Worship Materials: Moving Beyond the Victim Mentality

From the Celebrating Mystery collection

Healthy and Unhealthy Use of Power

THOUGHTS FOR REFLECTION    

  1. The superior/inferior relationship which produces the victim mentality does violence to both parties.
  2. In dependency, power is not under my control.
    In independency, I claim the power.
    In inter-dependency, we share-power without in any way diminishing what is ours.
  3. Nothing liberates the human spirit as much as viewing past experience in the light of eternity.
  4. I am my prime responsibility. I need to feel comfortable with being myself.
  5. What you are seeking lies within you. No one can give it to you. All you have to do is to own it.
  6. Before we can love another person, we have to learn to love ourselves.
  7. It is much easier to love yourself if you believe that God (the Cosmos) accepts you unconditionally.
  8. There is no greater pain than not being able to be yourself.
  9. To give help without also being willing to receive it in return, can ultimately be destructive for both the giver and the receiver.
  10. Shared power is the instrument of life. Stolen power is the instrument of death.
  11. Interfering adults can be a major obstacle to children’s growth. So, why should we expect God, the Good Parent, to interfere in our lives in this way?
  12. The wounded child sees itself as a victim. The nurtured child sees itself as a dancing partner.
  13. The truly strong person does not deny their vulnerability but utilizes it as a door into compassion.
  14. I need not be a prisoner to the emotions and patterns of thought which resulted from my childhood, if I am prepared to undertake the often painful task of lovingly reshaping my thinking.
  15. To cuddle your wounded inner child is to be kind to yourself in a transforming way.
  16. To be alienated from one’s own power is to allow oneself to become a slave of others, a dependent child.
  17. We are called to move beyond a success/failure mentality, a victor/vanquished mentality, to a being mentality where we focus on the inner journey, not the outer manifestations.
  18. If you love life and enjoy being yourself, any other love is a bonus. If you don’t love life and don’t enjoy being yourself, any other love is a substitute.
  19. Like our images of God and our images of other people, our image of ourselves can either enhance or destroy our perception of mystery.
  20. The phrase in the Lord’s Prayer “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” could be paraphrased “Release us from those who control us as we release those whom we control.”
  21. The desire to possess is the enemy of true love.
  22. In each person there is a mystic, prophet and artist waiting to be liberated.
  23. The secret of wholeness is to immerse your wounds in the river of love and then to discover that you are more than your history.
  24. Inner strength without tenderness produces oppressors. Tenderness without inner strength produces victims.
  25. Those who seek to dominate loose their links with other people, with nature and with their own inner tenderness. Jesus said “love one another.”

 

PRAYERS

1.  Teach us, O God,
to love ourselves,
to love others
and to accept their love for us as a gift from you.

2.  O God, when my Inner Child languishes in dependency, may my Inner Warrior give it support and help it know its own strength.
When my Inner Warrior stands by itself and only for itself,
help it to embrace the vulnerability of the Inner Child,
that both may dance within the circle of love.

3.  O God, give me gentle strength that I may neither overpower other people, nor allow them to overpower me.

 

HYMNS                               

Amid the many thoughts. (BL)

Not in grasping or in holding. (BL)

We are always part of the other. (BL)

When I pray to you for help, O God. (BL)

Repaying force. (BL)

If passion urges us. (BL)

“Weep not, weep not for me”. (BL)

 

O help us most loving and life-giving God.

www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/boundlesslife

No outcasts were condemned by Christ.

www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/boundlesslife

No one takes my life away.

http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

At the start of life’s great journey.

http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

 

The Way of Life.

As we give we shall receive.

Carol my heart, carol myself.

Singing the Sacred Vol 1 2011 World Library Publications

 

 

POEMS / REFLECTIONS

 

AN ADULT RELATIONSHIP

When my I AM is in touch with your I AM, we are one with

I AM everywhere. However, I am not even in touch with my own I AM,

let alone yours, when I seek to be at one with you because I need

your body, your mind, your wealth or your power to bolster my ego;

in other words to be your parent or your child.

 

O SELF THAT IS LESSER

O Self that is lesser

I relinquish you

and allow myself

to be embraced

by Self that is greater;

Self that is not self contained

but universally connected

to all people, all life,

all matter, all energy,

all love

and in that oneness find

my true distinctiveness,

my worth as part of a whole

of infinite complexity.

 

WHATEVER HAPPENS

“Whatever happens is alright”, is an unhelpful belief if it leads to fatalism, passivity or an abandonment of our responsibility and power to a paternalistic deity or human being. But it is healthy if it arises out of a point of stillness which enables us to focus and develop creative and healing possibilities contained within any situation no matter how unjust, tragic or destructive it may appear to be. To do this is to avoid allowing oneself either to be a passive or an unfocused, struggling victim of the situation.

