their sexual experiences even though the post is not implying this (to me) in anyway.

Another person may see sexual danger every where because they were abused as a child.  This abuse colors their whole life and everything seems to come back to that for them.  They see abusers in everything and every where.

Another person has been victimized in their early life and they have embraced the role of victim.  And everything seems to be an attack to them.  Someone is doing something to them, even when the post is about love and connection, for this one it comes back to the way we can abuse each other.  Also, this state of victim brings with it a sensitivity that constantly re-enforces the state of “victim.”  It is a very hard road to travel.  I understand it, I went PRO in being a victim until maybe 10 years ago and it was hard work to give up that position and take on a new one.  A similar thing happens with those who have taken a rescuer role.  The are constantly attempting to save another whose life is not working out well for them.  This shows up a lot when someone says I am having a hard time in my life around this issue.  The rescuer cannot just receive that communication but must do something to help or fix that person.  They explain a thing to the person, or they give advice, or tell a story that is meant to educate the other to have a better life.  The biggest disappointment to the rescuer is that the rescuee does not get rescued.  They just go on in their victim state  feeling the whole universe is out to get them.  The funny thing is that as long as they live in that state it is true.  The whole universe is out to get them and the beauty of it is that the victim can decide at any moment to take responsibility for everything in their life and the whole dynamic changes.  Now, they may move into another state but that victim state can be blown out simple by taking responsibility for everything in their life and circumstances.  At that point they no longer are victim to anything because they have taken responsibility for it all.  They are the cause and they have given up the main contributing factor, the state of victim.

The rescuer on the other hand has a different strategy to be free.  That person must let everyone else take responsibility for their lives.  When the rescuer is no longer taking responsibility for other people’s life, choices, consequences, and other behaviors that are not working they are free too.  It is exhausting to manage others.  It is ultimately much harder than managing ourselves but it does distract us from our reality and our own suffering.  We can focus on the life and problems of another who happens to be a victim or we focus on our own growth and life.

Our individual viewpoint is the filter we see life through.  It colors everything for us.  It is the brush we paint the world with.  Give up your position, whatever it is.  See the world with fresh eyes, see it from another perspective.  Do not get stuck in one way.  I know that our early childhood, and other experiences have created this position and it seems to be the only reality.  It is the way the world is.  If we were abused, there are abusers out there.  Imagine that some people were raised with safety and love; they have a different experience and a different position.  And even though that position is more pleasant and maybe fun to view life from; it is also a position.  Give them all up and open to how it really is.  Get that how you see it may not be the way it really is.  Check it out with other people and see how they view life and the world.  You will soon find that there are an unlimited amount of positions.  Do not get fixed in yours.  Let it flow and change, and be flexible.  And let yourself see life and situations the way they really are and not through the filter of your viewpoint.

Accept it all…


Parental Approval

23 01 2012

This post is going to look at this issue from two perspectives.  The first being the perspective of us as individuals and how, if we did not get parental approval, we go around in life looking for someone to approve of us.  The second perspective is a bit on how we might think about parenting children so this issue of parental approval does not hold us back.

I had to opportunity to spend a couple of days with an old friend.  I had not seen them in over 20 years.  In the past 15 years I have make a serious undertaking of healing my childhood pain and things that don’t work in my life.  I only say that to point out that I have been through many changes since I was last with this friend and it became apparent during the couple of days I was with this friend that whatever we had in common at one time was far in the past.  This is not to say that because of my journey I am better in any way.  But there was a difference between us that  could not be bridged.  My friend was on a hair trigger, waiting for disapproval in some way and it seemed like any action I took or thought I expressed was an opportunity for this person to feel less than or hurt or both.  I realized after a short period of time that there was nothing I could say that would not hurt them in someway and that it had nothing to do with me.  It is how they do life.  Constantly looking to have approval from someone and never feeling like they get it.  It was very sad to watch.

