The Victim Archetype

Guardian of Self-Esteem

“…nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! ”  

– Rocky Balboa

The Lens of the Victim

Adult son:        So, you nervous about the fight?

Father:               I’m scared to death.

Son:                     You don’t look scared

Father:               Well aint suppose to

Son:                     You don’t have to do it.

Father:               Well ya know I think I do.

Living with you hasn’t been easy. People see me, but they think of you. Now with this going on, it will be worse than ever…
.This is only going to get bad for you and this will only get bad for me!

Father:               You think I’m hurting you?

Yah, in a way you are. I know that’s the last thing you want to do that’s the way it is. Don’t you care what people think? Doesn’t it bother you people are making you out to be a joke and that I’m going to be included in that? Do you think that’s right? Do you?!

The Rocky series demonstrates our human connection to root for these underdogs fighting to survive. Witnessing how Robert manages his victimization, models how you can recognize and work through your own weaknesses, show resiliency of the human spirit and become victorious over our personal challenges as we confront our fears. 

The Victim Archetype template:

The Victim archetype deals with issues of boundary violation, that evokes strong emotions that calls an individual into action. How the Victim rebuilds and maintains her boundaries will depend on her self-esteem. 

Motivation: Not to be victimized again, survival.

 The Gifts of the Light and Shadow: The Light/positive aspects of the Victim archetype empowers the individual to overcome difficult events and situations.  The Shadow/negative aspects can disempower you and lock you into fear, anger, and suffering. Being conscious of how the light and Shadow responds offers you the gift of choice.  How do you rebuild and maintain your boundaries?


Shadow – Disempowering Attributes

  • Blames others when things do not work out
  • Dependent on others to resolve problems
  • Self-pity mindset to get attention or avoid responsibilities
  • Indecisive
  • Feels helpless/hopeless
  • Easy prey or being bullied or may bull others

Light- Empowering Attributes

  • Takes responsibility
  • Feels empowered
  • Forgives and let’s go
  • Assertive, Victorious and Self-assured
  • Self-disciplined
  • Independent
  • I can do this!
  • Victorious

The Lessons for the Victim Archetype: 

  • the ability to manage your emotions and stand up to your fears
  • the ability to rebuild your boundaries while at the same time not crossing other people’s boundaries because you may be angry or frustrated due to your own circumstances.
  • The ability to move from victim to empowered self and rebuild self-esteem
  • Learn to build confidence

Reflection:  Victim to Victor.  There will be events or moments where you feel victimized, this is part of the human experience. Reflect for a moment how you respond to situations when people judge you, insult you, or don’t take notice of you? How do you act when you don’t get your way? A moment of truth, to effect change is always available to you at any time. Essential keys to keep in mind:

  • Be conscious of your decisions and be in the present moment. The shadow victim will lure you into the past, wishing for a different outcome and will lock you into pain.
  • Let go of the need to know why things happen as they do.
  • Remember to set healthy boundaries for yourself and do not let other people take advantage of you.
  • Reflect how you interact with others. How do you interpret conversations where you see someone victimizing you?
  • Victim Archetype guards your Self-Esteem. Apply strategies that boost self-confidence by working toward small achievable goals. As you achieve each of these small step, challenge yourself to a slightly harder goal.
  • Chose behaviors that respects you and others. Do you see yourself as a victimizer?

Character Analysis: From the Victim to the Victor.

Robert: Rocky’s Son

Internal Struggle:  Robert’s perception of his father’s legacy has broken into his own boundaries of the person he is trying to become. He feels overshadowed and unseen by many which victimizes him.  As evidenced in their dialogue and emotions played on screen, he is filled with fear and anger. Fear of not being able to survive the humiliation if Rocky loses and anger for his father who he feels has prevented him from living a life of his own.

Robert’s victim energy blames his father for his circumstances, blames people for not recognizing him for his own efforts and as a result his self-esteem is affected.  But he also knows his father loves him which is why he struggles. Deep inside there’s a sense he knows that it is not about his father but himself. He struggles to emerge to become a victor like his father.  Viewers see that Robert must grow up to become responsible for himself. Does this character see this as well? Can you see it within yourself when you continue to blame others for life’s circumstances?

Rocky Balboa 

The character of Rocky Balboa has experiences of hardships in his earlier movies. Life has beaten him down due to poverty, being called a “bum” due to lack of book smarts and being underrated and overlooked. But he takes responsibility each step of the way and makes the decision to get up every day and keep going.  He channels his fear and anxiety by showing up and doing the work. The montage of his exercise keeps him physically and mentally strong.

He seeks out the priest for spiritual blessings and of course his wife for emotional support.  Keep showing up in life and keep working hard. Rocky shows compassion and forgiveness and let’s go of anger towards what life had initially given to him.

Rocky exhibits a positive aspect of the Victim archetype because his self-esteem remains high despite life weighing him down. This allows him to go the distance.   Rocky’s response to Robert’s anger demonstrates a Victim who becomes a Victor:

I’d hold you up to say to your mother, “This kid’s gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid’s gonna be somebody better than anybody I ever knew.” And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watching you, every day was like a privilege. Then the time come for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you, you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow.

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!

I’m always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, ya ain’t gonna have a life. Don’t forget to visit your mother.

Remy Nirschl
—— About Remy Nirschl:
Remy is a writer, a mother to two wonderful souls, and a soul companion to her husband of nearly 25 years. Propelled into the autism journey in 2004 with the diagnosis of her son, this lead Remy to journey within as she experienced great losses and challenges. Trained in Caroline Myss “Sacred Contract”, this modality has given her the tools for clarity and empowerment. Remy is called into service as an Archetypal Consultant mentoring individuals in their soul journey.
Want to learn more about your other Archetypal Patterns?  Read more….

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