The most frightening patterns of behavior on earth are behavioral patterns that are disguised. I’m going to be exposing a great many of them in the coming years because these behaviors are a huge barrier to consciousness both in the people exhibiting them and in the people observing them… or shall I say failing to recognize them.
The first of these patterns I am going to make you aware of is the most insidious of all of them. It is a control tactic called the victim control dynamic. This behavioral pattern is carried out to make the other person look like the bad guy and oneself, their victim. But the scariest thing is that this pattern is often the wolf in sheeps’ clothing dynamic where the one who is painting the picture that they are the victim is actually the one in control in an abusive way.
One way this behavior shows itself is very easily recognizable in childhood in younger siblings who feel like they have no personal power within the family. Their power only comes manipulatively and often from being defended by people with more power than they have; like mom or dad. So the younger sibling will hit or taunt the older sibling and then scream and cry “help” when the older sibling runs after them. The parents walk in the room and immediately take things at face value. They punish the older sibling and defend the younger sibling and comfort them as if they are the victim in the situation. The younger sibling may then stick out his or her tongue at the older sibling when the parent carries them out of the room as if to say, “I win”.
I did a YouTube video a while ago called “How To Sell Your Soul To The Devil”. In that episode, I explained that unmet needs are what causes demonic attachments and demonic expressions of behavior because in means a need has to be met manipulatively. When it comes to control and power dynamics, as is the case with the victim control dynamic, the unmet needs are a sense of personal empowerment, a sense of oneself being good and attention. Because the person feels their need for personal empowerment and the safety that comes with it as well as their need for attention and a sense of inner goodness cannot be met directly, it has to be met indirectly in superbly manipulative ways. And these manipulations are played out towards the person or people that the person feels “less than”.
The reason that the victim control dynamic is so hard for people to recognize if they themselves are doing it is because the feelings behind the behavior are not fake. Unless someone is consciously using this tactic of manipulation, it isn’t false that they feel disempowered. It isn’t false that they feel like the underdog in every situation. It isn’t false that they feel sorry for themselves. They literally feel powerless to the person they are carrying out these behaviors towards. They literally feel less than them. They literally feel sorry for themselves because life has been cruel to them. They literally feel like the power inequality is unfair. It doesn’t matter whether the person they feel powerless to did anything to them or not. For example, you could take a job working for a boss and because you feel so disempowered around authority, the boss’s mere presence could make you feel powerless and out of control of your own life and choices and therefore like a victim. But I can promise you that if you are in this pattern, instead of facing your level of personal disempowerment, you will instead focus on how it’s right to feel the way you feel because of how the boss is hurting you and is being unfair to you and is keeping you under his control.
Underneath the victim control dynamic is an incredibly poor self-esteem. A big part of personal empowerment is self-concept. If you have a poor self concept, you can’t see yourself as ‘good’. Therefore, that need to see yourself as good is also unmet. And so, like every need that can’t be met directly and consciously, it must be met subconsciously and manipulatively. By painting yourself as the victim, you get to be “the good guy” and the other person gets to be “the bad guy”. Not only in your own eyes, but also in everyone else’s. For people who exhibit this behavioral pattern, often the only access they have to seeing and feeling themselves as good is by seeing and feeling someone else as really bad and having other people validate that perspective for them.
The victim control dynamic can be carried out one on one. We often see it in couples whereby painting the picture that you are the victim of your partner, to your partner, is done specifically to guilt and shame them into conforming to whatever you want them to do or not do. In this way, you use their own need to not be the bad guy to control them into doing what you want. This is painful enough. But it is when the victim control dynamic is introduced to social groups that it takes on a particularly demonic form.
It is this dynamic of feeling goodness only in contrast to someone who is the bad guy that makes this pattern so incredibly dangerous and insidious. It works on other people. We are conditioned to defend the underdog. We are conditioned to see whomever looks like the victim in a situation as the good guy. Our species has survived and thrived so well over the centuries in large part because we care take each other and defend each other. When someone “looks” like the victim, it triggers our own feelings of vulnerability and so we project that onto them and then by defending them, we are in fact defending that vulnerable side of ourselves. Because of this projection we all do of our own vulnerability onto whoever looks like the victim, we cannot see beyond the surface of things and cannot perceive ourselves being used as an accessory to a control dynamic .
