For those of familiar with Byron Katie's "Work" - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 04-12-2006, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Please help me understand. My fiance and I had a recent discussion about Byron Katie. He has done many intensives with her and I just am fighting some of what he says. Please help me understand.
He explained that The Work focuses on empowerment..not playing the victim. I said that there are victims in this world. I was molested as child, so was my sister..not to mention other friends I know who were raped and molested.
His response to me was that if a child is molested repeatedly, then they should have spoken up.
I found this on Katie's website:

http://www.thework.com/DearKatieView.asp?DearKatieID=14

And she kind of says the same thing about "victims".
Please help me understand.
I have a very hard time saying that there are not true victims in this world. Yes, I believe they can empower themselves and I believe that empathy and compassion come first...more along the lines of NVC mode.
My fiance questioned how you can offer empathy without victimizing a person.
Please share thoughts and perspectives.

Mel.
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#2 of 13 Old 04-12-2006, 09:50 PM
 
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Sorry i do not know her work, however i thought i would share my thoughts.

It is my beleif that a victim does exist when someone hurts them, but once a person can physically be out of the situation and have a chance to disconnect from that they than may have a chance to change thought patterns and behaviors that they might not have previously been able to change. Those being self-pity, negativity, and self-destructive ways to name a few. That is where the victim-ization comes into play. It is When a person can realize that the role they 'play' is a choice. Thats not to say they choose it from the start , but that continuing to Be all that is a victim: the 'less than' and 'doomed' type of thinking and behaving, Is a choice when they have learned the options.

Hope that might help.
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#3 of 13 Old 04-20-2006, 06:14 PM
 
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I know this thread is a little stale already and you may not come back to it, and you may have resolved things already (hope so!), but I want to respond because I feel moved to and I feel concern for what I think I feel you feeling between the lines. As he is your fiance, it is also really important that this does not damage your relationship - one can begin to see the abuser reflected in the eyes of anyone who seems to be minimising what happened to you... ouch

I imagine it must be so painful to have this man who loves you seem to say he can't or won't empathise with your pain, and seem to imply that you 'should' have done things differently as a child when really you couldn't. BK would give you a big hug with so much love, and affirm that you did the best you could at the time. She doesn't seem to have any problem empathising even while she refuses to see you as victim. But give your man a break - he's human like the rest of us, and BK - well, she's a bit special. I'm not half of what she is, but I hope this virtual hug helps at least a bit

I can see why you want so desperately to understand - because you don't want your relationship hurt by this. I admire and respect that decision, instead of just getting mad and rejecting him out of your own pain.

I have done a lot of Bk work and found it hugely useful in moving myself out of victim mode into empowerment. She is not an 'intellectual' person and I find that discussions ABOUT the approach tend to create exactly this kind of confusion. The only way to really 'get it' is to try it - not try to make it fail for you - but really try it out. Then it may make more sense.

Other than that, this may or may not help you make sense:

I had a big insight when someone explained to me the concept of 'category error' - that is, when something is true at one level of reality but not true for another level of reality. An example would be if someone believes they are immortal,(and let's assume that's true for their soul self) so it's no big deal to walk in front of a fast moving bus. That's a category error!!

Sounds like your man may be enthusiastically over-simplifying things a bit and getting into category error.

There is a level of reality where victimhood is a reality, yes, absolutely. And yes at that level there's no choice and it's no joke! AND There's another level of being where it's just a story. A painful, powerful story, but a story nevertheless. And the really great thing about stories is that no matter how powerful and painful they are - you can turn the page!

The Bk work helps me to see both levels so that I can have more choice about which one I want to tune into and identify with at a particular situation or point in time. THAT is EMPOWERING!

Times that this technique has helped me move from helpless despair and depression to feeling strong and okay with myself in mere minutes. And from there I can act and change my next realities, and respond to other people and myself in more creative ways.

Not everything works for everyone, but you may want to give it a go. But then I really suggest you don't start by trying to work on your own feelings of victimhood - rather follow the 'recommended' sequence and start with the 'judge your neighbour' sheet (on her site) and slowly progress towards work on the subtler beliefs about and in yourself that are too tricky to start with.

