From the book and workbook, “Living In the Light,” by Shakti Gawain.

We all know Victims.  Those people who are chronically in the soup. Who always have a story to tell about how someone or some thing did them wrong.  “Victims believe,” Shakti explains, “that they are helpless, that they have no control over what’s happening to them.”

Victims need Rescuers.  Rescuers feel that Victims need their help.  They are the only ones who can solve a Victim’s problems.  Rescuers are the ones always rushing off to help another poor soul.

We all have both in us.  You can’t be a Rescuer unless there’s a Victim hiding inside.  Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to recognize the Victim.  The problem is that Rescuers are so busy rescuing others, they don’t tend to their own needs.

In order to transform this Rescuer role, we need to accept that the victimization is happening.  People are suffering.  Shakti says, “To transform rescuing we need to take responsibility for our own part and get in touch with the power of the universe within us to help with our own healing.”  As long as the focus is on the Victim, nothing will change.  The Rescuer needs to turn the focus inward, to see what needs to be done for themselves.

When you rescue someone you send the message that you don’t trust the other to properly care for themselves.  That they are not in control of their lives.  The Victim is just a sad case that is so much less than you are and really needs you to make everything right.  I have felt that myself, when well-meaning friends have tried to step in and rescue me.  (Even though I may not have asked for it.)  I end up feeling, why are they so sure I can’t handle this myself?  I wonder if I can’t . . .

People need to be able to help themselves, to know that they can.  This doesn’t mean that you can’t ask for or get help from others.  It’s a matter of being able to believe in yourself first.  Know that you can do it. “Amazingly,” Shakti tells us, “when you support yourself emotionally, others mirror this by giving you lots of love and support.”

Victims will stay victims as long as someone rescues them.  Or they get sick and tired of being rescued.

“The only way to truly help others is to do exactly what you really want to do.”  Trust that eliminating your own guilt and resentments will allow the universe to work through you to heal you and others, in ways you couldn’t have imagined!

The way to shut down the victim role, Shakti says, is to “turn to the universe within, before seeking help on the outside.”  Realize that there is a process going on here.  That the situations you have drawn to yourself, that might appear to be making you a victim, are actually invitations to heal.  “Our inner voices want to be heard and if we’re constantly ignoring them we’ll become increasingly uncomfortable,” Shakti warns.  We ignore them by seeking help elsewhere. 

Take the time to listen to what your inner Victim and inner Rescuer are trying to tell you about what you need. Follow your inner guidance.  Then seek whatever support you can get from others.  Knowing that you are being asked to help yourself first.

Exercise: Finding solutions for the Victim voice.

Three columns:
1) How am I a Victim?
2) Who or What is victimizing me?
3) What Action can I take?

Think about places where you feel you are a Victim.  Describe the situation and notice how it makes you feel.  Quickly note who is the culprit according to the Victim mentality.  Who’s “doing it to you.”  Then, Shakti suggests waiting, if you don’t know what action to take right now.  Let it simmer a bit and fill that in later.  See what messages come to you.

I’m having a fight with the electric company.  They refuse to help me figure out why my bill is so high.  Clearly, they are doing it to keep my bill high so they make more money.  I am very angry about this and have been given the run-around for quite some time.

The big, bad Electric Company is my victimizer.

The action to take?  Well after I calmed down and spoke to a few friends, I realized that I do have a recourse: The State Utility Commission. I’m gong to contact them and see what I can do.  Instantly, I feel better.  Less like a Victim.

Exercise: Getting to know your inner Rescuer.

Three columns:
1)  How do I Rescue?
2)  Who or What am I rescuing?
3)  What can I do for myself?

I’m thinking, I’m not a Rescuer.  I have too much on my own plate for that.  But the truth is, I am, like a well-meaning friend, ready to jump in and suggest a remedy. 

My neighbor hasn’t been well and yet she continues to push herself.  I want to tell her she needs to take time to pamper herself.  It is the best thing she can do for her illness.

But I see in this exercise that maybe it is I who need that lecture.  I push myself way too hard and, though I know better, I tend to forget to nurture myself.  Maybe, if I do that more often and tell her about my progress, she’ll get the idea.  I don’t have to make her feel any worse.

I have been seeing things in my friends.  Patterns of sabotage that they don’t seem to notice. I want to tell them about it.

I venture to guess that I, too, have patterns that are destructive.  I’m going to take a new look at that and see what I can do to reverse my own patterns.  Truthfully, I don’t know if I can do anything for my friends. Especially if they’re not ready to hear it.  (And how can I know that?)  If I try to tell them they might well close up and say to themselves, who does she think she is?  What does she know about my life?

In what ways to you play the Victim or the Rescuer?