Victim control dynamic is just that. It is a control dynamic. It is a battle to get what we want. And so, the reaction that the person on the receiving side of this pattern is going to have will be the same as it is to any threat. They will react with defense, anger and control tactics of their own. But the victim control dynamic is so insidious that this is why it always works. The people watching cannot actually see that the underdog in the situation is in fact the first one to take a power control strike because their strike is followed up instantly by falling back into their mentality of inferiority and of having been hurt and of being unfairly treated. This is profoundly gas lighting for the person on the receiving end of the behavior. It pulls us out of our own reality where we were just going about our business as usual and suddenly we are cast in the role of the perpetrator by someone and suddenly we’re convicted of a crime that we had no idea we ever committed.
Gas lighting is a form of abuse where someone does or says something and then later leads you to believe that you didn’t see what you saw and you didn’t feel what you felt and your reality isn’t what you perceive it to be. When someone strikes out at you in a power play and then plays the victim to you, it messes with your sanity and sense of reality. For example, if someone hit you in the legs with a metal pipe and started rolling around on the ground saying “why did you hurt me” as if they are the one who was hit with the pipe, you are trapped in a parallel reality. Gas lighting is profoundly abusive. And so, naturally that abuse is reacted to in extreme ways.
And here is where the victim control dynamic is the winning hand of manipulation. When the person on the receiving end reacts to that gas lighting and that power play by getting angry and defensive, everyone on the outside simply sees a person violently hurting someone who is already hurt. That person looks like a monster. And now, the person exhibiting the victim control dynamic has won and they didn’t even have to do anything to win. The response the actual victim (opposite them) had to being challenged for power and gas lighted and painted to be the bad guy, signs and seals their own death warrant. Their very response to the tactics being played by the “false victim” which they cannot even see, validates the picture that the false victim is painting of them. And now, everyone rallies around the false victim against the real victim. They do this to avoid being the bad guy themselves. This pattern forces people to identify with their hero personality and defend their victim personality externally against their own villain personality externally. Everyone validates their “poor me” mentality by saying “you’re right, I feel so sorry for you”. The real victim becomes the bad guy in everyone’s eyes and in this way, the false victim is controlling everyone, including the real victim and gets to feel a sense of empowerment and goodness this way.
What’s more is that this dynamic goes a step further. The false victim now decides that the way they are going to get their empowerment is through one of two ways. Either they are going to rebel against the badness and power of the real victim. In this case, they are encouraged to do so by others. Or the false victim now decides they are going to get their empowerment through becoming the helper/rescuer to the real victim. In this case, they try to be and get help for the real victim’s reactivity and anger. When this is the case, they weave other people into this collective project of helping the person whose distress they are in fact causing. In both scenarios, the real victim becomes the scapegoat of the social group.
This dynamic destroys lives when it happens between parents and children. For example, it occasionally happens in dysfunctional families and more often with mothers, that one of the children will be perceived as a threat in some way. The mother will perceive herself to be the underdog to her own child and will then play out this victim control dynamic against that child, weaving the entire family into the control dynamic and turning the child into the family scapegoat. When a family scapegoat commits suicide, it is often because this is a dynamic that is going on within the family.
When someone is locked in the victim control dynamic, they want to make you feel like you have wronged them and done bad to them. They want you to feel guilt and shame. But here’s the key, when it works and if they manage to actually produce proof that you have wronged or hurt them, no matter what you do to make amends and make things right, it will produce no lasting improvement. Their heir of being victimized and wronged by you does not go away. No matter what you do, they will continue to produce more scenarios where you have wronged them. Often creating scenarios where they already know you will choose in the opposite direction of what they want. They already know you will say no to them so again they can repeat this dynamic of keeping you in the “bad guy” role and them in the “poor me” role. No matter what you do to try to resolve situations with this person, it will not work because it wont last. When someone is in a victim control drama, they hunt for an apology. The apology feels like “I win” to the one that needs to one up the other by proving that they are good and the other person is bad. But no resolve will last because that is how they get power and so resolving their feelings of being wronged only lasts as far as the apology then they have to slip back into the same dynamic to gain back a sense of power again.