As for your man, you may want to dose him with his own medicine and suggest that he use his BK experience go investigate the beliefs "Mel should not be a victim", "I have to make Mel understand this stuff", and most certainly "Repeatedly molested kids SHOULD have spoken up". I'd love to see his "turnaround"s!

Honestly though, I'd love to know how things turn out and will subscribe to this thread to alert me if you want to discuss further

Good luck with keeping the love between you two real and dynamic and good
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#4 of 13 Old 04-20-2006, 06:16 PM
 
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oops - forgot to hit subscribe button. now done...
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#5 of 13 Old 04-20-2006, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am here!
Thank you for your loving response.
I think I do understand that BK's purpose is to empower. When a child stays quiet after being molested/rape, they are certainly making a choice...not to be molested or raped but certainly to keep the peace or not be made the center of attention/cause trouble or not endanger other family members (I know some children are threatened to keep quiet). There are a variety of reason why children stay quiet.
I have a hard time with BK's analogy of "if you step in a yard marked Beware of Dog and get bitten, you bit yourself. The dog just did his job."
If you use the analogy in regards to a child molestation, this is like saying, "if you get molested afte seeing the warning signs, you molested yourself. The molester was just doing his job". When is a perpetrator held accountable? Children are still so innocent and learning.
I hear what you are saying about real victimhood. There are real predators in this world. That is reality. There are people who get hurt by them. That is reality. We don't have to continue to get hurt...thus, empowerment.
In this respect, I understand why it's important to take responsibilty for our own choices that may have led to victimization.
My mother was in a parking lot at night many years ago and pulled into a van and raped by 3 men. She came home afterward and my dad blamed her. Told her she shouldn't have been in a dark parking lot at night, that she should have been home with her children instead. She attempted suicide that night.
Hearing someone blame a victim violates a huge need of mine.
Yes, she could have been more careful...perhaps we all could be. Does that mean that when we threatened/hurt/violated that the perpertrator is just doing his job? They get to walk away and the victim says "it was my choice"?
Let's talk about empathy...
I believe that empathy is so important first and foremost, even if you don't see a person as a victim. My fiance questioned how you can offer empathy without victimizing a person.
I told him I would say, I see you are in pain and I am here to listen.
This is a tricky tricky topic. I am glad you resurrected it because I want to hear what many others have to say too
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#6 of 13 Old 04-20-2006, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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P.S. I really want to go see The Work in person...missed her in L.A. this year and hope to see her soon....
I'll go to the website for the exercises you recommended...
I do want to understand...if I can benefit, wonderful...and I really do want to understand my partner very well too. I know he is a kind and loving man so I have a need to reconcile this anomaly (surely caused by misunderstanding) by asking questions, doing research.
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#7 of 13 Old 04-21-2006, 05:55 AM
 
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Forgive me I haven't learnt yet how to quote your message, so I'll do it my way... ( and sorry I am so long winded. It's my wish to be really clear)

"When is a perpetrator held accountable?"
On the level of justice and intervention, the perpetrator should ALWAYS be held accountable. Every time. One hundred percent. I have NO time for people who want to say 'she tempted me' etc. That is BULL. This is not about 'the victim has all the responsibility so the perpetrator has none'. On the level of every day life the perpetrator has all the responsibility in every situation.I once read a most wonderful statement: when a sixteen year old walks into her step-dad's bedroom and pulls off her top seductively, the appropriate response is "put your clothes back on right now young lady and then we are going to go sit in the kitchen and have a serious talk"
If a woman actively agrees to have sex with a man and in the middle of that changes her mind and makes that clear and he forces her to continue in spite of her clear message, he is one hundred percent accountable for a rape, and she is one hundred percent innocent.

"My mother was in a parking lot at night many years ago and pulled into a van and raped by 3 men. She came home afterward and my dad blamed her. Told her she shouldn't have been in a dark parking lot at night, that she should have been home with her children instead. She attempted suicide that night."
For me this is your dad (understandably but tragically) not being able to deal with his own feelings. Your poor mother. How horrific.

