Victim identity: A cry for attention and love

 

For some of us, the victim identity can be very strong. The mind may even hold onto it as if it’s a matter of life and death.

Why is the need to hold onto something so painful so strong? What is the real need or wish within it? It must be something that our minds holds as very important. So important that it’s willing to create suffering for itself in the hopes of getting it.

To me, it seems that it comes from a deep need and wish for love and presence. For attention, understanding, comfort, love and presence. As long as that’s not met, the victim identification will continue to be fueled by the mind. In it’s trance, it may see it as the best or only way to get what it really needs and wants, which is that presence and love.

It works to some extent. When we go into victim identification, other people may give us some attention, understanding, and love. We may even have been trained by our parents that that’s how we get attention and love. And yet, it doesn’t really work. People may give it to us sometimes and not other times. And even if we get that presence and love from them, it’s not enough as long as we don’t give it to ourselves. We cannot truly take it in and experience it until we give it to ourselves.

So that’s the remedy. Our own presence and love is the remedy.

How do we give it to ourselves? There are a few different ways.

Natural rest. Notice and allow. Notice what’s here in experience and allow it. (Notice it’s already noticed and allowed.) Being present with it. This presence itself is a form of love.

Say “thank you for protecting me” to the part of us in pain. It’s here to protect us.

Say “I love you” to the part of us in pain. Say “you are allowed to be as you are”. Say “I am here with you and I love you”. Say “I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you.”. Say any one of these over and over until it becomes a felt experience.

Imagine ourselves, or the hurting part of us, sitting in front of us. Do tonglen. Visualize that person’s suffering as dark smoke and breathe it in on the inbreath. Breathe out light (love, presence) and into the other person on the outbreath. See the person light up. Repeat many times until you really and deeply feel it.

Examine stressful and painful stories and identities. Use inquiry. (The Work, Living Inquiries. Something else.) This is also a form of presence and love. It cannot be done if there isn’t presence. And it’s a loving attention and examination, which may also reveal love when the painful stories and identities are seen more clearly for what they are.

Take care of the body. Do something soothing. Take a bath. Eat nourishing food. Drink plenty of water. Go for a walk. Be in nature. Be kind to yourself. Do yoga, tai chi, chi gong, Breema, TRE. (All of which are forms of presence and love.)

These are all ways we can shift how we relate to those parts of ourselves in pain. If we suffer, it’s because we tend to avoid or try to push these parts away. They are like animals or children who are ignored, avoided, struggled with, or even bullied. No wonder they suffer and are in pain. No wonder they cry out for our presence and love.

When we meet them in presence and love, they feel seen and honored and can relax. This takes time. We need to stay with it for a while. We need to return to it frequently, especially if these parts of us are used to being ignored or struggled with. An animal or child whose needs have been neglected needs time to learn to trust and relax, and that’s how it also is with these parts of ourselves. Giving our presence and love means giving of our time.

As mentioned above, one way to meet them in presence and love is through inquiry. Inquiry is a form of love. The process of inquiry is a process of presence and kind attention. And the outcome is that we see that what we thought was so solid and real (and painful) may not really be so solid and real. What’s more real and true is also more kind.

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Why self-love?

 

I recently wrote a post about the how of self-love.

Then there is the why. Why self-love?

A simple answer is that it’s what we all want. We all want love. Usually, we seek it from someone else. Someone else loves us, so we allow ourselves to love ourselves. But this is a precarious project. We won’t always get it from someone else, or the person we want it from. And this type of love may and does go away. So why not go directly to the source? Why not skip the middle man? Why not give it to ourselves?

Natural rest and love

 

Natural rest is a form of love. It’s noticing and allowing. It’s the reverse of rejecting and pushing away. It’s an alignment with the allowing that’s already here. It’s allowing what’s here, as it is. Even what may seem uncomfortable. It’s a love for what’s here. It comes from love for what’s here (even if it’s just a little bit of love and curiosity), and helps us find love for what’s here.

Love for a being often takes the form of noticing and allowing. And love for myself, my experience as it is here and now, can also take the form of noticing and allowing.

Inquiry and love

 

I know this is not how inquiry is usually talked about, but it is my experience.

For me, inquiry is about love. Finding love for the sensations, images, and words that are here.

Finding love for this experience.

Finding love for who and what I am. (Which is this field of experience, as it is, here and now. Which is all there is.)

I look at images and words. Ask simple questions to help me see what’s really there. Feel sensations. Ask simple questions to help release words and images from them. And it’s all about love. Finding love for what’s here.

Revealing the love that’s already here, for what’s already here.

Even revealing what’s here as love.

Scared animal

 

I find it helpful to look at parts of me as an animal. Whether these parts are emotions, impulses, sensations, or the body.

Some of these animals have been rejected, pushed away, battled, wounded, and traumatized. Some of them have been rejected my whole life. They are scared.

So how would I relate to a scared animal? With kindness. Patience. Love. Respect.

Why not relate to these parts of me as if they were a scared animal? Why not relate to them with kindness. Patience. Love. Respect.

It may be especially challenging at first. It means going against an old habit, and one that society (for the most part) has taught us is the way to do it. It’s a bit like going into a jungle or zoo full of scared and wounded animals.

It may be helpful to start, and sometimes continue, with the guidance of certain practices, such as tonglen, loving kindness, ho’oponopono, and natural rest. (Natural rest is a form of love. It’s noticing and allowing. It’s the reverse of rejecting and pushing away. It’s an alignment with the allowing that’s already here.)

And it does change. It’s transformative. My inner world changes. The animals relax through this patient attention, presence, and love. There is a softening.

 

Scott Kiloby: You might also find a kind of deep self-love

 

People sometimes ask if the point of the Living Inquiries is to realize near the end of the inquiry that there is no inherent self. Well…that is one thing that can happen. But you might also find a kind of deep self-love when you stop using inquiry to change your experience. This paradox of no inherent self to be found and also a delicious loving of ourselves as we are in the moment never needs to be reconciled intellectually. It is just grokked in experience when we stop using inquiry to change ourselves and our experience and merely allow it all, asking simple questions along the way in a non-violent, loving, accepting way.

– Scott Kiloby

Self-love is very simple, and yet not always easy (to notice). It’s a love for what’s here, as it is. A simple, ordinary, quiet love for sensations, sounds, smell, taste, words, images that are here now, as they are.

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The simplest self-love

 

I see that what I seek from (some) others is love. And that I have a sense of not being filled up enough with love. So why not give it to myself?

I can visualize myself, or a suffering part of me, or my heart, and…..

I wish you love. I wish you ease. (Metta, loving kindness.)

Breathe in my suffering. Breathe out love and clarity to myself. (Tonglen.)

I love you. Please forgive me. I am sorry. (Ho’oponopono.)

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