Workbook Victim Cultivating Compassion Class why you hurt as you hurt. Instead, you decide to stay in

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  • The Victim: Cultivating Compassion

    Class Workbook

    With Stacey Couch

    Certified Archetypal Consultant

  • Exercise 1: The Shadow Victim and Victimizer How does your shadow victim respond to a physical threat versus a verbal attack? Fight, flight or freeze? Are you good or bad at setting boundaries? Give recent examples of a time you failed to set appropriate boundaries and a time when you did a good job setting boundaries. How much energy do you spend trying to communicate your boundaries? After listening to the section about energetic boundaries, how do you feel about your ability to set energetic boundaries? Is this confusing or straightforward? How much time and energy do you spend trying to set energetic boundaries?

  • Exercise 2: Your Rulebook Write 10 rules you expect the people in your life to abide by. How do you expect them to behave, treat you, and treat the people you love? What do you consider to be respectful behavior? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

  • Who has broken your rules recently, and which rules have been broken? How are you trying to punish him/her for breaking those rules? Some examples are: lashing out, shaming, teasing, freezing them out, being critical, disengaging, and being condescending. Also, consider passive-aggressive behavior: saying things under your breath, making small jabs, pretending you didn’t hear them, and forgetting to do something important to them. What arguments and methods are you using to convince him/her to follow your rules in the future?

  • Exercise 3: Victim in the Building Metaphor Read carefully through aspects on the ground floor. Mark the statements below that ring true in a recent conflict when you weren’t on your best behavior, and the shadow victim had ahold of you. When someone hurt me I…

    • Gave myself free license to blame the other person for my unhappiness. • Named someone as the perpetrator and saw myself as the victim. • Required my friends and family to take my side. • Called the perpetrator out and attacked her/him for what she/he’d done. • Tried to get others to hear my case and join my side. • Tried to force the perpetrator to apologize and swear never to do it again. • Believed it was my right to punish him/her when he/she wouldn’t apologize. • Left the relationship to avert further offense. • Felt like I’d done nothing wrong and that it was unfair.

    Are there some behaviors that you recognized previously and have worked to change over the years? What shadow behaviors do you still revert to that you’d like to release?

  • Read through these summaries of the four stages of the victim in the light. Can you identify what stage you are in right now? You may be at different stages in different areas of your life. For example, in a conflict at work, you may be in the first stage, trying to figure out what the argument is really about. In a romantic relationship, you may be at the second stage, digging through each other’s pasts to figure out the root cause of the hurt. With a dear friend, you might be at the third stage and able to see how everyone is to blame, and no one is to blame while staying in the present moment. In your meditations, you may touch the endless compassion of the fourth stage. Stage 1: You ask yourself, “What is this REALLY about?” In this stage, you look for something/someone else in your or their lives to blame. You tell yourself, “It’s not about me” or “It’s not about them,” and dismiss the offense as unimportant. You shift focus to something they need to work on or something you need to address. One party looks weak, emotional, or unaware. Your compassion for the other person and yourself awakens as pity. What have you decided this is really about? Are you willing to drop this story?

  • Stage 2: You say to yourself, “This is not about what’s going on right now.” You search in the past for the root cause of the trauma and assume that one or the other of you is carrying old trauma.. You decide that it’s not about you, it’s about the other person’s past, OR you determine that it’s something from your past you still need to heal. This is the amateur psychologist trying to psychoanalyze the situation. Your compassion for the other person can deepen as you see a lifelong trauma emerge. However, by feeling sorry for them, you see them as wounded and “less than” which is victimizing. What is the root cause you’ve identified? Are you willing to question this narrative and let it go?

  • Stage 3: You realize, “Everyone is to blame, and no one is to blame.” The situation is multi-dimensional. Many factors played into why they attacked you and why you were hurt. You give up making up a story about why they did what they did or why you hurt as you hurt. Instead, you decide to stay in the present moment. You decide no one is wrong or less-than, and your intention is to move from hurt to kindness. The desire for forgiveness comes fully on board here. You find that the pain doesn’t crowd out the joy, happiness, and love you have in other areas of your life. You commit to being more conscientious in your relationships. Use this space to describe the healthy way you are navigating this situation.

  • Stage 4: Compassion is in the driver’s seat. The pain evokes a healing flood of compassion for yourself and the other person. There is no need for reasons or a story. You naturally embody acts of forgiveness and rest in full belief that forgiveness will heal the conflict. You have complete freedom to feel joy, relaxation, happiness - all the emotions and experiences your life has to offer. You want to invite the other person for tea and befriend them. You follow your intuition. Sometimes the right thing is to distance yourself, and, other times, it’s to engage. Sometimes you talk, other times you listen, and sometimes you just move on. What is the compassionate course of action you are taking?

  • Exercise 4: Where are You Saying, “No” Think of an example when you told someone, “No.” What can’t they do? Do you ever do what they are doing? Where do you lock yourself out? What emotions, thoughts, energies are you resisting? What are you telling yourself is not okay? Can you allow these feelings, thoughts, or energies to be for a time? What if you imagined that they belonged? What might their message be?

  • Exercise 5: Forgiveness After listening to the steps on forgiveness, plan how you will use each of these in a current conflict.

    1. Step Back

    2. Be Mindful

    3. Abstain from Punishing

    4. Let in Compassion

    5. Pray for the Grace of Forgiveness

  • Study and reflect upon this prayer by St. Francis. Can you truly embrace the promise to sow pardon where there is injury? Have you had the experience of being pardoned when you pardon someone else? Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi “Lord make me an instrument of Your peace. where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is darkness, light; where there is despair, hope; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love, For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”

  • Exercise 6: Self-Esteem to Fortitude How do you build your self-esteem? When/where do you base it on outside factors, beyond your control, and when/where do you build self-esteem from within? How has this changed throughout your life? Where do you run into trouble deciding how much self-esteem is the right amount? Prayer for the Grace of Fortitude (from Defy Gravity by Caroline Myss) “I ask for the grace of Fortitude to keep me steady in times of chaos and uncertainty. It is easy to be seduced into fear, and once fear gets hold of my thinking, it is difficult to break free of its influence. It is, as Teresa of Avila described it, a reptile in my interior castle. I ask that this grace keep me alert and surround me like a castle wall with a field of grace powerful enough to help me stay centered, whether in the privacy of my own thoughts or in my interactions with others. Let fear never take command of my thoughts, my heart, my actions, or my soul.”

  • Exercise 7: Self-Compassion Self-Kindness Letter Write a letter to yourself from a friend saying everything you wish she would say about a struggle you’re experiencing. (It is helpful to have a specific person in mind). What help would she intuitively offer you without you asking? How could she anticipate what would be best for you at this time? What would you like her to say about what you’re going through? What would the perfect words be? How much of what you want from your friend are you