This whole situation goes back to the Codependency posts I wrote a couple of months ago.  This person saw themselves as primarily a rescuer and with others who they felt were less than them they did their best to rescue that person and was always disappointed.  But their primary position, where they were living from was a victim.  Looking for approval from another and feeling they never got it and them deep into the victim place.  The thing about living from a place of needing approval from others is that it leaves you on the hook.  You are hanging out there – you are totally screwed because unless someone gives you that approval in exactly the way you did not get it from your parents or the way you think will make you feel better – you lose.  There is nothing you can do.  You are totally dependent upon another person to make you okay and if that person does not do it or does not know the thing that is going to do it then you are never going to be okay.  And even if that person does know exactly the right thing to say to make everything okay with you – it is temporary.  The next time they do not say exactly the right thing at the right time you and back into not feeling the approval and your are not worthy again in your own eyes.  It is a vicious cycle that you will never win at.  In my post about the Victim Position I said the way out of this is to take 100% responsibility for everything that happens in your life.  It is the only way.  As long as you rely on others for your ability to be okay then you will never be okay.  They will always let you down and it isn’t someone else’s job to make you feel okay.

The truth is, no matter what your parents said to you, no matter what you have done in your life, no matter what your circumstances are – You are okay just the way you are.  If you just accept that and feel it and live it you are off the hook and so are all the people in your life who were not able to say the right thing at the right time to make you okay.  The illusion is that you are not okay and the reality is that you are.  Your true nature is completely okay all the time.

Let yourself off that hook and accept yourself as you are.  Love yourself, know yourself, be yourself…

Close your eyes, breath, take three deep breathes, letting your mind quiet.  Feel into yourself, not your mind, or your worries or your problems, feel past that, deeper, into the core of your being.  Notice that part of you that is okay.  The part of your that cannot be disturbed by the circumstances of life.  The part of you that knows what is real.  The part that knows approval is not necessary.

Most of our parents were not thinking about how they were raising us.  They did what there parents did with them – maybe they tried to improve a bit on it but basically they did what was done with them.  I am not sure if it is based on religious thought of generations past or what but it seems like telling a child they either were not good enough, or they are not doing it right, or how they are wrong or how they are disappointing us was the way to raise children.  I realize that the motivation was to help them become better people or maybe it was just to get some control over the little animals but the messages were usually negative.  If someone reading this had a different experience and I know there are many who did then blessings on your and your parents.  For the rest of us, the vast majority, we were constantly told how we were messing up or how we were messed up in general and in specific ways.

I suggest a new way of parenting for those doing the job now.  Encourage your children.  Let them make mistakes and learn from them.  When they have a negative consequence join with them and work with them on how not to repeat what caused the negative consequence.  Love them through it.  Please do not heap judgments upon your children as your parents did upon you.  Accept them for their choices and differences and little rebellions.  Yes, we have to give them consequences, if we do not then they grow up expecting they are divas who are owed everything but need to do nothing.  But the consequences should not include statements about their inadequacies.  Involve them in things that feed their souls.  Help them start serving the world at a young age.  Give them love first and foremost.  I often work with families that are having trouble with teenagers and teen issues.  And the question I always ask is do you think your teen feels loved.  Almost always the answer is no.  I submit that the two main reasons they are acting out is that first they did not receive appropriate consequences as young children and walked over their parents.  This is an issue because many of our parents just beat us into submission so we were afraid to act out and many parents do not want to repeat that pattern but they do not know what to do instead – so they give no consequences at all.  The second reason is that as the child moves into adolescents their behaviors get more difficult and the fighting between the teen and their parents becomes more intense and through that conflict the child does not feel loved.  The parent not knowing what to do falls back on what was done with them; not physically but verbally.  And the judgments and negative statements get worse as the child does not comply with the parents desires that are communicated through verbal attacks on the child.

The thing parents forget is that their children look up to them for guidance and how to be adults, in a marriage, parents and how to do life.  The rely on us to love them and show them the way.  When we do not know what to do and treat them poorly (not intentionally – no parent does that) they take that into themselves.  They integrate it into who they think they are.  Not their true nature but their self-image.

