THE EGO TEACHES THAT THE SON OF GOD IS THE ORIGINAL SINNER, VICTIMISER, & OPPRESSOR
The victim-victimiser dynamic is another way of talking about the Course’s metaphysics that is useful in clarifying how ACIM explains the injustice and suffering we find in the world and in our personal lives. It’s rooted in the same wrong-minded ego narrative and follows from the attack-guilt cycle.
The ego teaches us that we- the one separated son- are the original sinner. According to its wrong-minded narrative that we’ve completely bought into, being the original sinner means we are also the original victimiser because we attacked God by separating from Him. Therefore, God is the original victim, and the separation from Him is the sin we all secretly accuse ourselves of.
VICTIM-VICTIMISER = GOOD-EVIL = INNOCENCE-GUILT = LOVE-HATE
The ego tells us that this original, ontological, dynamic of victim (God) and victimiser (separated Son) defines our relationship with God post-separation. This can be similarly rephrased as the dynamic between good and evil, innocence and guilt, love and hate. In this view, we are the evil, guilty, hateful ones bent on conflict and attack (victimiser = separated Son) who selfishly destroyed goodness, innocence, love and peace (victimised = God). As with the guilt-attack cycle, these opposites form the very bedrock of the world of separation because they encapsulate the wrong-minded thought system that made up the world by projecting these very ideas outside the split mind.
MOVING FROM MIND TO BODY
It’s important to grasp that the horror of this egoic self-concept (that we are a sinner/victimiser) is what gets reversed when we try to escape from our guilt by projecting it out onto the world. We purposely dissociate from our wrong mind where we believe we are the sinful victimiser, and shaft that in order to take on an embodied identity as an individual in the world where we can now consciously believe we are the innocent victim and play that role out. By doing this we make not only our mind unconscious to us, but also the original belief it contains that we are a sinner too. What we remain conscious of is strictly the body and how much of a victim to external forces our individual identity appears to be.
SWITCHING ROLES FROM GUILTY VICTIMISER TO INNOCENT VICTIM
This is essentially how the ego insists we can reclaim our innocence: by switching roles from victimiser to victim. The only way to achieve that is to swap our identification from mind to body by dissociating from the mind, which limits our awareness to the body. We deny, bury and project the idea of sin and guilt in our mind, so we can see our imagined sin, guilt and attack outside of us. For the ego’s purposes, seeing it anywhere but within us (i.e. in the mind) is perfectly fine. We then convincingly act out the role of the weak and innocent victim that is our individual body, so that we don’t remember the terrifying idea that we are the powerful and ‘sinful attacker’ the ego convinces us we are on the level of the mind.
THE WRONG MIND’S VICTIMISER TO VICTIM NARRATIVE
Before we escape our mind by jumping to the body however, the ego also re-purposes the terrible belief that we were the original sinner by overriding it with a new distortion of the truth in the wrong mind. We do this by overlaying our original ego story with a new lie. We imagine that God was the one who originally victimised us by denying our request for “special favor.” That is, by denying our wish to be special, separate, and independent of God.
Putting aside how impossible a request this would be to make of Oneness, this is how we re-characterise God as the selfish one. As the Course puts it, we redefined Him as “an unloving father” to bury the idea and hide from the pain that we are the real and original selfish victimiser.
“You were at peace until you asked for special favor (the wish to be separate/special). And God did not give it for the request was alien to Him, and you could not ask this of a Father Who truly loved His Son. Therefore you made of Him an unloving father, demanding of Him what only such a father could give (separation from Love). And the peace of God’s Son was shattered, for he no longer understood his Father. He feared what he had made, but still more did he fear his real Father, having attacked his own glorious equality with Him.”
(T.13.III.10:2-6. Italics in brackets mine)
JUSTIFYING ATTACK: THE SEPARATION IS ALL GOD’S FAULT
Instead of remaining the poor victim of our attack according to the ego’s first lie, we now twist the truth further by seeing God as our victimiser too because we are victimised by His refusal to grant us and acknowledge our individuality. This is our wrong-minded attempt to justify our attack on Him. Doing this allows us to also re-imagine God from being all-loving to being selfish and uncaring. The ego adds that He was then further changed by our attack on Him, which makes Him furious and vengeful. This leads to the sense that we now have to placate His wrath because we are afraid of His impending punishment that we believe we have coming to us.
