Saturday, September 29, 2018

Faces of a Warped Psyche:
The Victim-Perpetrator-Savior Complex

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

When people are beaten down as children but do not heal, they develop a combination of these three distortions:
  1. Victim,
  2. Perpetrator, and
  3. Savior
Before I describe these, it’s important to define what I mean by beaten down.

Taking a Beating

On one hand, beaten down can literally mean “beaten down.” We’ve all heard stories of parents punishing their kids with anything from a slap in the face to murder. On the other hand, this same term is a reference to people who as kids hadn’t had parental motivation, support, etc.

Since these issues are so pervasive and often considered "normal," care must be taken to examine them closely. When I say “kids hadn’t had parental motivation, support, etc.” this doesn’t necessarily mean that their parents hadn’t been there to make them dinner, take them to school, and things like that. Maybe the parents had been there for these things.

In one of countless possible examples, suppose that, as a child, you'd regularly made artwork in school and had then given it to your parents. You’d gotten such a thrill out of the creation and giving: “I made this for you, Mom and Dad. I love you.” But on so many occasions, your parents had just tossed your gifts into a folder or a box (unlike your friends whose parents would hug them and then post their art on the fridge like a prize possession). Maybe you’d told your parents that you want to grow up and be an artist, only to repeatedly hear, “You’ll never make it, kid,” or, “That’s an impossible life—the starving artist,” or, “You have to be serious.”

You had dinner on the table and parents who’d never hurt you physically, but your parents had also driven into you programming of failure, of inability, of the difficulty of life in a dangerous world.

All that being said, even if these and related experiences don’t overtly resonate with you or another, due to “the way it is” here on planet Earth, we've nearly all still had to deal with the global-cultural adversity that turns creative, happy, spontaneous, and free children into numb, stiff, pained, and linear-thinking grown-ups.

Faces of a Warped Psyche

In consequence of being beaten down, there results three distortions:
  1. Victim,
  2. Perpetrator, and
  3. Savior
Let’s look at each in definition and function.

1. Victim

A person carrying the Victim distortion is usually labeled as having a “Victim mentality.” This is just as it sounds: A person believes (if unconsciously) that they’re powerless to help themselves, cannot be helped by others (short of a Savior), and are nothing more than the Victim of a cruel world for which they can do nothing to improve.

The vast majority of adults are basically overgrown children. They’ve done very little if any truly transformative psycho-emotional-spiritual healing work, and so they remain as the totality of their childhood programming in a full-grown body.

What most children learn is not, “You are free, creative, unconditionally loved and loveable, perfect human beings. The world is at your command, and you can do anything you set your heart to.”

Similar words may be spoken from time to time (likely by those who haven’t truly integrated such ideas themselves), but kids are generally placed into a highly-intellectualized education system, their creativity is mostly or completely denied, their emotions are suppressed, and their focus is directed toward survival in a money-hungry, competitive, authoritative, industrialized society. The parents of these kids have gone through the same rigmarole in families that had more or less mirrored the ruthlessness of society and world circumstances, and so they must pass on the same.

This reeks of Victimhood, and with an honest look this should be obvious.

Who is living their dreams? Who has abandoned their parents’ broken programming and distorted cultural paradigms? Who is daring to push back when religions, corporations, and governments rape the people and destroy the Earth?

Very few. Because the vast majority of people on the planet fall deeply into this category of Victimhood in myriad ways, shapes, and forms. And discomforting as it is, it’s a “comfortable discomfort,” so people do nothing. It’s easier to look away, complain, rationalize unworthiness, hang out at the bar, watch endless hours of sports, and wait for a Savior.

But guess what, folks? A Savior isn’t coming. A Savior isn’t coming—not an external one anyway—because you are your own "savior." You just don’t know it yet. But you do have Perpetrators to help you remember...

2. Perpetrators

Perpetrators are people who seek to hurt others in reaction to the unhealed pain they carry from being Victimized themselves. Everyone who has ever lived falls into this category to some degree.

Generally speaking…

At its lowest level, Perpetrator behaviors are those such as such as run-of-the-mill name-calling, blaming, cutting others off while driving, gossiping, and so on. These issues necessitate the Victimization of others and thus cause harm, but they’re comparatively mild offenses and are so common and thoroughly ingrained that most people would hardly bat an eyelash upon hearing of or being involved in such situations.

The mid-level Perpetrator may be noted as anyone who deliberately and forcefully harms another. These could be schoolyard bullies, vandals, abusers, rapists, etc. who have taken on harsher trauma and have not had adequate means by which to tone down the pain, cope with it, or heal it completely.

The highest level of Perpetrator could be called a Terrorizer. This is a person who had been severely Victimized and traumatized as a child and developed a mindset bent on the destruction of others. He or she is so psycho-emotionally rent and spiritually void that loving treatment of self and other is incomprehensible and impossible.

Terrorizers are people who must hurt others, who need to hurt others, often in vicious ways, in order to feel “good.” Though they can put on an appearance of sanity when required, they have an intensely dark side that drives them toward very negative and often bizarre behaviors. These people are psychopaths.

To point out, there also exists what might be labeled as “passive-aggressive Perpetrators.” I wrote a piece some time ago called, “The War At Home.” The message was partially about how just after the 9/11 attacks the media and politicians immediately pointed a finger to the Middle East, we quickly zipped in and began bombing the hell out of other countries, and countless people from around the world felt so justified in this.