I am guessing your own man may have a bit of this, too, dealing with the thought of you being molested. I was serious about suggesting those investigations to him, by the way.

"Hearing someone blame a victim violates a huge need of mine."
Hear hear. This is not about blaming the victim - at least it's not supposed to be. But we humans like to find ways to avoid our own difficult feelings. Personally I believe that blaming the victim is just a way to do that, never comes from a place of insight, compassion or strength.

This is why I introduce the concept of category error. On a conscious level there is little choice. The 'choice' we are talking about is on a soul level and applies to ideas such as 'we choose to get cancer', 'we choose to be born in a time of war', 'we choose our parents', 'we choose a life path that includes being blinded in an explosion at age three' etc. On that level, we 'choose' to have a life that includes a rape or molestation experience, and until we can own that and find whatever lesson or gift we were after, we will be beaten down by it rather than raised up. NO amount of punishing and blaming a perpetrator ever brings a 'victim' peace. Only walking out of the cell marked 'victim' and feeling strong again can do that.

I repeat - This is not about the victim has all the responsibility so the perpetrator has none. The perpetrator has total responsibility on the level of every day life. The 'victim's responsibility is on a spiritual level, and on that level the whole experience can eventually be felt as an agreement where there is no blaming in either direction. That's a place that's arrived at, not a place that can be argued and proven.

I think that your man's 'mistake' is to try to argue you to a place that you can only get to by your own direct experience.

"Yes, she could have been more careful...perhaps we all could be."
No-one can be so careful that this can be avoided, unless they live their life in a padded cell.

"My fiance questioned how you can offer empathy without victimizing a person. I told him I would say, I see you are in pain and I am here to listen."
I think what you say here is wise, and I think BK would agree. That's what I've seen her do as part of a process. The thing with real empathy is that you are then wide open to what that makes you feel. If you are afraid of some of your own feelings, empathy is really really hard.

One thing I have noticed with many men is they have this primal and often totally unconscious belief that they need to protect 'their' women. If something really bad happens to her, even before he met her, he somehow failed her. So he has to make it her problem in order to avoid feeling guilty himself. Because he can't ever fix it, and he can't stand to face that. His fighting and blaming and denial may ironically be an indication of how horribly painful he finds what happened to her, and how unbearably vulnerable that makes him feel, rather than it truly doesn't touch him.

"I have a hard time with BK's analogy of "if you step in a yard marked Beware of Dog and get bitten, you bit yourself. The dog just did his job.""

I think because this statement is out of context. BK's work begins with the idea that when you 'fight reality' you suffer, and the aim is to get beyond the suffering. So as long as you are stuck in 'he should not have molested me." you can't move, because in reality he DID. In this sense 'a molester's job is to molest'. The key here is another of her foundation concepts - the concept that there are only 3 kinds of business in the world 'my business, your business, G-d's business' - and when we get caught trying to sort out 'your' or 'G-d's", we suffer. Only when we focus squarely on "my business" can we have impact, make change and heal. So as long as you are stuck in the perpetrator's business "he shouldn't be that way/do that stuff" or G-d's business "Things like this shouldn't happen", we are stuck and we will suffer. When we focus in on our own "business" and discover more about that, one level of freedom follows quickly after another. So it doesn't help me to investigate why the dog is a biting dog, or why the owner doesn't lock the gate, because i have no power over these things. Me walking in through that gate - on the every day level it's a mistake anyone could make and I should never ever ever be blamed. But on a soul level I had my reasons. (And I bit myself, using the dog to accomplish that). When I can find them, I am free.

...Also free from having to repeat that situation in other ways in order to find those reasons and the gift behind them. And THAT's important. I'm sure you are aware of the phenomenon of abused women being abused and attacked again and again. They can never be really safe again as long as they remain imprisoned in victim. That's not to say they are to blame. It's just how the dynamic seems to work.