One of my teachers would say it like this.  We come into the world and we are pure us.  Nothing interferes with our true nature.  Then our parents and other adults around us begin to tell us how we do not measure up and we build a shell around us to try and comply to the demands made of us.  Our true nature is concealed by this shell and we interact with the world through that shell.  Then someone else does not like the shell we are presenting to them.  They tell us how we are not okay the way we are so we create a new shell to try and adjust to that input.  Then another person tells us about who we are and we build another, and another, and another…  This process goes on throughout our lives until we begin to get an idea that there is a true us down there someplace and start to reverse that process.  Some of us get lost in those shells and never get a chance to peal them away.

So, as parents the more love and acceptance we give our children the less they start building up those shells and the less they are searching for that parental approval that they did not receive as children.

Co-Dependency – the wrap up

18 09 2011

I felt that I need to wrap up the last four posts.

Most of us came from families where we were trained to be co-dependent.  We might have been raised with alcoholism or drug issues in our home.  We might have been raised in a home with domestic violence.  We may have been abused in some way.  All these issues can contribute to us living our lives primarily on the victim triangle.  Even without those issues in our families if our parents were co-dependent then we learned it in one way or another.

So, most of us going around either in a victim position in life or a rescuer position.  And some of us even go around in a persecutor position.  The thing about this is that even when we learn to take ourselves off the triangle and are interacting with people who are living from one of those positions we find ourselves back on that triangle if we are not really good at no longer playing the co-dependency game.

It takes real consciousness in life to not get sucked back into the game with others when we have played it for so long.  I remember clearly my journey toward freedom from the game.  I would be doing great and then for some reason spend time with my family who were still (and still are) playing the game.  I could shortly find myself back in the same position.  Trying to fix their lives and feeling victimized by their judgments and other statements.  Falling back into having to be right with them and feeling less than when I wasn’t.  Slowly over time and a lot of healing work I found that I no longer got caught up with the same family patterns.

Those patterns, of course, were not just with my family but I found ways to play them out with many other people in my life.  Especially in relationships but also with supervisors and other authority figures.  It was not a good life.  It was a life full of drama and feeling unworthy.

I was so closely identified with the victim and sometimes the rescuer that everything in my life was colored by these positions.

If you find that you are being driven by one of these positions it is time to wake up; become conscious of your part in this pattern and begin to grow past the confines of co-dependency into true independence and eventually inter-dependence.

Blessings to you all and than you for your patience with this series.

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Blessings to all.

The Persecutor

13 09 2011

Or Co-dependency 103…

Sorry for such a delay on this.  Life has been more Intense than usual.

So, the Persecutor.

Every victim needs a persecutor to feel victimized by.  The interesting thing about this persecutor is that it can be someone who is actually doing abusing or difficult things in their lives (or a situation that is causing problems) or it can be perceived or imagined.  If someone is very attached to being a victim in life they are looking for that persecutor in every moment to justify their feelings of being a victim.

I have said before that many of us have a story about our lives and then we search for evidence to make that story seem true.  We reject evidence that does not support our story.  So, someone with a strong victim identification will often ignore the good things that happen in their lives and will focus on the things that support their identification.  Therefore, to maintain their identification or even their identity they must have people and life circumstances that help create that victim state.

Now for the persecutor:  Anyone operating their life on the Victim Triangle changes positions constantly.  Few of us identify with the role of persecutor.  Most people who are living in co-dependence either see ourselves as a victim or a rescuer.  Either everything bad is happening to us or we are trying to save those perceived victims we feel cannot take care of themselves.  What happens when we take any position on the triangle is that we switch around.  We do not just live in a victim position but sometime we try to rescue others or we sometimes persecute them.  A common pattern is a rescuer who works very hard on a victim’s life to help them do better in life in someway.  When the victim’s life does not improve they get very upset with the victim (because the victim did not appreciate all their hard work in the victim’s life and improve they way the rescuer thought they should) and then the persecute the victim in some way through anger or ignoring them or in some other way.  This pattern reinforces the victim position because now the person who was trying to hard to help us (even if the help was not really welcomed) has turned on us and so all the victim things we think about ourselves must be true.

So, the first task is not to live on the victim triangle at all but to get off the crazy ride.  The second is to pay attention in life and not do things to others that are persecuting behaviors.  Lastly, understand that no matter what you do a victim will come along and use you as a prop in their story and you may be placed in the role of persecutor without participating in the situation at all.

