"I'm a victim of domestic violence." That's one phrase you'll never hear emanating from my mouth. Even though I spent three years engaged to marry someone who verbally and physically abused me, I never once entertained the thought of myself as a victim. Perhaps it's because I define a victim as one without power. True, in some circumstances we are unprepared or momentarily ill-equipped to protect ourselves from the unexpected disturbances life presents us. Driving home from work along the same roads you've traversed for the past ten years you're suddenly broadsided by a drunk driver running a red light. Even with the deployment of the airbag and the seat belt securely anchoring you to the driver's seat, you suffer substantial injuries that forever alter the way in which you are able to function. I know of no one who would be so callous as to not see that individual as the victim of a dwi - with the possible exception of myself and perhaps a few others. Let me explain.
No matter how exemplary one has lived their life, no one is immune to life's surprises. Things happen - to all of us. Well, let me correct that: things happen for us. One if the major flaws of a victim mentality is that they believe they are being targeted, that for some unknown reason the forces of the universe are out to get them. They suffer from a condition I call PMS (no, not that PMS): Poor Me Syndrome. They feel sorry for themselves as though they are undeserving of the unfairness's the rest of the world must endure.
Victims tend to share certain characteristics:
o They believe they are or were powerless in the situation (the very definition of anger).
o They fail to see how the collective choices they've made in life brought them into their current situation.* They believe they are completely without responsibility.
o They were unfairly targeted.
o They use their position of victimhood to justify their prolonged anger.
o Being victimized garners sympathy and attention from others.
o Others support them when they seek justice and/or revenge.
o It excuses them from living fiercely and fully embracing life while relying on others to protect them from further harm.
Each of us is granted three universal attributes: intellect (the ability to gather information), free will (the right to make our own decisions) and choice (the application of free will). In the event I am ambushed by life, I choose to either graciously accept my experience and utilize it for my own good or to be held hostage to it.
The Dalai Lama says that there are no victims in life, only students. It is essential that we have certain experiences in order to fulfill our life's purpose. We have the option of seeing ourselves as a helpless victim or as a student of the experience. Although some events arrive wrapped in unpleasant and damage coverings, we all have the ability and responsibility to extract the contents and uncover the hidden value. In that way, whatever appears to be tragic can ultimately prove to be one of our greatest blessings.
So the choice is yours. Victimization exists only in the mind. Trust in the process of life; have faith in God. All is exactly as it must be for your higher good. Be at peace. You are not helpless - you have all the power you need within.
*I chose to attend a retreat that included my future abuser. I chose to engage in conversation with him. I chose to continue a friendship with him after the retreat ended. I chose to fall in love with him. I chose to stay even after the first red flags appeared. Personal choice after personal choice which ultimately lead to a dv relationship. In what way was I a victim?
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Janet Pfeiffer, international inspirational speaker and award-winning author has appeared on CNN, Lifetime, ABC News, The 700 Club, NBC News, Fox News, The Harvest Show, Celebration, TruTV and many others. Sheâ€™s been a guest on over 100 top radio shows (including Fox News Radio), is a contributor to Ebru Today TV and hosts her own radio show, Anger 911, on www.Anger911.net.
Janet's spoken at the United Nations, Notre Dame University, was a keynote speaker for the YWCA National Week Without Violence Campaign, and is a past board member for the World Addiction Foundation.
She's a former columnist for the Daily Record and contributing writer to Womanâ€™s World Magazine, Living Solo, Prime Woman Magazine, and N.J. Family. Her name has appeared in print more than 100 million times, including The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Alaska Business Monthly and more than 50 other publications.
A consultant to corporations including AT&T, U.S. Army, U.S. Postal Service, and Hoffman-LaRoche, Janet is N.J. State certified in domestic violence, an instructor at a battered women's shelter, and founder of The Antidote to Anger Group. She specializes in healing anger and conflict and creating inner peace and writes a weekly blog and bi-monthly newsletter.
Janet has authored 8 books, including the highly acclaimed The Secret Side of Anger (endorsed by NY Times bestselling author, Dr. Bernie Siegel).
Read what Marci Shimoff, New York Times bestselling author, says of Janet's latest book, The Great Truth; Shattering Life's Most Insidious Lies That Sabotage Your Happiness Along With the Revelation of Life's Sole Purpose:
"Janet dispels the lies and misconceptions many people have lived by and outlines a practical path to an extraordinary life beyond suffering. Written with honesty, clarity, sincerity, and humor, this book serves as a wonderful guide for anyone seeking a more enriching and fulfilling life.â€
Dr. Bernie Siegel says, "All books of wisdom are meant to be read more than once. The Great Truth is one such book."