Fans of The Secret: Don't Blame the Victim

  • Posted on: 11 March 2007
  • By: mokshalom

I was at an EFT seminar yesterday. Overall, the seminar was very well done, but I was a bothered by how much this "Law of Attraction" meme has begun to infect the self-help world. The teacher, an avowed fan of The Secret, spent quite a bit of time explaining how the world was our "mirror" and if anything bad happened to us, it's because we created it inside first.

A woman in the audience shared with everyone how she was afraid to be successful because she had been the victim of an attack due to being attractive. Since that attack, she has downplayed her looks and tried to be less noticeable.

The teacher, in response to this, led everyone through an EFT exercise, in which he had us all state something along the lines "If I have been attacked, it's because I was attacking myself."

I was very disturbed by this. I have no idea if this woman's attack had been a rape or not, but as a long-time feminist, anyone even vaguely suggesting that a woman has brought a rape upon herself brings my hackles up.

My biggest concern is that in an environment where you are processing a lot of energy using a tool like EFT, you could inadvertently bring up deep emotional stuff for someone. Coupled with the "blame the victim" ("the world is a mirror") idea...well, you could end up upsetting someone very deeply. This could manifest as feelings of extreme guilt or worse coming up for the student afterwards.

I feel such blanket judgments on people are very irresponsible and one of the reasons why I am critical of the Law of Attraction. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, because, well, there are bad people in the world. I know that's not a pleasant thought, that we can't control everyone else, but it's the truth. The best we can do is try to protect ourselves. Take a self-defense class. Strengthen ourselves spiritually and physically. Get a deep connection with God.

Ultimately, your physical body is not who you really are anyway. As a spiritual being, your best defense against the problems of the world is to remember who you really are: an eternal being of love.

P.S. Here is an excellent article on this subject...this author speaks for me:

The Hubris of 'The Secret'

Comments

Thank for all your posts on the Law of Attraction. As an abuse survivor, I'm disaffected by the blame the victim tendencies generated by foundational beliefs in the Law of Attraction. I believe in conscious creation and the interculturual healing arts in a tangible, manifest sense.

However, I understand it's a great blessing to be in the position to consciously create. Many people are not.
As a domestic violence and childhood abuse survivor, I wasn't always in that position, I was crushed under the thumb of the abuser's Law of Absolute Violence and Tyranny.

There is greivous abuse and oppression of defenseless adults and children worldwide. Those people are at the mercy of someone else's Laws, not their own.

People are starving to death, not because they "attracted" it, but because we live in a broken world with a broken chain of humanity.

I will post more of my thoughts on the Law of Attraction on my blog soon, with an emphasis on the suffering of children.

I fear the LOA can lead to toxic and destructive victim blaming.

Stephanie,

You totally hit the nail on the head and described exactly what some of my reservations about "The Secret" are--namely, the whole "blame the victim" mentality. However, I actually do think there is some truth to the idea of the world being a mirror for ourselves--or perhaps more aptly, for lessons we have yet to learn.

When I think of this, I think of Viktor Frankl, the deeply inspiring author of "Man's Search for Meaning." Frankl lived the kind of life that exists in people's worst nightmares; he was a concentration camp survivor during WW2 and suffered from a number of absolutely disgusting indignities. But rather than dwell on his suffering, he and other people he knew learned to open their hearts to astonishing levels of love and compassion, even in the midsdt of war, even in the midst of death and hatred and struggle. He learned to master his circumstances by drawing on the limitless store of inner peace that resides in each and every one of us, not by refuting the external circumstances that very few people would have the courage and strength to live through.

After reading Frankl's account, it made me wonder whether his wisdom and profound awareness of his highest self would have been possible without his experience at Auschwitz. I have read lots of accounts that describe the struggles we encounter in our daily lives as lessons that we must wrestle with, at the behest of our higher selves. So every hardship is, in fact, a blessing in disguise because it can lead us to our truest, most essential beings. In this sense, perhaps it is true that on some level, we attract all the difficulties we have in our lives, from who our families are to the addictions we struggle with. But it isn't because we're bad or stupid or hate ourselves--it's more of an intentional (perhaps karmic) thing that we do in order to realize our own limitlessness, even (and especially) in the face of adversity.

I think the problem with "The Secret" is that it limits the big picture to a "blame the victim" game without thinking of the wider ramifications of the struggles we encounter and how they can lead us to heal, to love, to accept ourselves and others deeply and completely. After all, suffering in any way can lead us to compassion and wisdom because we learn to see past the surface of what we think is going on, and into the very face of truth.