And that may also be why the men get obsessed about trying to clumsily force the woman out of victim role. On some level he intuits that she is in continued danger.

"When a child stays quiet after being molested/rape, they are certainly making a choice...not to be molested or raped but certainly to keep the peace or not be made the center of attention/cause trouble or not endanger other family members "
And some of this may also be the child's "reason" for "choosing" to get molested in the first place. Kids can be the most horrific kinds of masochistic heroes sometimes. As adults we need to be careful to take full responsibility for ourselves so they don't try rescue us... Forgive me if this is too personal but I can't help wondering whether your molestation happened before or after what happened to your mom, if it wasn't part of thier unresolved stuff, trying to express an energy they weren't dealing with effectively.

"I really want to go see The Work in person..."
Hope you do. She is quite wonderful, and very inspiring. Like anyone she has her limitations, (intellectually I have seen her once, but just once, backed into a corner,) but they are few by ordinary standards and she has such a wonderful presence, with so much love. But even then the most useful thing is not to watch, but to work. I go to a circle that meets every few months to do this work together for just an hour, and I get more out of that than out of watching or reading BK.
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#8 of 13 Old 04-21-2006, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello again : )
"sorry I am so long winded. It's my wish to be really clear" You meet my needs for being communicated with in a loving, inclusive way with lots of clarity. Exactly my style and exactly my need too : )
Thank you for your wonderful response which really makes so much sense to me that I believe I get it now!
Thank you for talking about category error again. I think I was vague about it at first but I am grasping it a bit better. There are two levels...soul and concious...that makes better sense.
"One thing I have noticed with many men is they have this primal and often totally unconscious belief that they need to protect 'their' women."
How incredibly insightful of you : ) When my fiance and I were discussing this topic, he reacted with anger when I said, "It would break my heart if my son was ever molested." He said he doesn't want me to be a victim at the mercy of a perpetrator (or my son either). I believe you are right. He loves me..he has a hard time with the idea of me having to take away my own pain (although he is a big BK advocate, it's hard when it's someone you love and want to protect).
"Forgive me if this is too personal but I can't help wondering whether your molestation happened before or after what happened to your mom" Not too personal...not here in this place : ) I've been a member of these forums for almost 5 years now and I feel very safe here and with our community.
I was molested before her rape, as was my sister. Same molester (grandfather). My mom and dad knew about it. They continued to take us there for visits (even an occasional overnighter) and told me to protect myself and my younger sister. I'm not sure why. I think my dad was distracted with work issues (consecutive lay-offs over the years) and my mom was in a bit of denial. I know they love(d) us.
Grandpa stopped with me because I was loud enough to voice dissent and use evasion tactics. My sister was very shy and quiet as a child and he continued to molest her until she was 13 yrs old. I think he was offering her money and gifts that tempted her and luring her back into vulnerable positions. She did eventually speak up to someone outside of the family (a school counselor) and CPS came in. They gave us the choice whether to press charges or not (it was in the early 80's...I think laws were different) and my parents let us decide...we didn't because we were worried about what would happen to grandma (she was sick and emotionally delicate).
I tell you this not to play the victim. I am not a victim. I tell you this to give you insight about why I do feel it's important as you said to always hold a perpetrator accountable. I don't believe that children have the skills to defend them all of the time.
I do love and forgive my parents. I have a very cherished relationship with my dad (we just don't talk about religion or politics ) and I did with mom too (she's dead now).
So, thank you...Je'anna. Your words are a gift that really have helped me and I am appreciative.
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#9 of 13 Old 04-22-2006, 02:04 PM
 
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"Not too personal...not here in this place : ) I've been a member of these forums for almost 5 years now and I feel very safe here and with our community."
Nice for a newbie like me to hear

"My mom and dad knew about it. They continued to take us there for visits (even an occasional overnighter) and told me to protect myself and my younger sister"
Wow, that's a big job for a little person, when four whole adults between them couldn't manage it! A load like that could break a little back. Or make it very very strong.

