Transforming Bad News

Michael Neill’s recent newsletter got my attention.  Not just because I’m a fan of both Michael and Katie, but also because I, too, regularly encourage people to find a perspective that feels better.
Often clients hear that request (to find a better feeling perspective) as instruction to “deny reality.”  But the truth is that there’s no such thing as black and white “reality.”  All there is is our perspective of the world, which is what creates our “truth.”
If we find a different angle from which to view the world, we can find a better way to feel about it.  And that changes everything.
Here’s the story Michael shared while making the case for purposely shifting from victim role to creator role (which is how we transform “bad news”): 

The other day a client I’ll call Dale said to me “Can you believe what’s going on with the economic stimulus package?”
When I said I could, he said “I mean, it’s like both sides are putting scoring political points ahead of taking care of the country.”
After nodding my head in agreement to this and a few more statements like it, I finally asked him what it was about the possible accuracy of his observation that was causing him to act like a victim of it.
“What do you mean?” he asked. “Are you implying that I’m NOT a victim of this? After all, I didn’t create this – I don’t even have a mortgage. But my business is still suffering for it. If anyone’s a victim of this economy it’s me!”
I then told him a story about the foibles of living in a victim culture.
A few years back, Byron Katie was a guest on a show I was hosting. As she likes to do, rather than be interviewed she chose to work with callers. The first woman who called in unfolded her story hesitantly, and it was a horrific one. She had been kept in a cage as a child, and was subject to many of the things you would expect someone who was kept in a cage to have been subject to.
After about ten minutes with Katie, this woman had found a peace with her childhood experience that had eluded her for nearly thirty years. While as a child she had been an innocent victim, as an adult she was able to let go of that victim status and reclaim her rightful place as the creator of her experience and the owner of her life. And then, much to my surprise, the phone calls started coming. Rather than congratulate Katie on the awesome shift she had been able to facilitate in this woman, person after person (some of them proudly declaring themselves as therapists and counselors) denounced Katie for “making it OK” for this woman to be free of the past she had carried with her for most of her life. 
What this story points to is both our cultural tendency to see ourselves as victims (and in so doing create a world filled with villains and heroes), and the potential any one of us has IN ANY MOMENT to make different choices and create a completely different experience of being alive.
The minute you make the shift from victim to creator, what’s happening in the world stops being bad news (or even good news) and becomes instead simply information – information you can use to make informed decisions about what you want to create moving forward.

I think three things are important here:

  1. to become aware when we’re in victim mode,
  2. to ask ourselves what payoff, if any, we get from that role (so we can release it) and
  3. to develop skills of neutralizing “bad news” in order to align vibrationally to what we say we want.

This post is long enough, so I’ll leave it at that for now.  Thanks to Michael for sharing such valuable insight, and as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.  🙂

  • February 9, 2009
  • EL says:

    I ADORE this subject Jeannette! I also love the way you write.
    I was sexually, mentally and physically abused all through my childhood untill I was 14 and left home. I was a victim of that for many year after the abuse had ceased. I didn’t realize I had a choice.
    I was on a path of self improvement around age 18 and positive thinking was on my constant “to do” list. I hadn’t discovered Law of Attraction yet, but I knew there was something profound hidden inside positive thinking and forgiveness.
    One day it just hit me. I was abused THEN… not NOW. Now I am here and happy and growing and joyful. Why should I let THEN affect me NOW? Not to meantion, if I hate him… he won’t care… only I will feel that awful feeling of hate and resentment… so in hating him, I allow him to continue to affect my life.
    That was the day I let it all go. I wanted to forgive him, but I wasn’t there yet, but I knew letting it go would start me in the right direction, and BOY DID IT!
    Since then (over 10 years ago) I’ve forgiven him completely. I understand that HE was also abused and really didn’t understand the impact of his actions. He couldn’t give to me what he didn’t have, which was love, and that’s ok. I am who I am and I REALLY like me. If I met me, I would want to be my best friend. It would be impossible for me to have turned out to be THIS person if I hadn’t endured my childhood.
    Realizing this made me begin to see his influence as “positive”. I mean, sure… what he DID was terrible… but the influence I took away with me was positive. Once I stopped being a victim, the negative evaporated. It was truely spectacular. Now I remind myself all the time: “It’s not good or bad, it just IS…Now, where can I go from here…”

  • Gillian says:

    A great post and I have noticed some characteristics I myself had (now no more), as I was still stuck in victim mode:
    1. I always seemed to notice when bad things happened to other people, soothing myself that I was not the only person suffering.
    2. The urge to “save” or “rescue” people from their bad habits or “off” personalities, aiming to change them in order to “rescue” them. People, who always feel the need to tell others how to live their lives are in a victim mode.
    3. Being overly sensitive to what people do or say to us and always unconsciously feel we are victimized.
    These are a few I have found in myself, but now, that I have awakened, I can catch myself immediately. It really is about becoming conscious, when we are in such victim mode and make the shift from victim and powerless to empowerment and confidence.
    Much love, Gillian

  • You’re getting a lot of great material from that Troward work, Jim! Thanks for sharing some of your insights here.
    I also appreciate the spotlight you put on people being able to shift out of victim-thinking and into empowerment.
    It reminds me of this quote from Twitter’s @debsoul regarding the gap between what is and what we want:
    “We can choose to see the chasm as a mirage that simply vanishes when we decide to own rather than just know.”
    It’s the seeing the chasm as a mirage that really lit me up! It doesn’t have to be a long journey between here and there, if we don’t make it one.
    Thanks for posting, Jim!

  • Jim Patterson says:

    Another fantastic post Jeanette!
    As you know I’ve been reading a lot of Thomas Troward lately and was reminded of a quote that I had fortunately jotted down from “The Hidden Power”:
    If good things happen to people and because of negativity they didn’t happen “to them” then they have, by their actions changed what can happen to them.
    It occurred to me that the converse of that is that while we cannot stop bad things from happening, we can stop them from happening “to us”. The power of this is staggering, and a game changer for many people’s lives.
    I would have to ask the therapists that find it deplorable that this woman found a way to get past her pain what exactly it is they are trying to accomplish with their clients/patients…
    If they are not trying to get them exactly where it is that she got to, then there is something very, very wrong with what they define as success with their treatment plans.
    I have dealt at length with many individuals that experienced their lives as victims but then were able to move past this by coming to embrace the kind of principles we are discussing here. And the GOOD therapists readily admitted to them that they had gotten exactly where the treatment plan was designed to go. So there are mental health professionals that recognize the truths behind this as well…
    Jim Patterson’s last blog post..Another Great LOA Author – Judge Thomas Troward – The Hidden Power

  • If a story’s got to involve damaged body parts, this is how to do it, huh, Kat?
    “Something’s gotta give” … leading to your rising Phoenix! woo hoo!!
    Thanks for the story – great example of how what we think of as “bad news” isn’t necessarily so. 🙂

  • Kat says:

    What a great post! In March, 2007, I was at a point in my career where I was very unhappy, and felt I did not have much control over my future. [I was not as consciously conscious of LOA as I am now!] I remember saying frequently to myself: “Something’s got to change…something’s got to give…” On a walk with my dog one day, something DID give – my leg! I slipped and fell on some ice, severely damaging my leg which resulted in a month-long recuperation at home. HOWEVER, this also resulted in finding my dream job posted on-line. I found the courage not only to actively pursue it, but to leave my job of 18 years, and start over again. I felt like a Phoenix rising from the ashes! Life has never been better, and I am doing exactly what I have always wanted to do! What could have simply remained a pity-party in Victimland resulted in some massive Creativity!

  • First a quick note to Janette in Australia. Perhaps instead of feeling guilty somehow participate in the recovery – for even just one, maybe many that were affected by this tragedy.
    This was a really great post – Jeannette and Michael. I loved the statement
    “The minute you make the shift from victim to creator, what’s happening in the world stops being bad news (or even good news) and becomes instead simply information – information you can use to make informed decisions about what you want to create moving forward.”
    Wow that is so powerful! I think I will meditate on that all day.
    Melody Campbell, The Small Business Guru’s last blog post..7 Tips to Building a Lucrative Coaching Business – What They Don’t Teach You at Life Coach Training

  • Crys says:

    WOW !! Jeanette.
    As always, we are connected.
    Turning to your blog is like turning on a lamp in a dark room. I knew there was a door somewhere, I just couldn’t find it in the dark.
    Thanks !!

  • Janette says:

    Ha – I knew it would come! I answered my own question.
    I am going to pray rain for those areas still endangered by fire – I intend that there will be downpours saturating all the vulnerable areas and that lots more missing people will be found alive and well.
    Anyone else who would like to join me is very welcome!
    Janette’s last blog post..The Universe loves me!