A way I have seen this play out is that a man or woman has a story about themselves and romantic relationships with the opposite sex.  This person gets involved romantically with a new person that they are all excited about and they have a lot of ideas about how this relationship will be different from all the other relationships they have had.  They also have an idea of how the opposite sex has treated them in the past and they are constantly scouting the landscape of the relationship for something that smells even a little bit like their past experience.  If they find something like that (real or assumed) they immediately forget everything else that has gone on in this romantic connection and cling to how this new person is exactly like every other romantic experience they have had and they have again been victimized by a man or a woman.  They are so identified with their victim position in this particular area of life that they cannot have a different outcome – it is almost impossible for them to see that a man or woman can be different from their past experience but still do a small behavior that may remind them of past situations but is not really the past situation.  In the circumstances I am referring to the reactivity has been so great that they reject the person they have begun the relationship with based on all their past disappointments and not on what has been going on in the new relationship.  Now, this new person may or may not be a persecutor of their romantic interest but they are certainly thrust into that role in very short order and the person identified with being a victim in these relationships will not let them out of that role no matter what the actual behavior turns out to be.  The story and the identification are too strong for the relationship to move forward.  The only solution for the person that longs for a good relationship but finds themselves constantly in the position of victim to their romantic interest is to heal that part of themselves and learn to give up their victim position.

And remember, no matter what we do in life others are looking for props in their story and sometimes work us into their play so they can again act out a way they have been wronged.  And sometimes for us props we cannot even make the connection from how we have been with that person to how the other perceives our behaviors.  It reminds me of the Four Agreements.  What others do has nothing to do with us.

Again, sorry for the delay in completing this serious of blog posts.  I will be following up with an overview of Co-dependency and then a post of significance.

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Blessings to all.

The Rescuer…

11 07 2011

Or Codependency 102…

One of my favorite positions on the Victim Triangle.  The rescuer is a seductive position because people doing rescuing almost always feel there are helping others.  Now, helping others is a good thing and I need to write an article on service to others but the rescuer is not really helping others they are trying to rescue them.  And the one the rescuer is trying to save is the perceived victim.  The person they see in the victim position on the triangle for whatever reason they see them there.

So, how do we tell the difference between serving others and rescuing?  Service comes from a pure place with no expectation of recognition or some kind of reward.  Pure service to others comes from having an open heart and knowing intuitively what will serve another most and doing that.  Sometimes serving others is part of your life’s purpose.  Our life’s purpose should always ultimately be about serving others and the world.  The further we go down our path of self-growth the more we will naturally tend to serve those around us and the world in more profound ways.  It becomes a natural outgrowth of our path of healing and spiritual growth.

Now a rescuer is not about serving others.  They are about feeling they know what others need in their lives better than the other knows.  A rescuer typically works harder than the perceived victim to solve the circumstances in the victim’s life.  Often the victim is just being in their state of victim and not working on changing anything.  They are just being victim.  The rescuer comes along and has ideas about what to do.  They try one thing, then another.  They tell the victim what will change their lives.  They spend money to help the victim change their circumstances.  They take the victim into their home to help them in some way.  They take responsibility for the victim’s life circumstances and work hard to make that victim’s life better.  Of course this rarely works and, in my opinion, is designed to cover over their own feelings of being a victim in life.

The thing about our positions on the victim triangle is that if we are playing on the triangle we are not just in one position but we move around the triangle.  The triangle is a dance of the victim, rescuer and the persecutor.  Depending on what is going on we move to another position on the triangle to fulfill another role.  Sometimes  this is a role we choose and other times it is a role we are placed in by another in their dance on the triangle.  As long as we are on the triangle at all these things are going to happen and sometimes when we are not on the triangle others in their dance will use us as props in their dance anyway.  We must be conscious of this and notice when others have placed us in one of those positions.