These "countless people" are passive-aggressive Perpetrators. War could not have happened without them; it could not have continued for years and gone in all sorts of crazy, incoherently-explained, and insensible directions without them.

No, most people weren’t physically fighting the war, but the 9/11 attacks and the claimed causes surely resonated with people’s deeply-held Victim mentalities. People wanted blood, and blood is what they got. It would not be inaccurate to say that their collective focused energy (i.e.: approval of mass murder) did more damage than anything; perhaps the campfire had been lit, but only Victims (and psychopaths) would think to park a gasoline tanker over it.

To finalize… In this heavy dualistic existence where people choose to experience Victimhood, there is the requirement for Perpetrators to grind people down in myriad ways in order for the Victims to learn to stand up for themselves in the realization of their true inner power.

3. Savior

A Savior is someone who’d been Victimized in childhood and, feeling helpless and powerless, unconsciously believes that they can prove to themselves that they’re not actually a Victim by trying to help anyone they perceive to be helpless and powerless.

Saviors believe that their way is the “One Right Way.” They seek to push this agenda on others ostensibly to “save” or “help” them but in actuality in hopes of gaining their agreement (if begrudgingly) which offers “validation” of their “rightness.”

Because Saviors feel inherently powerless, pushing their beliefs and ways on others allows them, if the others comply, to feel powerful. Should potential Victims not comply, Saviors become dejected and angry and blame the hoped-for Victims for whatever self-justified reasons they can come up with.

The Savior mentality can be found within all areas of life. People may take on a diet or religion or political stance or just an arbitrary way of doing something, and because it works for them (or seems to work), they mistake that neither does their personal success (if only imagined) imply success for other, nor does their engrossment mean it’s the “One Right Way.” So infatuated with their own view, they blind themselves to what may be appropriate for or wanted by others, and see no problem dumping their “knowing” onto them.

Saviors are Perpetrators. By the karmic laws of life, it’s not cool to force someone toward something they don’t want: it’s interference. If a person doesn’t want to be “helped” or “saved,” the person who tries to do so becomes a Perpetrator.


As you can see, each of the above three categories necessitate Victimization. What sets them apart is how any given Victim expresses his or her programming.

To be a Victim implies repressed hurt, and repressed hurt always wants out. A pure Victim cannot vent, however, so other paths must play accompaniment.

Considerations for Healing

If you’ve read this far and see what I’ve written of within yourself, then you have the opportunity for positive change. How much remains to be seen, but the simple fact that you can see it suggests that you’ve acknowledged that something’s not right. Hopefully you also have a willingness to change.

If so, this is a huge step toward healing. My feeling is that arrogance—a person’s sense that “I need to always be right”—is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, obstacles to the onset of healing. To be willing to set aside the powerful desire for “rightness” is of vital importance.

From here, regardless of where you find yourself within the above categories, you must go to the roots of the Victim mentality; you must work out your Victimization traumas and false beliefs.

Be aware that the Perpetrator and Savior aspects are primarily effects.

But don't misinterpret: Although effects, the Perpetrator and Savior behaviors can be very detrimental, so you’ll need to examine and release what you can with regard to these issues. Just know that your key is in healing any Victimization issues that cause the other behaviors to manifest in the first place.

Take special note of this, for this last statement points to one of the greatest truths across all of life. It’s one of life’s greatest “secrets”:

You must alter the cause in order to get a different effect.

Most people in this world think, speak, and act based on effects; based on what they see happening in their external world. The person who works a miserable job, for instance, complains that their job sucks, their coworkers are dopes, and they need to get out. But when they do get out, they wind up with a job not all too different from the one they’d left. They do this over and over again—ad nauseam and well beyond—because they don’t understand, or don't care to admit, that the cause of life is internal.

You can only be a Victim externally when you choose it internally, if unconsciously. As you remove the Victim programs from your consciousness, you will decrease both the likelihood of Perpetrators arising in your life and of you acting as a Perpetrator or Savior.

Closing Thoughts

I hope you’ve found this to be insightful and useful.

If I give ratings from 1 to 10 (with 10 being the maximum), I would estimate that I’ve personally experienced the issues of Victim at 9, Perpetrator at 3, and Savior at 6.

It’s been an awful ride and incredibly difficult to overcome. I’ve still not overcome all of it, but I’ve overcome it sufficiently enough, so I feel, both to write this post as though I know what I’m talking about, and to share with you that, lengthy though the process is, life becomes increasingly pleasant as the layers of such an all-encompassing and heavy burden are lifted.

Every day… Waking up motivationless to the same dreadful "grind." Worrying about what’s supposedly “right” and “wrong.” Trying to control what other people think, say, and do because I feel I can’t be happy unless they’re “doing it right.” Needing to hurt others, directly or indirectly, in order to feel “good.” Constantly complaining about everything and everyone, being lazy and disempowered, and taking the garbage everyone else dumps on me because I'm too self-deflating to stand up for myself. Burning so much time and life energy away on addictive behaviors. Harming myself, and thus perpetuating a variety of dis-eases, as a means of "proving" to myself and others that I really am the "poor-me of poor-mes" and so deserving of more love and attention and sympathy than others. And on and on and on and on.

What a lousy way to live. It’s not even living, really. But it’s not dying, either.

It just sucks.

Whether you, I, or another, it's vital that we find a way to cut the Victim distortion out of our consciousness.

What is the point of having life, after all, if not to live?


If you’d like more information, check out the posts I’ve written under the Victim Mentality and Savior labels.

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