Hyper-Vigilance and Empire Consciousness: On Being Targeted

When you are bullied, you are never free.  You are not likely to be spontaneous, carefree, and enjoy life.  You are on guard all the time.  In one’s mind is:  “When is the next beating going to happen?  Which way is safest to walk home?  Who do I need to stay away from?”

These constant worries provide feelings of anxiety, fear, and rage.  However, since other people don’t seem to care that much, it would not help to let people know how unsafe, vulnerable and scared one really is.  Repressed feelings compound each other.

Being a target of bullies takes away the freedom of being a child, a person,  being open to new experiences, being free.  Trust is limited.  Who can one trust?  Does anyone really care?  It is a feeling of being alone, being totally alone in the pain and suffering, the anticipation of physical or emotional pain, and the never-ending need to strategize.  And never feeling really safe.

Hyper-vigilance becomes a lifestyle.  This is true of any one who is persecuted because of his or her religion, race, size, weight, sexual orientation, age, etc.  Being watched, being judged, and being singled out as “the target,” the one who needs to disappear.  Bullies get a “high” from terrorizing victims.  In the bully’s warped mind, the destruction of the victim means that somehow the bully’s life will be better.  But it never is better, or the bully would stop the bullying behavior.

Hitler convinced the Germans that the Jews were the cause of their economic issues and social problems.  Eradicate the Jews, and the problems will be over.  But what if the victims are dead, and the problems still persist.  Then, find another victim to blame for one’s negative life. 

People who terrorize others are in deep emotional pain.  They also have the narcissism and grandiosity of an unloved infant.  So, one can’t reason with a bully.  Nothing one can say or do will end the bully’s need to prove something — like adequacy or superiority.  Bully shame is always there.  So, the bully projects that shame onto the victim.  Victim shame comes from believing that one brought this on oneself.  

This whole dynamic is reinforced by the denial that such bullying exists.  An example of this is racial profiling.  Many do not believe that walking, biking, or driving while being Black, for example, is reason to be harassed, pulled over, and searched.  This happens daily to those who are oppressed.

This is part of human nature, and comes from a kind of thinking I call Empire Consciousness.  This means that someone has to make it to the top at the expense of someone who really deserves to be at the bottom.  Racial minorities, immigrants, women, children — all are victimized by Empire Consciousness.

Until this consciousness changes to Oneness Consciousness, oppression of others will continue to exist.

Fear, shame, and hyper-vigilance become part of fabric of society.

© 2020 Dr. Michael Obsatz, all rights reserved
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