“Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim–letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.”
Observation in life has presented two significant types of victims to me…
Thriving Souls and Serial Victims
There are victims of many horrible situations, natural disasters, accidents, abuse, crime and violence. The difference between the two types above is what happens after an event that defines a person’s character and most likely their success in life.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe there are difficult moments for everyone, no matter whom you are. Moments when it is important to release and when tears or grief are appropriate and justified. Everyone has times of pain, shock, horror, grief and sadness. It is when that shock, horror, grief or sadness turns into a life-long pattern of repetitive sympathy and blame that it becomes self destructive.
So what are the differences between a Thriving Soul and a Serial Victim?
- Rebuild, reinvent, move forward, learn and grow such as a child abused who moves on to show the world what success really looks like
- Attend counseling long enough so that they find peace and resolve to let the event live in the past
- Forgive and understand others with strength and courage like the mother who forgives the killer of her own son
- Exhibit resilience and tenacity in creating their own life
- Turn the experience into positive actions forward
- Are accepting that life is a series of hits, misses and falls that accompany the beauty, growth and love life has to offer
- Know there are no ‘special happy folks’ who are without problems
- Know that moving forward is hard work
- Understand moving forward does not mean running away
- Take full responsibility for their own actions and success
- See events through the eyes and vantage points of others
- Accept life and choose to use their energy for productive purpose
- Learn from, support others and create proactive ways of helping solve issues as in the example of the victim of a drunk driver whose mother also died as the result of a drunk driver and who now educates others on the impact
- Recognize and see beauty and love in almost every event
- Are creative masters of their own happiness using a positive approach to life
- Find everyday life events difficult to deal with
- Struggle with long-term relationships
- Appear to suffer when they don’t get their own way (and make others suffer with them)
- Relive the event in story form over and over with as many people as possible, bring their past into their present
- Blame everyone else for all or most of their problems,( nothing is ever their fault)
- Fly into tantrums or rage at neutral events which could easily be handled calmly
- Invent what the intentions of others are – in order to hang onto a victim mentality
- Seek sympathy or attention in an effort to get what they want
- Tread water in self pity
- Choose hatred or resentment in place of dealing with people or situations
- Frequently run away from jobs, relationships and situations calling it “moving on” but always bringing their victim story with them
- Live in a constant state of drama > blamed on others
- Need to be ‘saved’ repeatedly from situations they get themselves into
- See events only with their own interpretation refusing to hear or believe another viewpoint
- Lack empathy for the feelings of others and can be more emotionally abusive than their alleged abusers
- Believe people are out to get them, hurt them, cause them pain
- Live in anger when forced to live with the consequences of their actions rather than change their own behaviour
- Embellish events or mislead others with false facts or details
- Will have their own idea of what forgiveness looks like and want to hold you to it (I recently read this post… Forgiveness: 7 Things It’s NOT! A great list for reference)
It is the Thriving Soul who teaches us how to live life. None of us are targets for miserable unless we choose to make it so and there is no happiness outside of the things we choose to be happy about ourselves.
Being a Thriving Soul is hard work
Being responsible for one’s own actions, (seeing events from the viewpoint of another, learning to grow and evolve and accept that life will be difficult) is not the easy path. But if life were easy, we would probably not have the amazing progress we have in medicine, human understanding and comfortable living. If not challenged, we would rarely reach or stretch or seek better, stronger or more beautiful solutions, we wouldn’t need to.
“You are responsible for your life. You can’t keep blaming somebody else for your dysfunction. Life is really about moving on.” ~Oprah Winfrey
I have made a choice to exclude serial victims from my life and learn from those Thriving Souls who know what love and life is all about. It is my hope that I choose that positive approach, that I do the hard work of expending my energy toward taking responsibility for my actions and choices; owning and creating my life and owning it when things go wrong.
Do you know a Thriving Soul or a Serial Victim?
Patti Blackstaffe works with people and organizations to develop Happy Workplaces world-wide guiding them toward mastery and leadership through advising, coaching, speaking, and delivering training.
You can contact Patti at 403-201-8512 | email her at firstname.lastname@example.org | visit her speaking page at http://pattiblackstaffe.com