The victim gland

A humorous columnist, while commenting about the ever-increasing expenditure on healthcare, noted that too many people seem to be suffering from an enlarged “victim gland”. These otherwise well-meaning people prefer to believe that physical health is something that’s controllable only to a very limited extent – the most horrible diseases can strike at any given time, so don’t dare to hold them responsible for their health! Although the remark was tongue-in-cheek, in psychology this is a well-known dynamic. Seeing yourself as the victim of forces beyond your control provides for a seemingly valid excuse not to take responsibility. This can be responsibility for your health, for your income, for your relationships, etc. Many personal development programs focus mainly on fueling your own motivation to take responsibility for actively improving such areas of your life.

In A Course in Miracles, this is a key notion as well, only here it deals with guarding our own thoughts. In (T-26.X.4) we read: “Beware of the temptation to perceive yourself unfairly treated. In this view, you seek to find an innocence that is not Theirs (God’s and Christ’s) but yours alone, at the cost of someone else’s guilt.” This ‘someone else’ can include your spouse, your parents, the government, or even minute bacteria; you name it. And in the final chapter in the Textbook, we again read about our perceived “face of innocence” (T-31.V.3): “the world is wicked and unable to provide the love and shelter innocence deserves. And so this face [of innocence] is often wet with tears at the injustices the world accords to those who would be generous and good.” Again, we silently shout: “don’t dare to hold me responsible for my lack of happiness!”

Peel one layer off, and we’ll find the real psychological viciousness that this face of innocence covers: (T31.V.5): “Beneath the face of innocence is a lesson that the concept of the self was made to teach. […] The lesson is this: ‘I am the thing you made of me, and as you look upon me, you stand condemned because of what I am’. On this conception of the self the world smiles with approval, for it guarantees the pathways of the world are safely kept, and those who walk on them will not escape. Here is the central lesson that ensures your brother is condemned eternally.” God will regard me as the innocent victimized soul; I will be accepted back to Heaven and others will be punished. The ego par excellence!

We all suffer from an enlarged victim gland, or so we secretly believe about ourselves, ensuring we can keep enjoying our individual little self. You can tell this is true by your own progress in applying the message of A Course in Miracles, or, if you’re not an ACIM student, your progress in your own personal or spiritual development. Yes, you would be much further on your Journey already, if it hadn’t been for [insert a dozen valid reasons here]. The bottom line is that we don’t follow through simply because we are so incredibly attached to our individual little self! As author Joe Dispenza challenges each of us: “Ask yourself honestly: who would you be without your problems?” Our imperfections define our individuality, as painful as this may be at times.

One of the major learning goals of ACIM, indeed of most spiritualities, is to completely reverse the thought system in our mind: to begin to realize that the ego that we so cherish leads to nothing but misery, while accepting the guidance of Jesus (or the Holy Spirit) leads inevitably to the inner peace “that is not of this world” (meaning non-duality, outside time and space). Enlarging the victim gland is our choice for littleness; completely forgetting the victim gland is a choice to accept our collective Self as Extension of God’s Love as our ultimate Identity. That’s why Jesus remarks in (W-133.2): “You do not ask too much of life, but far too little”. Or, quoting Marianne Williamson: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure”, to which I add: but without an individual self. That’s the terror.

Once we seriously realize how much we’re attached to our individual victim gland, feelings of guilt usually surface. “What a lousy spiritual learner I turn out to be”, we sigh in depression. Cheer up! As Ken Wapnick repeatedly remarks, this is a great point to reach once we realize that this is simply the ego’s next strategy to keep us from awakening. If we have unmasked the ego’s victimization brainwash, it’ll find other ways to sustain our feelings of guilt, thereby making sure we’ll keep preferring individuality. Learn to be gentle about your distress! As you progress with A Course in Miracles, you learn to not let guilt depress you, but to switch on the observer “above the battleground”, and gently smile lightheartedly at this silliness. it’s a very common “disorder” that we all share, and that’s easily ‘cured’ simply by giving up attack thoughts and making room for the voice of the Holy Spirit. Once you practice following up on His advice (ask Him as often as possible during the day), you’ll never feel victimized again.

Also see my seven “guidelines for living in an illusory world” in “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles”. This guidebook is published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is now available at


“Miracles or murder” has been endorsed by Gary Renard and Cindy Lora-Renard: “Jan-Willem’s book is a wonderful summary and recap of the key concepts in A Course in Miracles, furthering one’s understanding and meaning behind this non-dualistic teaching. All the essential elements are brought together with the author pointing out a key theme in the Course, which is the understanding and practice of true Forgiveness. We highly recommend this book as a helpful complement to the teachings of the Course.”

This blog aims at further clarifying the message of this guidebook. It is hoped this will help to speed up your spiritual journey Home.

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