In the spiritual field, the word victim carries huge stigma. We are encouraged day and night against victim mentality. We are shamed for disempowerment. We need to stop doing this because the feelings of being victimized and feeling sorry for ourselves are not pathetic. They are very real. If you succumb to this control dynamic, you did not receive the kind of nurturing and support you needed as a child. We have to face the aftermath of this tragedy directly and take direct action to resolve the wounds and lack of development it left us to deal with. It is this original victimization that is the one that needs our recognition and validation. But it is actually very rare that we are truly victimized in our adult life. So often, we play out the actual victimization that occurred in the past with people in the now, who are not actually victimizing us. If a situation is abusive, we have the free will to leave it. If we aren’t leaving a situation where we feel so victimized, we have to look WAY deeper into why we are not leaving it and why we are choosing instead to stay in the role of being victimized. That is not a problem that has to do with them victimizing us purposefully. It has to do with our own disempowerment. And the sad truth is often we will find it is because by staying, we get to maintain the control and goodness of playing the ‘poor me’ to someone else dynamic. We have to see the difference between our own powerlessness that exists no matter what other people around us do or don’t do and other people making us powerless. This is the form of responsibility we have to start taking for our own weakness and fear.
It is critical that we actually give space to the aspect of us that is in a state of victimhood. We have to acknowledge it and bring presence to it and bring empowerment to it. But the reality is, whether we were victims or not, that doesn’t change the fact that we have no choice but to take back the control over our lives. It doesn’t matter how much we were hurt, being hurt doesn’t exempt us from responsibility over our own lives and over being in a position where we now have to put ourselves back together again.
This game, like all other camouflaged behavioral tactics must be exposed if it is to stop. The game only works if the people playing along with it keep playing along with it. This means it is up to the person who is on the receiving end of this pattern, or people observing it from the outside, to call it out when it is occurring. The trouble with this dynamic is that to not play the game with someone who is locked in the victim control dynamic, you cannot react to the manipulation. Instead, you have to respond by calmly exposing the game and by meeting with the authenticity that is being disguised by the game. Start by saying directly to them “I feel like you are making me feel guilty or ashamed to control me and to make yourself look like the victim so they will defend you against me”. And “I feel like you are being really unfair.” When they argue with you and make you feel guilt for that, simply tell them “I’m only telling you what I feel.” Instead of arguing with their logic, keep telling them how the situation feels to you. From there, you have to zoom way out so your responses are one step ahead of them so you can expose them in their own game. Ask them what they want from you to make the perceived wrong resolved. Ask them what their next step is. Often they can’t give you an answer because they are not looking for a solution, they are looking to be validated in being the victim and to stay the victim. This aspect of them has grown so large through years of suppression that now it has hijacked the show. If they give you an answer about what you can do to right the perceived injustice, ask them why that would make it better for them. If they ask for an apology directly, ask them “what is getting an apology from me truly going to change or do for you.” In the course of this kind of questioning, their game is going to be exposed.
As long as you are fully conscious about it and are absolutely positive this is a victim control dynamic and not a genuine hurt someone wants to remedy, another strategy to use is to play the game instead of step out of the game by playing an even greater victim than they are back to them. If they come at you with an argument that makes them a victim to you, think of an argument or way to spin it that makes you an even bigger victim to them. This is a dangerous tool. It is inauthenticity for the sake of exposing authenticity. You will have to consult our own conscience on whether this feels right to do or not. And you have to be sure it wont cause you to actually slip into this pattern where you believe yourself to be the victim that is stuck in a helpless state. Warning… this will exacerbate their unmet needs and amplify the pattern.
Unfortunately (and understandably so because this pattern is so insidious) the self-control that has to be exercised in order to expose this game instead of get swept up into the fury of it is something that most people have not developed yet.
Underneath it all, if we are locked in the victim control dynamic, we have to own the fact that we have an aspect of us that feels weak, ashamed, out of control of ourselves, victimized, powerless and sorry for itself. We have to admit that we feel sorry for ourselves. We desperately want people to just sit and listen to this aspect of us and see it and validate it and potentially, rescue us out of it. Accept that this is where I am. This aspect of us feels this way because probably in the past, we were victimized in a situation where we actually were helpless. But our current victimization may have nothing to do with people in our current life making us powerless or victimizing us or intentionally doing wrong to us or controlling us. In fact, we have to be open to the idea that we are probably acting helpless in a situation where we aren’t helpless, we are simply not acknowledging our responsibility for our own choices that we are making that are keeping us in a situation that feels bad. We want emotional validation for our pain so desperately, we can hardly see straight.