THE WRONG-MINDED MYTH’S TWO LIES
So in summary, the wrong-minded thought system first has us think we attacked God, which is to say we attacked perfect Love and Innocence, by separating from Him, usurping His power and stealing a piece of His life. This leads us to believe we are sinful and guilty and deserve to be punished. To manage but not eliminate the guilt, the ego then adds a new layer to its first deceptive spin on the separation. It tells us that it was all God’s fault anyway. He wouldn’t give us the specialness we wanted- He couldn’t meet our needs- and therefore we had no choice but to separate from Him. In other words, it was all God’s fault anyway.
WE WERE SELFISH BUT GOD WAS SELFISH FIRST
God was the one being unreasonable first, which made us do what we did (separate & attack Him) to get what we want. And now we even have to run from Him before He finds and destroys us. So really- poor us! We’re the real victim here! And now being terrified of the punishment God will inflict on us when He finds us, we up and run and hide by projecting our guilt outside of us. In so doing, we trade our identity as the mind for the individual character, who lives in an imaginary world designed to guarantee that the limited, needy and fragile body we’ve identified with, will be inevitably victimised by external forces beyond our control. Now we get to try to relieve our hidden guilt by being convinced we are the body that is constantly victimised, while sin and guilt is evident in the material world all around us.
WHERE THEORY MEETS PRACTICE
Both false versions of the ego’s story remain buried and unconscious within the wrong mind, yet very much active, even while we appear to be someone entirely different here in the world. This is why we ultimately suffer only from our own guilt, while also suffering from the additional false belief that we really are victims not only of the world, but of the vengeful God of our ego’s feverish imagining too.
These are significant ideas that are foundational to the Course’s metaphysical theory. But in a more practical sense, the benefit of understanding these crucial concepts is that any situation that highlights injustice and oppression in the world can help us remember that these situations reflect pre-existing ideas within our mind that make up the content of the insane ego thought system.
Moreover, we can now use these situations to help us become aware of the false beliefs that a chunk of our split mind already believes in, and is fully committed to. This awareness paves the way for both motivating and enabling us to correct these ideas through forgiveness.
BEWARE THE TEMPTATION TO THINK OF YOURSELF AS A VICTIM
Understanding the theory behind the practice of forgiveness advocated by ACIM also helps clarify significant lines like:
“Beware of the temptation to perceive yourself unfairly treated.”
This incredibly practical statement can be restated as; “beware the temptation to think of yourself as a victim in truth, or believe you could ever be truly victimised.” This we can do and reflect on during the day: how often do I feel like a victim and why? This is an incredibly useful entry-point into applying forgiveness because it helps us do 3 crucial things that gets the forgiveness ball rolling:
- Become more self-aware of what we’re thinking and feeling, which helps us to…
- Recognise the false cause of our upset- the specific problem/s on the level of the world that appear to make us victims. This can then lead us to…
- Recognise the true cause of our upset- the one problem on the level of the mind (i.e. our belief in the ego’s tale of separation, sin and guilt) that is the source of the false belief that we are both victims and victimisers of God.
These three points summarise what’s involved in accomplishing the first step of the forgiveness formula: to identify the true cause of our upset. This naturally leads to the second step, which is our responsibility to let go of our choice for the ego, and our belief in its insane thought system.
BELIEVING WE ARE UNFAIRLY TREATED VICTIMS PROTECTS THE EGO
The purpose driving this near constant egoic temptation to feel like a victim is obvious when we understand the metaphysics of the Course. The guilt-attack cycle and victim-victimiser dynamic it contains that both hide in the wrong mind, are especially key to understanding why it is self-deception to believe we can ever be unfairly treated, hurt, or victimised by anyone or anything other than our own mind.
All the hurt or injustices we experience as bodies, is a dream that originates in the mind and reflects our belief in the ego’s false narrative. Remembering this finally opens the only doorway to truly relieving the source of all the pain and powerlessness we experience in any form.
The dichotomy between victim and victimiser, good and evil, oppressor and oppressed, literally originate from the idea of attack and guilt made real, and this is precisely why they are made manifest and enacted in the world of separation. As we are all the split mind collectively, it’s also crucial to understand that these ideas live within the unconscious wrong mind that is shared by everyone who thinks they live here.
* This concludes part 3 of the 5-part series titled, ‘ACIM on Racism & Injustice in the World.’ Please click on the arrow below to continue reading part 4 in the series.