Today we ask that you begin to question your beliefs about victims and oppressors.

Most people believe that the world is divided into two classes:

Victims, and oppressors.

Haves, and have-nots.

Victims are usually identified as anyone whose well-being is dependent upon a suppressive authority figure.  The suppressive authority figure is identified as the oppressor.

This plays out on both a small scale, and a large scale.

On a large scale, the poor people of the Earth are the victims of a small group of wealthy oppressors.

On a small scale, employees are the victims of their bosses.   Children are the victims of their parents, teachers, and other children. Women are victimized by men. 

The weak are victimized by the strong.

And so it goes.

What is generally not understood is that without exception, all oppressors feel like victims.

If you sat down with any individual you consider an “oppressor,” and got him to open up, you would invariably discover that the oppressor feels terribly victimized.

The cruel boss, for example, almost always feels victimized by his higher-ups.  He feels victimized by the pressures placed upon him.

The abusive parent always feels victimized — by bosses, by her spouse, and even by her children.

Do you think rich people don’t feel like victims?  Then you’ve never met a rich person.  If you sat down with any rich person, you would hear a long list of ways in which she feels victimized by life.

What does this mean?

It means that labeling individuals and groups as “victims” and “oppressors” is not useful.

This is no way to minimize anyone’s traumatic experience, or to condone abuse of any kind under any circumstance.

It just means to stop labeling people as “victims” and “oppressors,” because that is not useful.

Humans are humans.  People are people.  Everyone feels like a victim.  Everyone has, at one time or another, misused his authority — most often toward himself.

Who is the victim and who is the oppressor when you behave abusively toward yourself?  When you attack yourself with critical thoughts and judgments?

So you have all been victims and oppressors.  You have all been slaves and tyrants.

Defining yourself as a “victim” is a very destructive thing to do, for it tends to perpetuate itself in your life experience.

Furthermore, people who see themselves as slaves and victims inevitably behave abusively — either toward subordinates, or themselves.  That is why this belief system is so destructive.

Instead of labeling people as “victims” or “oppressors,” can you just see people as people, in all their vulnerability, mess, and complexity.

They are no different from you.  And if you were in their situation and had been raised and programmed by their parents and culture, you might behave in ways that you currently find odious.

If you truly wish to be free in this lifetime, the most useful thing you can do is to release the story that you are a victim.

If everyone is a victim, then no one is a victim.  You are all just human.