In the case of the rescuer they work so hard to make everything okay for the victim and their life that they feel exhausted they have given their all.  They have done everything they can do for the perceived victim and the victim in their little play on the triangle does not respond they way the rescuer wants them to.  The perceived victim’s life does not improve the way the rescuer thinks it should.  Or they do not appreciate the efforts of the rescuer or do not comply to the way of being that the rescuer lays out for them to improve their perceived victim state.  And when this happens the rescuer flips over to the victim position of the triangle moving the perceived victim now to a perceived persecutor.  They now go victim to the person they were rescuing because that perceived victim did not get better in life, or did not appreciate the help the rescuer gave.  And sometimes in that switch of positions after going victim to the object of their rescuing they can then move to the persecutor position and persecute the perceived victim.   Further fulfilling that person’s expectation that they are going to be victimized by the world.

Rescuers do not do their victims any favors in a number of ways.  They take responsibility for the victim’s life circumstances and try to over ride the victim and their life circumstances to make everything better in the way the rescuer thinks it should be.  This seldom works and when it doesn’t work the rescuer can often turn into a persecutor.  Even if they do not turn into a full blown persecutor they usually reject the victim because that victim has not gone with the program as it was laid out for them.  Rescuers also try to get people to change behaviors that the rescuer perceives as wrong so that the perceived victim will have a better life.  When their is no compliance to those behavior changes there are also often consequences from the rescuer.  Rescuing is just not an easy business and is often very frustrating for the rescuer.

So how do we stop the rescuing?  First start working on your own life and do not avoid that work by working on the life of others.  In other words start doing your personal work and let go of whatever you are denying in your life.  Second let others have 100% responsibility for their own lives.  Just like the victim has to take responsibility for their own lives; the rescuer has to let others take responsibility for their own lives, choices, path and lessons.  Get that you cannot help anyone avoid the lessons and consequences of their lives.  They must face those things.  You can support them through them but if you want help them avoid them then you have strayed in the realm of rescuing.

A departed friend of mine used to do a little skit about the victim triangle when working with teens.  There were four players in the skit.

The father and husband would come home from work upset and complaining about his boss.  His wife would try to rescue him by soothing him and giving him a few beers.  Then she said she made his favorite meal.  When he asked what and she told him; he yelled at her that her meal sucked and he like his mother’s cooking not his wife’s.  He leave to go to the bar where people understand him.  Then the son comes in and says Dad does not have the right to treat you that way and the mother turns on him yelling do not talk about your father that way.  The son leaves the room and kicks the dog on his way by.

I will leave it to you to decide what positions were involved and how many switches the players did in this short scenario.

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Going Victim

10 07 2011

Or Co-dependency 101…

Many of us live our lives going victim to many things in our lives.  People, circumstances, our job, money, our family, our racial history, or anything else we can grab onto to be the persecutor to our victim state.  This is part of the Co-dependency or Victim Triangle.  So many of us are just living in that state constantly and we do not see a way out.

The thing is that if we are so convinced that everyone and everything is conspiring to victimize us (if that is our story) we see people and circumstances that persecute us everywhere.  Everything that happens to us we decide is persecuting us and we place it in that box.  I will relate two examples.

The first is an experience I have had a couple of times where someone in my life has had a story about how they are treated by others.  I was aware of the story and took it into consideration when interacting with these others but what became apparent over time is that it did not really matter what I did, what I said, or how I behaved.  These others KNEW how they were going to be treated and perceived whatever I did as being in alignment with what they expected.  There was nothing I could do not to be thrown into that very box they stated they did not want me in.  I realized that the victimization they had felt at the hands of others was an fixed attitude – that they knew it was going to happen and therefore even in the face of evidence to the contrary they made in true for themselves and felt victimized again.  There was no way out for them except to do their personal work and change their fixed attitude.  As long as they accepted that they were going to be treated a certain way – they would always feel treated that way.

The second example was a family member.  This person spent almost all their life energy telling people all the crappy little things that happened in their life.  Now, none of these things were big or life changing but there was a whole string of small things that had happened.  If you sat down to talk to this person they just went down the list of all those things they had gone victim to.  And the next time I saw them they had a new list of these things.  It seemed like the never ending story there were always new little crappy things to complain about.  It seemed that their whole life was about those situations.  Like that was the person’s identity.  I am the person who all these crappy little things happen to.  And the story felt like – Feel sorry for me for all the crap in my life.

