Using the language of TED*, we have all been victimized at one time or another. And we all will again in the future. Essentially, it means that something has happened to us that we feel, at least in the moment, is unfair; something we don't want or like. Often it is what we call little 'v' victimizations such as an appointment runs late, losing a parking spot, long lines at the check out, flat tires, bad hair days or no paper in the printer. While annoying or upsetting, these don't usually escalate into drama.
Big 'V' victimizations are different. They are the extreme circumstances that deeply impact our lives and sometimes even who we are, leaving us feeling scarred and wounded. This could be the sudden loss of a job, the painful betrayal of a friend, the death of a loved one, a life-changing accident or the diagnosis of a serious illness. Most of us would say these are legitimate wounds and no-one should challenge us for feeling like a victim because we have the 'right' to feel hurt, sad, angry, frustrated or afraid. When something this serious has happened, after a period of time, someone may seem to others to be holding onto a Victim Orientation and not letting go or getting over the trauma. What I've learned is how important it is to recognize that someone with a 'legitimate wound' may not be ready for a shift until they have processed the event and done the necessary grieving.
Because I understand and strongly support the practice of shifting from a Victim Orientation to a Creator Orientation I've been using these tools myself as I navigate some big V experiences including the loss of two very close friends. After the initial shock and despair I noticed I was still finding myself overcome with random sadness and that I was indulging in self-sabotaging behaviours. (That is ALWAYS my first clue that something internal is out of alignment.) I wondered how I could use the TED* principles when clearly I was still stung by theses losses. I'm very good at using the Dynamic Tension formula to refocus on what I DO want and not what I don't. It wasn't working here because I kept going back to wanting them alive and well again.
With some beautiful insights from my coaches and colleagues I 'remembered' what to do that would best serve me. First up, I let myself acknowledge and feel whatever emotions came up without judgement. That was a big step. Next, I accepted that their passing was indeed my current reality. Not what I wanted; but certainly the truth. I then asked myself "Given that this is the situation and I cannot change it, how do I want to 'be' with this?" This was the powerful piece for me because then I could choose an empowered state of being. From there it was easy to establish baby steps ... and they really have been just little, wee, teeny weeny, baby steps that move me closer to being at peace.
Legitimate wounds don't give us permission to live in a Victim Orientation for the rest of our lives. They open a door for us to experience all aspects of human life and tap into our inner resilience in the face of trauma.
Ms. Daryl Wood is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a Certified TED* Practitioner and graduate of The Co-Active Leadership Program. After facilitating life-changing Women's Retreats for 17 years she is dedicated to sharing the The Empowerment Dynamic (TED*) material in organizations and to anyone eager to transform their relationship with themselves, others and situations.