 

FEAR OF THE MYSTIC AND THE PROPHET

To those who are in a dependency relationship with institutional religion or whose occupation depends on bringing people into and maintaining them in such a relationship the mystics and the prophets pose the ultimate threat. The mystics are essentially not dependent upon preaching, sacraments or devotional or theological systems nor upon priests, ministers, pastors or any other form of hierarchy for their entry into the mystery. The prophets having entered into the mystery of the future which is contained within the present moment have gained freedom from manmade systems and have gained awareness of how power is exercised and how its misuse can lead to tragic consequences in the future. Both the prophet and the mystic have the ability to unmask the unreal, laugh at the pretentious and expose the manipulations of the oppressors. The only action that the establishment understands as a way of coping with this threat is to either physically or psychologically marginalize the prophets and mystics, failing to realize that the real action is everywhere since divinity can never be confined to one time or place.

 

LIBERATION

Liberation comes through

  1. Awareness of the Heroes and Monsters who live within us and outside us,
  2. Loving transformation of the destructive powers within us,
  3. Combining with others to transform or dismantle unjust structures in society,
  4. Being empowered by appropriate celebration and sharing of our stories. (Through listening and articulation we receive confirmation of the common spirituality that lies behind the plethora of religious experiences and expressions.)

 

REPETITION?

When we look back long enough

Or out wide enough

We see our eyes, our shape of head,

Our facial asymmetry etc, etc

Repeated

In ancestors long dead

Or relatives far removed.

There is not much we can do about this

Unless we have a large bank balance and

A good cosmetic surgeon!

However, patterns of behavior are another matter.

Reluctant as we are to admit it

We are to some extent psychological clones

Of our parents and their approvals and condemnations,

Their ‘do this’ ‘don’t do that’,

‘naughty boy’, ‘naughty girl’,

‘good boy’, ‘good girl’.

But more than that we have learnt their mind games,

Their masks,

Their hates and fears,

Their ways of affirming or denying life.

Whether we copy or react they will continue to control our lives

Unless we dare –

Dare to compare

Our behavior with theirs,

Our deviousness, our forthrightness,

Our depression and elation.

Unless we dare

To say ‘I am in control of my own mind,

I don’t want to be a clone,

I want to be the most mature me that I can be.’

This road is not easy

But it is the only way

To fullness of life,

To the mind that was in Christ,

And to honor our ancestors

Rather than blindly reenacting their lives.

 

 

THE GOOD SHEPHERD

Dependence       – You are my shepherd, I can’t live without you.

Independence    – I do not need a shepherd or anyone else.

Inter-dependence – We are all shepherds for each other, we need to share.

 

FOCUS FOR ACTION

  1. We treat people as victims when we attempt to modify their behavior, especially when we remind them of all their imperfections.
    In so doing we increase their sense of guilt.
    We empower people when we share with them in the process of gaining liberation from guilt, from perfectionism and from low self-esteem. In so doing we empower them to change their behavior of their own volition. This process also involves tackling our alienation from our own spirituality, our own bodies and from Creation as a whole.
    It is therefore appropriate to ask the following questions:
    Of all the people I know who is most in need of being affirmed?
    Is there any way to draw their attention to their strengths?
  1. Another way of describing the victim mentality is to speak of the Colonizer and the Nurturer.
    The Colonizer operates with a superior/inferior mindset.
    In a one way effort to change other people they attempt to bring morality to the immoral, civilization to the uncivilized, culture to the uncultured, wisdom to the ignorant, God to the godless, Christianity to the heathen, spirituality to the unspiritual.
    The Colonizer worships God the colonizer and breaks in the land.
    The Nurturer operates within two way relationships, a relationship between equals, a relationship of power sharing.
    The nurturing relationship involves sharing riches of culture, morality and spirituality. It is peaceful and leads to both nurturing and being nurtured by the land. It is the relationship of unity.
    The Nurturer worships God the nurturer.
    In each of us there is both a colonizer and a nurturer.
    Can I identify which is predominantly operating in the different relationships in my life?
  1. Do you agree with the statement that to the extent the Church depends upon people being dependent, it is unable to liberate them from dependency?
  2. The second temptation of Christ (Matthew 4:5) was to rely on divine intervention rather than using his own power of common sense.
    Are there occasions when we pray for divine intervention instead of using our own power?

Celebrating Mystery Logo

LOGO NOTE: At the heart of the mystery all the separate boxes disappear and all is one, all is love

Text and graphic © William Livingstone Wallace but available for free use.

 

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