Now one of  rules of attraction is that what we focus on we get more of.  In both the examples above the individuals were focused on how people of life victimized them constantly.  So, they first got more opportunities to feel that victimized and really to learn the lesson about going victim to these things in their lives.  In the second case that person through many conversations got what they were doing to themselves and they began to change how they talked about their life.  Over time those little things quit happening or at least with the frequency they did in the past.  Now, they have a more normal level of little things happen in their life.

Some of us see every little thing as a horrible event that we are victim to and others may not even really notice those things.  I would say I notice them briefly and forget about them fairly quickly most of the time.

If everything is weighing on us so hard how can we improve our lives, how can we feel happy, how can we be fulfilled in anyway?  One of the great questions…

There is a way out of this victim trap.  And like everything else in life that is worthwhile it is a practice.

First we must do our personal work.  That can take many forms.  It could be meditation or therapy or other self-growth work.  Read the book “Breaking Free of the Victim Trap” for more information about how to get loose from this life pattern and fixed attitude.

The victim position seems to be an early state that we have most of the time in life because as children we were often not big enough, or strong enough or capable enough to handle the challenges we faced.  We made a negative conclusion about ourselves when faced with situations we did not have the resources to handle and those conclusions were often ones of being victim and not good enough in some way.  This is why doing our personal work is very important to resolving our victim states.  They began very young.

The other thing we must do is begin to notice our fixed states or attitudes about being a victim.  I have not written much on our mind yet but it is not our friend.  We must retrain our mind to support us and not undermine us.  A way to begin retraining our minds around the victim states we enter is to begin taking responsibility for everything that happens in our lives.  100% responsibility.  Even when it feels like we did not cause it.  I would say that if we did not have a hand in causing it we certainly had a hand in attracting it.  What we put our attention on we get more of.  Like the person in the second example when they changed where they were putting their attention things changed for them.

Another way not to go victim to people and life circumstances is to look for the lesson in the situation.  If something happens in life or with a person.  We have a choice on how we perceive that situation or interaction.  We can go victim to it or we can say “What do I need to learn from this.”

Another rule of attraction is that if you are not learning the lesson your are supposed to learn it gets sent to you again in a stronger way.  So, if we go victim to the situations that are served up to us that are lessons we are supposed to learn then we are not learning the lesson and it will get served up stronger.  If we go victim to it again rather than learning the lesson it will get served up again.  Therefore, if we are resisting the lessons we are supposed to learn those situations will continue to happen in our lives.  When we learn the situation they will drop off or maybe we will get a lite reminder down the road if we are forgetting the lesson and not living accordingly.

So, do your personal work…

Take 100% responsibility for your life and what happens…

And look for the lessons in situations you would like to not to be repeated in your life…

Thank you for bearing with me here.

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Blessings to all.


7 07 2011

We often hear the term Codependency thrown around and most of us relate it to alcoholism and those who live with alcoholics.  And even though there if usually codependency in those relationships it is a bigger issues and most of us grew up in a families that played the codependency game.

In that game there are three positions – the Victim, the Rescuer, and the Persecutor.  In my next three blogs I will go into detail about these positions.

Understand that many of us have a tendency to go victim to people and circumstances in our lives.  Something happens and we immediately go to that is not fair, how can they do that to me, why does everything bad happen to me.  I don’t deserve this!  One of my teachers calls this the Victim Trap.  And that trap is waiting out there for all of us to fall into and once having fallen in there seems to be no way out.

Most of our families trained us to see things from this perspective.  Think about the things your parents said when life was not ideal (and how often was life ideal).  Did they complain about life, others, circumstances, the politics, the neighbors, others who were different?  If so they were training you to be codependent and to go victim to whatever negative thing came along.

Thing is most of us do not see it that way.  We just feel it is life and it is how things are and complaining about these things is the way of the world.  We have been trained to go victim and not to be empowered in our lives.

My next post will go further into this issue of going victim to whatever we go victim to.

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