"I tell you this not to play the victim."
At no point have you sounded to me like a victim. And if at any point you did identify as victim, I believe that would be an understandable, normal and often necessary stage in your healing, just like anger would be. BK encourages people to get right into their mucky yucky judgmental low vibrational beliefs and do the work from there - otherwise it doesn't actually get down there where that stuff is and allow it to really transform. After 'working' for a while I found it tempting to bypass that and jump in at the shallower end that looks like I have more sorted already, is kind of more spiritually sophisticated. But I find that she's right: it works best when I am willing to get intimate with my un-evolved bits that I feel ashamed of even admitting to. Then the transformation can be PROFOUND

"There are two levels...soul and concious...that makes better sense."
(Understand this is me explaining - BK is not fond of this sort of abstraction)And the extent to which soul level can inform the conscious level, there's empowerment and healing and peace. But that happens as a process, not an intellectual decision. BK always warns people about jumping steps in the process just because they are experienced and think they can see where it's leading. She's insistent that unless every step is walked and walked with deliberation and deep encounter, the benefit will not be gained. Maybe that's why she calls it 'The Work" and not "The Insight"

A closing thought for you - if the perp were to sit in the chair with BK to work, I am guessing he would be challenged to tackle his own 'business', not blame the victim or G-d, his mother or anyone else in terms of 'I was made that way'. But he would be met with exactly the same compassion and love and acknowledgement that he did the best he could at the time. How does that idea make you feel?
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#10 of 13 Old 04-23-2006, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi again,
I only have a couple of minutes today but wanted to respond.
Yes, I think the experience made my back very strong...definitely did not break it
I think that we are all human. None of us perfect. Doing the best we can, even if it is with warped perception, an ill mind, poor skills, unharnessed anger etc etc.
However, while I understand why a person might hurt another, I also know that you don't have to continue to be hurt. I wrote my grandfather a letter explaining that I understand that he is not perfect and I understand that he has offered a lot of positive things to the people and world around him, I would not be taking my son to visit him. And I wished him luck.
That is how I feel about the idea.
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#11 of 13 Old 04-24-2006, 11:19 AM
 
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Awesome. Then I think you will manage fine with a BK intensive.

I keep noticing you are a 'vegan mama' and want to ask you some advice about diet for my 8 mos baby, when I can start adding some ground almonds to his solids, how to tackle proteins and fats etc, given that I am not keen to give him meat and am avoiding egg and dairy becuase of family allergies, but I gather it is not appropriate to do that here? How do we go aobut this?
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#12 of 13 Old 04-26-2006, 12:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Je'anna!

I'm sorry I've taken a bit to respond...I'm a WOHM and it's been crazy here in the office.
I believe there are many protein/fats that are vegan. Regarding nuts, I know that some prefer to wait. If you are looking for proteins that aren't nuts, most babies love chunks of tofu cut into squares. I also buy spirulina powder (BIG source of protein) and mix a little in to applesauce, cereals and smoothies. Warning...it will turn most things kelly green LOL It's full of all kinds of vitamins too.
Avocados are a big staple in our house...I've been giving them to my little one since he had no teeth
I also grind flax seed in a coffee grinder and add to baked good, pancakes and such. There are a good source of fat and omegas.
Another good vegetarian fat source of omega is hemp seed. They are amazingly tasty seeds...kind of soft too like ground cashews I think.
We can't forget beans either : ) Legumes for that matter are a good source of protein...little babies can eat blended beans.
A good source of info is www.vegfamily.com
One good article:

http://www.vegfamily.com/babies-and-...food-guide.htm

I put this here since you asked and I'm happy to respond in more detail if you pm me. Our nutrition boards here at Mothering are good...you will find many varying opinions about nutrition and what works best for each person's family.

Thank you again for all of your loving responses!
My fiance has lent me his 9 CD Byron Katie set...I've been listening in the car on the way to work

Love,
Mel.
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#13 of 13 Old 04-27-2006, 03:05 PM
 
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Thanks a million - that gives me lots to start with. will indeed visit the nutrition page for more detailed q's soonish.

Enjoy the BK. Let me know how it goes
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