Clients sometimes use check ins to talk about a difficult situation has arisen between sessions. While it is useful to understand what is happening, and it can at times be appropriate, this is often a situation where the inner victim attempts to take control.
The inner victim is not in itself bad. It is useful sometimes - it allows you to get help and resources, for example if you have an accident or something unexpected happens and you need some time out to process it. Its remit is for one off incidents.
The problem comes when there is an ongoing situation that requires action that the inner victim would never consider - for example, creating stronger boundaries, saying no to manipulators, taking emotional risks.
It often takes time for the client to deal directly with the issue. This in itself is not always a problem - often the action feels too scary/risky, and more work with Superconscious and other coaching is needed.
However, what I have seen that is common (both in coaching sessions and in life generally) is the inner victim jumping in and attempting to solve the pain of the overwhelming situation.
This is where the victim offloading happens.
It is characterised by the framing of an event happening TO the speaker. There is lots of detail about what was done or said by the other person, who is framed as the villain. It is important to the speaker to describe their reaction.
I have never experienced a single person in my work or social life doing this and then feeling released and empowered. The reason is that the inner victim has no belief in their own ability to change. They are 100% about securing help and resources from other people, even if it is just empathy. The inner victim hopes that offloading the pain will do this, but it never works.
Understand that anything external the inner victim can organise feels very safe, because Cavebrain believes that the tribe is saving them AND showing them deep acceptance. No wonder victim offloading feels so tempting!
If you feel an urge to victim offload, I want you to do the following:
#1 Describe what happened as briefly as possible. The fewer he said she said then I said details the better. That is your inner victim seeking yelling for help.
#2 Then finish this sentence "My inner victim wants….." This allows you to vent your pain without being taken over by your inner victim.
#3 Now finish the sentence: "If I ruled the world, the one thing I would do right now is…" This can be as silly as you like (eg teleport them to another continent) . This allows you some agency and hopefully some humour !
#4 Finish the sentence: "If this were a film or a story of my hero/ine's journey, I think this incident was included because..." This is my favourite reframe question.
#5 Next, finish the sentence "One thing my inner adventurer CAN do today is…." You may not be able to find anything, but just starting that sentence is enormously helpful. Here are some suggestions
- Game out different paths to take from this point. Using your imagination, you may open up some future avenues that you had not thought of
- Message saying "I need some time out". If you have joint commitments eg kids at home, then do something that upsets the routine eg take the kids out for food instead of eat together.
- Prepare a short sentence to say eg "I have serious doubts about X. We should talk about it".
- I found that as my marriage was collapsing, a much better MO was low energy dejection as opposed to high energy victim reactivity
We can discuss in sessions other more relevant actions you can take if these do not seem to hit the spot.
Victim filtering is a brave and beautiful act that most people never even consider. Well done for diving in!