What are Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious?
Carl Jung introduced us to the idea of archetypes as we know them today; they stem from the collective unconscious and are defined as universal, primal symbols and images that derive from shared, instinctive, mental concepts of the human race. They help us to understand why similar godlike characters and human roles existed in all shamanistic societies worldwide. Jungian archetypes actually stem from the forces of nature and include the mother, father, child, trickster and such. All archetypes that we become or that we experience make up the sum of who we are as personalities. There is one such archetype, The Victim, that I want to discuss today.
This is a tricky topic as victimhood is an extremely sensitive issue seeing that it results from great, unwarranted offense that has occurred against someone. Most everyone, if not all have been victims in some form or fashion, either independently or collectively. Mostly it is collective because we experience each other’s pains. These unfortunate experiences can lead to PTSD, though victimization is not the only thing that can lead to PTSD.
The purpose of this post is to offer ways to prevent victimhood from becoming a perpetual torment. I will use myself as an example as I can only speak for me.
How Did I Become the Victim?
When I was a child, there was an adult person in my life who was very troubled and who did not display love in a normal way. He had many sisters and brothers who did not turn out the way he did so I do not blame his parents, but we all respond to life in different ways and he was who he was. I shall call him the Bully as this was his primary archetype. As a result of my interactions with the Bully, I experienced a lot of negativity and pain, which resulted in my having nightmares well into my adult years. After becoming an adult, the Bully had expectations of me that I did not feel, as an independent woman, that I owed him. The Bully became angry and begin to make negative statements against my life. As a result, I missed out on healthy experiences that I should have had as a child and as a young adult female.
I also discovered that it was difficult for me to develop tender feelings toward men and Christians in my teen and young adult years as I related them to the Bully who was a professed Christian. The Bully not only affected me, but he affected others in my family and I watched how they and I relived our experiences over and over again by projecting our past onto others in our lives and onto each other. This was so unfair, however it also caused us to attract more Bullies as the Bully-Victim archetypes had entrenched themselves in our lives and subconscious minds.
How I Let Go of the Bully and Released Myself from Perpetual Victimization
I became overwhelmed at the consistent parade of Bullies in my life — I was surrounded by them at home and at work. Fortunately, I also began to study psychology to get a better understanding of why I was experiencing such things and I purchased a deck of Caroline Myss’ archetype cards to get a better understanding of the different subconscious archetypes that were in existence.
I realized in order to free myself from unhappiness, I had to let go of the primary Bully and not think about what had happened as a child. I had to see each person as an individual, not read into anything they were doing, not create situations that did not exist, and be okay with being happy. I needed to release myself from my attachment to pain and go back in time to speak to my child self to assure her that my release of pain, and letting go of her Bully did in no way diminish her importance or my foundation.
I did a guided meditation to sooth my inner child archetype and gave her permission to let go. I had to mentally go back in time and release her and give her a new imagination and amplify the positive relationships she had had with her grandfather, uncles and brothers.
I created an ancestral altar to honor my grandfather and began to dialogue with other males in my family, telling them that I love them and growing new wings of love toward men.
I now realize that my life, which is energy and mental, has been changed as I have allowed myself to form new positive relationships with men.
I believe that ONE of the ways to reconcile the victim was to go back and heal / soothe me at the time in history where the viscious acts occurred. I needed to validate myself because at THAT time in my history THAT is who I was and to release the Bully was to kill me. Now I realize that at no time in my life do I need to go and kill any of me, I just needed to go and find myself, sooth myself, amplify the good portions of life I had then so that she – I would allow my future self to prosper.