Own inquiry on the victim

These are my notes on exploring how my mind creates its experience of the victim, using the Living Inquiries which is inspired by traditional Buddhist inquiry. I wrote it as I went along, in order to capture it more accurately.

EXPLORING HOW MY MIND CREATES ITS EXPERIENCE OF THE VICTIM

Where do you find the victim?

I see an image of myself sitting here, and I also notice some sensations.

Look at the image. Is that the victim?

Yes, it feels like it.

Feel those sensations.

Where do you feel it?

A tightness in my belly, chest, throat. In the front, the outer layer of my body.

Feel the sensations. Allow them to be as they are. Notice the space they happen within.

Yes. [some time] I notice they feel familiar.

What’s your earliest memory of having that feeling?

I have many glimpses from childhood, only a few clear ones. I think I must have felt it early in life, when my parents accused me of doing something I hadn’t, or when I didn’t get what I wanted, or felt treated unfairly.

Can you remember one instance?

I am in the living room, playing with lego (or toy cars). My mother is in the kitchen and drops something that breaks. She screams it’s my fault, even if I am just playing on my own in another room. I am maybe three years old.

Look at that image. Is that the victim?

Yes, it feels that way.

Feel those sensations. Notice where they are in the body. Allow them to be as they are. Notice the space they happen within.

I feel a soft contraction in the throat and solar plexus, and the other sensations are there too although a little less. [taking time with this]

It feels very familiar, from childhood. There is a sadness there.

I have the thought: I am unloved.

Keep feeling the sensation. Allowing. Noticing. Notice the space.

I have thoughts about my illness. That I am not getting better. It’s connected with the victim feeling.

Feel the sensations. Where do you notice it now?

A sharper feeling in the throat, as if close to crying. A duller dense feeling in the solar plexus. And some contraction on the surface from forehead and down through the belly.

Allow it as it is. See how it is to welcome it.

[To the sensations] You are welcome here. I love you.

[some time]

Are those sensations the victim?

No, they are sensations.

Where do you find the victim now?

I see an image of me sitting here, and it feels like a victim.

Feel the sensations.

[some time]

If they could speak, what would they say?

Help me. I need help. I am scared. Small. Unloved.

Do you see or hear those words?

I hear them.

Listen to the words. […] Are they the victim?

Yes, they feel like the victim. I feel more sensations in the face and head when I listen to the words.

See how it is to feel those sensations.

[some time]

What do those sensations need from you? What do they wish from you?

They want me to feel them, help them feel safe. They want me to be a safe harbor for them.

How is it to be a safe harbor for them? Can you do it now?

It feels good. I am giving to myself what I wished from others when I was a child.

I see an image of a kind of “center of gravity” shifting from outside of me, and in particular my mother in the situation from earlier, into myself. It’s a center of attention or focus for wanting. I feel more viscerally that I can give to myself what I have wanted from others, and that my focus for looking for it shifts into myself.

Good. Keep seeing how it is to be a safe harbor for whatever sensations are there – the head, throat, solar plexus, belly, any other place.

[some time]

It feels good. It’s what these parts of me want. It’s what I – and the scared parts of me – need. It feels good to see that I can be that safe harbor. I don’t need to depend on it from outside of me. I am the only one in the perfect position to give these parts of me what they long for and need. I am the only one right here and always here.

I notice I feel some sadness that I didn’t do this sooner. That I didn’t learn this as child. A lot could have been different if it had become a habit early in life.

See how it is to feel and allow the sadness.

[some time] I feel it in my throat and as a heavy ball in the solar plexus.

See how it is to be a safe harbor for those sensations.

[some time]

Where do you find the victim now?

I feel it in my belly.

See how it is to feel those sensations. Allow. Notice the space.

[some time]

See how it is to be a safe harbor for those sensations.

[some time]

[small break]

Where do you find the victim?

The sensations feel like sensations, not a victim.

The image of me sitting here is an image.

[some time]

I notice I still can go into the sensations and generate a feeling of victim.

That’s a good noticing. What happens when you do?

I have to combine the sensations, mostly in my belly, with images and old stories. Having CFS makes me into a victim. Losing a previous relationship made me into a victim. Losing most of what I owned made me into a victim. Losing my prospects – in education and work – made me into a victim. Having less money than some others make me into a victim. Growing up with well-meaning but hapless parents (when it comes to helping me feel loved and safe) makes me a victim.

When I do this, I connect with the feeling of being a victim again.

Notice how it happens when you combine sensations and images.

Yes.

Imagine taking all the images from the stories you just mentioned, and put them up on a wall, as a collage. Look at that image of a collage. Is that a victim?

Yes, it does feel that way. It’s somehow connected with the feeling in my belly. This feeling is more in the whole of the belly now, including inside and the center.

See how it is to feel those sensations, allow. See how it is to be a safe harbor for the sensations.

[some time] I notice fear. A scared feeling in the belly. Helpless. Wanting help. Unloved. Wishing for love.

What does it mean to be a safe harbor in this situation, in relation to those sensations?

I can give it what it needs. It feels good.

I notice I am scared I won’t always be able to do it in the future.

You can do it now?

Yes.

What would be required for you to do it in another situation?

I need a reminder. Perhaps some support in doing it.

How can you find that reminder? And the support?

I have a couple of people in my life I can ask. They can remind me.

I can remind myself.

Is that sufficient?

Yes, in most situations. Sometimes, I may need someone to sit with me.

Can you ask someone to sit with you?

Yes.

Will you?

Yes, I have in the past. I can do it again.

What’s happening now? What do you notice?

I notice a contraction in the solar plexus and some sharp sensations there. I also notice a soft and heavy(ish) ball in the belly. And some sensations in the throat.

See how it is to notice and allow those sensations. See how it is to be a safe harbor for the sensations.

[some time]

Listen to the words: Help me. I need help. I am scared. Small. Unloved.

What happens when you hear those words?

The sharp sensation in the solar plexus becomes stronger.

[spontaneous therapeutic tremoring and shaking]

[followed by spontaneous stretching and yawning]

What do you notice now?

I mostly notice the contraction in solar plexus.

What would it say if it could speak?

Huuuuuuuu [low tone]

And if it had words?

Thank you for helping me. It’s not easy being me. I need your help, as you are giving it to me now.

Listen to the words: Help me. I need help. I am scared. Small. Unloved.

Are those words the victim?

Yes, they slightly feel like it.

Where do you feel it?

[more spontaneous therapeutic tremoring and shaking, mostly upper body but through the whole body]

What do you notice now?

More spaciousness. A small contraction in solar plexus.

See how it is to feel and allow those sensations, and be a safe harbor for the sensations.

[more tremoring and shaking, first upper and whole body and then hip area]

[brief break]

This feels like a good place to end for now. I plan on continuing to explore this and how the victim-victimizer dynamic is represented and functions in me.

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