The power of the victim

About a Conversation with Dorothy Stern Kucha and Heidi Hornlein

Dealing with Red: The Power of the Victims

No doubt, bad things happen in the world and people become victims of events they didn’t necessarily have any control of. At the same time when something terrible happens to someone the fellow human beings more often than not are inclined to help and support them. This is a natural human response to dramatic situations. We can observe it after natural catastrophes like earthquakes, but also after accidents and similar occasions. In other situations, like when meeting drunk people in a park or stopping for a tire problem in a lonely road, we are less likely to offer our help due to bad experiences or fear of encountering them. These situations arouse an inner conflict in healthy humans between their desire to help and the fear of possible negative consequences. It is not an easy decision for most of us, unless we have already killed our inner voices of human compassion.

It is one thing when desiring to help a person in trouble, the pressure on us that we HAVE to do it is another thing. How often we feel to be pushed into doing things which, deep in our heart, we know we shouldn’t do or don’t want to do – and still we do them, in all areas of our lives, from personal relationships to the workplace, on the road or in nature.

An example, I think it is a good thing to call our elderly parents regularly to reassure them that we are there for them. Even if you perceive it as a burden, you certainly can find the right amount of engagement which is ok for both parts: it helps the parents and keeps your capacity to care alive. When your mother happens to pretend that you have to take care for her whenever she wants, that you cannot stay somewhere else because she would suffer and – in worse cases – falls ill to force you to come back with her: that certainly is not what I am talking about. This is the case of abuse of her power over you and you need to set healthy boundaries despite the fact that it doesn’t feel good to tell her that you refuse to fall prey to her blackmail. And, o boy, that is not easy at all for a sensitive person!

I personally have a long story of not setting good boundaries at the right time, of trying to avoid the conflict and then suffer of the oppressing situation into which I gradually stumble. There are certainly many reasons for that, no doubt, but that is not really important. What is important is to develop the recognition of the structure of the situations, to recognize the type of person clearly who we encounter and try to have a relationship with and to trust the many signs along the way instead of shutting the eyes when these signs appear, in the hope that everything will magically work out, somehow. And, after all, I need to not be blinded by the desire to help when expecting some reciprocity and recognition for what I do and offer. That is the trap for me: expecting in people that natural inclination to collaborate which I always felt in my life. Maybe because we were a numerous family?

I have created my Paradiso Integrale in Italy in 30 years of extreme effort, financially and hands on work, I love the place and what has become of it and I love to share the beauty here with others. I have a few holiday guests, but most of the year the many rooms and apartments are empty. So I offered one apartment to a friend to stay with her family over the winter, just for a contribution, the permanent costs and consumption of resources. I was in quite a bad shape in that winter, still trying to come to terms with the death of my beloved. So I let them be on their own most of the time and rarely asked for help for things which I couldn’t do alone. That was ok, so far.

Then I entered fully into the role of the victim of the victim: She had all sorts of symptoms and it was all due to my property, this was not right and that was not right and I was to blame for not having done better. She is the victim of her childhood experience, she needs special treatment, even reconstructing the wall in my house she would have expected, where years ago there had been a tap problem where the water ran down along the chimney to the lower floor. Reconstruct the house for her needs? Nobody ever had noticed anything after the walls have thoroughly dried out during many hot Italian summers! It seemed absolutely absurd to me to pretend that she actually would mean that, believing to be the victim and everybody needed to accommodate her wishes.
And so it went, all the time, no appreciation of the beauty, of what I had created, of the many venues they could use for free, and even my car was used for half a year after the initial attempt to rent or buy a car – which, naturally, was much more expensive than just use mine – and I really didn’t like to have others drive my car, too much risk connected with that in case of accidents or fines. Even more, my professional help was requested which I really didn’t feel to offer freely in the same way as I did the year before when she was here on different terms.

There are more crazy details, but that should be enough to explain how inappropriate I have responded. I listened to all the complaints, requests and interpretations, from my understanding of her special situation as “the victim” – and I didn’t stand up to my reality. This is a sort of psychological power which I was well aware of but which I chose not to address. The agreement was for half year, I knew they would be gone sooner or later and I held myself bound to the agreement – and i felt also for them: where would they go, three of them, and find a place to stay for as little money as here? And a clash would be unavoidable!

The trap for me is: I am overly faithful to a promise or agreement which I have taken in the past and I don’t leave the situation even if it becomes unbearable for me. Probably that started in my family of origin, but certainly in my first marriage and, even more so, in my second marriage. In both cases I felt the obligation of being there for the other and his problems, even if it works against my interests and health. Staying too long in unbearable situation seems also to be a main characteristic of the people of Enneatype 4!
Once, many years ago, an Astrologist had predicted cancer if I wouldn’t take care for myself! – and the cancer arrived during my second marriage!
So what happened to me lately is just a continuation of a lifelong pattern. I have been doing a lot in the past to break through the old conditionings, but I was reminded: it is not enough (which is another pattern of mine, hahaha! – as well as “I am alone”)

This time I broke the “I am alone” pattern by welcoming the offer of Dorothy to talk with me and support me in coming to terms with my situation. I am very grateful for that.

If you are interested in the unfolding of how she supported me, watch the video and let me know if you know similar situations and how you handle them. Don’t hesitate to contact me for a chat on how to break the power of the victim, inside of us and in form of others who come along our way.

Resources: What is the RED stage of development?