  • Janette says:

    Hmmm – very timely blog, as usual! (warning – the following is not coming from a very positive place so please ignore if you prefer!)
    Normally I stay out of victim mode by remembering that I create my own reality. Which works great most of the time – very empowering!
    But I’m not sure how to think about my current reality. I live in Victoria, Australia, which some will know has been devastated by bushfires – 173 dead and millions of acres of land destroyed. Our city was nowhere near the fires and we are perfectly fine; but so many others have lost everything.
    I’m so, so lucky not to have been affected. And incredibly grateful. And irrationally guilty. How does this fit into the law of attraction and the fact that I co-create this reality?
    I can only hope that I will find that “different angle from which to view the world” soon, and that things will then change for the better. I want to feel happy about my own situation, and I do – but I also feel so sad for the victims. How does one deal with that?
    Janette’s last blog post..The Universe loves me!

  • Great observation, Kim, (as always!) I can really relate to this.
    Some years ago I sprained my ancle. I didn’t know the law of attraction then, but never the less I immediately realized that this was an important “sign” telling me something.
    I was very, very busy, and very, very stressed then, and I knew I so much needed a “break”, but I couldn’t find the time!
    So the Universe helped me, and during the following two months I mostly just sat in my couch with my sprained ancle, thinking about my life and finding out what I wanted to change.
    I was really grateful, because I got just what I wanted at the rigth time – and today I know that I manifested it.

  • Kim Falconer says:

    Oh this is a powerful post with very strong imagery in Michael Neill’s case study. It really brings the topic into sharp focus.
    Point #2 stands out for me because I often ask astrology clients who feel victimized what they ‘get’ from the situation. What’s the real results?
    At first they go through the surface layer–for example last week a client had been robbed (and wanted to blame Neptune). She lost her computer, data, mobile phone etc. Her first response to the question ‘what did she get out of it’ was trauma, fear, rage, loss….but after a while she said, ‘I didn’t have to work for a week! I got a forced holiday.’
    ‘Did you want a holiday?’
    ‘Hell yes, but I couldn’t afford to take one.’
    In this case the ‘robbery’ gave her permission to have some much desired time off without feeling guilty. Illness is another way the body and the unconscious can work together to give us what we need–only we don’t always recognize it.
    I’m pausing to look around my life right now and see if there is anything I’m feeling wasn’t my choice and what the results are giving me. I’ll come back with any examples!
    Thank you Jeannette for this wonderful opportunity to become more aware. Another step towards enlightenment. You’re such a guiding light!!!
    🙂 Kim

  • Mitch says:

    How do you always manage to blog what I’m thinking about? Oh, yeah. I know how. 😉
    I caught myself in victim mode the other day. (Okay, honestly, my friends caught me in victim mode and forcibly made me aware of it! lol) Like Dr. Jenn says, it can be very seductive! But I did come out of it and started taking steps to fix the situation I felt like I was a victim of.
    The great news is, although the situation isn’t totally resolved yet, my vibe is in much better shape just from making a conscious decision to take care of myself. Hard to feel like a victim when I make my happiness top priority!

  • Dr. Jenn says:

    Thanks for this reminder!
    I find that the Victim role is so ingrained in our culture, that people often forget that they even have a choice!
    The other day a client was telling me about an unsatisfying friendship- after our discussion, she said to me, “Thanks so much for pointing out that I could choose to improve the relationship or even leave it. It never occurred to me!”
    She was so used to accepting bad behavior- to allowing herself to be in the victim role- that she forgot that she has the power to create her experience- in this friendship and everywhere else.
    I think we all benefit from gentle reminders to step into being the Magnificent Creator we came here to be rather than the Victim.
    But that sneaky Victim can be such a seductress! Constantly luring us in with it’s purported sweetness- “We DON’T have to be responsible- someone else can be!”
    But until we accept full responsibility for our own creations, we’ll never truly be free- and experience the deliciousness of knowing, that whether it’s good or bad- we made it so, and we can choose to make it not so, simply by choosing again. How fun!

  • Well said, my friend. Thanks for your comment!
    What I love about law of attraction is how powerfully it moves us out of victim mode. 🙂

  • Iyabo Asani says:

    I love when my vibe is on track with yours. I really do love it. Today, I found this quote:
    When you’re the victim of the behavior,
     it’s black and white;
     when you’re the perpetrator,
     there are a million shades of gray.
     ~Laura Schlessinger
    When I read this, I was a little stunned that the author saw only black, white and greys. My thought was why does everyone have to be a victim or a perpetrator. What about the witnesses or those that heard after the fact? She is a popular psychologist and it goes to support what the post said about Byron Katie.
    Thanks for a great post, Jeanette.
    No one will get over information and things that happen if they view themselves as victims.
    Iyabo Asani’s last blog post..What a wonderful world!

  • >