When we are engaged in a control dynamic, we are not being authentic. The question is what are we not being authentic about? Usually it is the way we really feel, what we really want, what we really think. Being inauthentic allows us to not face something about ourselves that that is too scary or painful to face.
Ironically, taking responsibility for how we actually feel, what we actually think, what we actually want as well as taking responsibility for how we are keeping ourselves in a situation where we feel victimized, instead of how other people are making us feel or how other people are keeping us in that helpless place is the first step to personal empowerment.
Any form of manipulation designed to take energy from someone is about not being able to acknowledge or state what we actually need. Usually we do this because we decide what we need is bad. For example, a person who can’t acknowledge their need for validation will complain incessantly about their life and never take any action to make it better or different because what they really want is sympathy. A person who can’t acknowledge and make decisions in favor of their need to be significant to others could become significant by killing them. This is the case with many crimes of passion. If a person can’t admit to their need to be the center of attention, they may cause conflict just to get that attention. To understand more about how this works, watch my video on YouTube titled: Meet Your Needs. So, become aware of your needs and admit to them, regardless of whether this is scary or whether you’re afraid this will make other people see you as a bad person. If you have trouble with this pattern ask yourself, “Why is it too scary to meet my needs in a direct and assertive way? Why do I feel like I can do nothing other than to make someone else responsible for them and feel like they failed me if they don’t take responsibility for them?
If you are dealing with a person who is locked in the victim control drama, they want your energy. They want your positive attention, your sympathy, your empowerment, to be rescued by you and for you to take responsibility for them. So be honest with yourself. Can you give it to them? If you give them your energy, they will stop the control drama to get it. The sad thing is that most people who succumb to the victim control dynamic usually get into relationships with people who literally can’t give them this energy. So, they replay the pattern of not getting the attention and support and nurturing they need because of their choices of friends and partners.
Validating the person’s feelings of pain in life in general, helping them recognize and admit to their needs as well as strategizing ways to meet them is a good way to get out of the vicious cycle of helplessness. If you are on the receiving end of this control dynamic however, beware of your own boundaries. Often being the one to help them with this pattern in these ways if the pattern is directed at you is a form of self-betrayal. Also, certain scenarios and social groups simply have no room for this kind of behavior. However, knowing that what they want is to steal your energy, often the very best way to deal with this scenario is to flip it on them and instead, go into the situation knowing that and simply let them have it. It’s the energy of going into a room full of mosquitoes with the intention of feeding them your blood.
But here is the most important thing to know about this whole dynamic. If you are on the receiving end of this dynamic and you feel completely and utterly powerless to it, it means you have a weak spot that the person using this control dynamic was able to hook into and use in order to guarantee themselves the energy they need. And that weak spot is the inability to sit with and be with feelings of being a bad person or responsible for causing someone pain or not rescuing them. If you are on the receiving end of this dynamic, chances are that you entered into this person’s life with the intention to rescue them in some way and now quite to the opposite, you have been painted as the bad person instead. Your inability to deal with the fact that this situation makes you feel like a bad person is in fact just a mirror of the reason you made the decision to rescue them in the first place. You did it so you could avoid feeling like if you didn’t you would be responsible for their pain and demise. Look back at the circumstances of how you met and became bonded in the first place. Chances are that you met in a way where you were trying to rescue them from something or someone. Potentially it was someone or something that they had pulled this same victim control dynamic with before you. So you have to look at your childhood as to why you cannot allow yourself to take actions that force you to sit with the feeling of shame that is the result of being the cause of someone’s pain. Why you are so desperate to rescue people? Who didn’t you rescue and what were the consequences? The more capable of being with this aspect that feels shame and that can’t be with feelings of being a bad person who is responsible for other people’s pain, the more immune you will be to this control dynamic.
If we have become a victim to this control dynamic in any way, we need to become aware of the holy trinity of personas within ourselves, the victim within us that holds our vulnerability and that we are trying to rescue through other people. The villain within us that we are trying to avoid at all costs. And the hero, who is so desperate to be good, it gets in all kinds of trouble trying to rescue people. When we start to care for these aspects within us, we will stop externalizing the war between these internal aspects of us. They will stop showing up externally as other people.