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Society's Victim Mindset

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posted on Feb, 14 2007 @ 10:30 AM
Almost everyone is a victim of something. Whether it's happening now, happened in your childhood, on 9/11/2001 or 400 years ago. We all (individually, societally and culturally) have situations in our lives or in our past that have a direct effect on our lives today.

Adopting a "Victim Mind-set" around these circumstances is so dangerous to us individually and as a society. Yet I see more and more people falling into the chasm of that mentality and I'm concerned that our society as a whole will be swallowed up by it.

I believe that the government would love for us all to become completely dependent on them, for that dependence gives them the 'upper hand' and would enable them to have complete control. A person or society that chooses to be a victim, blaming someone or something else for their situation, gives over complete control to that someone or something else. After all, if "they" put me here and they're keeping me here, "they" have the controls over my life.

That's a Victim Mindset.

On the other hand, if we examine our choices (and yes, there are always choices) we can begin to make the necessary evolution toward a mindset of accountability or empowerment, either personal or societal. For accountability is the opposite victimhood. Accountability is where the real power lies. A person (or society) that operates from a position of accountability holds the reins of their future and has control over their lives.

The only "downside" in eliminating one's Victim Mindset is that we no longer blame other people or circumstances for what happens in our lives. Instead, we respond to the circumstances before us. We observe and respond. We have response-ability (the ability to respond).

The "upside" of full accountability is a feeling of power and control over one's destiny. And I gladly give up the 'security of blaming' for the position of power. Giving up blame and replacing it with accountability is a life-altering decision and brings about a position of true autonomy and freedom.

But how do we go about giving up our victim mentality that we've grown so comfortable with? Read this beautiful and inspiring example of Sojourner Truth, a woman who, even though she was clearly a victim, refused to adopt the "Victim Mentality" stance.

Elimnating Our Own Victim Mentality

Refusing to think like a victim:

Sojourner Truth, an African American woman who escaped slavery and was a strong abolition activist, attended the National Women's Suffrage Convention in Akron, Ohio, where she delivered her powerful "Ain't I a Woman?" speech.

Only women were allowed to speak and she was such a powerful speaker that an effort was made by opponents of the movement to discredit her by humiliating her. She was ordered to go to the women's room and bare her breast to prove that she was a woman.

Sojourner Truth was offered a choice between not speaking and being humiliated. But she refused to stay in the confines of that "no-win" choice. She refused to think like a victim. She chose to speak — and as she went to the women’s room to "prove" she was a woman, she said with power and grace, "It is to your shame, not mine, that I do this."

My God! What power! Even under the circumstances of victimhood, SHE made the choice of total personal accountability and robbed her 'victimizers' of the power that they tried to assert over her.

A victim mindset would posit that she didn't have a choice in the matter. But Sojourner Truth saw her choices (either don't speak or bare your breasts and then speak) and she made the choice. In fact, she made the more difficult choice and her victimizers weren't counting on that. They thought they could shut her up.

But she prevailed and SHE was in control!

The problem:

We slip easily into victim mentality when we try to get exactly what we want in less than ideal circumstances
and when we can't, we allow ourselves to be trapped in no-win choices. Often, we aren't even willing to consider any choice other than the ideal choice. When we are in victim mentality, we don’t see the range of choices we have and we wallow in resentment. We feel helpless.

The solution:

In order to eliminate our victim mentality, we must:
1. Start by accepting the reality of the situation instead of trying to achieve the ideal.
2. Find the best choice available within the reality of the circumstances, and then
3. Accept that choice instead of resenting it.

I had no choice but to...

No matter what situation in life you are in, there are choices. I've heard people say that they were in a bad situation in life and they had tried everything to make it work but they just weren't happy. Finally they realized that they "had no choice" but to leave (or quit or submit or whatever). The point is they felt that they "had no choice". That's total victim mentality. There are always choices. You may not want the results of the choices, they may not be ideal, but it's important to realize the choices and choose one! Because then you are responsible for the choice and the outcome. No one else to 'blame'. There is only personal responsibility and accountability. And they belong to you!

Don't confuse "responsibility" and "blame" as used here. Responsibility just means that I brought about the result with my choices. No fault or blame is involved. Sojourner Truth brought about the result of speaking to her people because of her choice.

Blame is making the result someone else's fault. She didn't "blame" her victimizers for not allowing her to speak. She made her choice and she refused to give them that power over her.

The Part Forgiveness Plays

The most powerful thing a person can do is forgive their victimizer. All the anger and resentment we carry around on our shoulders and in our hearts only weighs us down. It doesn't bother the victimizer(s) at all.

How would you answer this question: I am out of my abuse and have moved on with my life... How and when does the abuse stop playing a significant part of my life? I have seen others who have moved on and I would like to know how they did it.

The woman who asked this, asked a valid question. There are many men, women and children who no longer are victims, but feel like they cannot leave it behind. It stays as much a part of themselves as it did while they were being abused. The only difference may be there is no physical or emotional abuse happening in their worlds.

It may seem impossible to forgive someone who did something terrible to us, but forgiveness doesn't mean that we approve of what they did and it doesn't make it right, instead it frees us up to move on. Continuing to play the role of a victim even after the abuse is over gives total power to the abuser and locks us into a stagnant position making forward movement impossible.

When she was living under the victim mentality she found herself angrier. She found herself swirling in a sea of resentment towards her abuser. She stayed locked in that cycle and never seemed to move forward... Life is easier when you can play the blame game. The blame game makes it easy for your life not to move forward or for you to grow.

The blame game also always insures that there's someone to blame when something in your life doesn't go exactly the way you had planned. Don't like how something in your life worked out? You can always find a way to blame someone if you carry the victim mentality:

- My marriage fell apart because my father never told me he loved me and I couldn't accept love from my husband. Clearly, this person's father abused her in some way. But because she hasn't forgiven him, she carries that abuse into every aspect of her life. Instead of letting go of her father's abuse (by forgiving him) and taking responsibility for making her marriage work she can fall back on 'blaming' her father for her failed marriage. It's easier than working hard at a marriage (which is HARD work!)

- I didn't get the job because the other applicant was white. This person allows racism to be the controlling factor in their lives. Anytime something happens that doesn't quite match up to their expectations, whether it's true or not, they can blame racism. Instead of forgiving people who practice racism and instead being accountable and responsible for their employment, they always 'blame' the fact that they are a member of a minority. Unfortunately, they may never know that the real reason they didn't get the job was that they didn't make a calm, confident accountable impression on the interviewer.

- I'm afraid to fly since 9/11 so I got fired because I refused to take the business trip. How can they blame me? It's Osama's fault! This person is blaming fear for losing her job. Since 9/11, she has been unable and unwilling to forgive whoever destroyed those buildings and every situation in life that requires her to step out, challenge herself or take a risk is now halted because of that nagging fear that she carries around with her. Blaming her fear makes it so she doesn't have to take the risks that get people ahead in life and keeps her stagnant and prevents her from moving forward.

It is my hope that one by one, people will decide to make the choice to leave the victim mindset completely behind and replace it with a position of accountability, responsibility and empowerment. Because if we continue to default into the victim mindset and let other people and other circumstances dictate our choices, we will soon be a nation completely under the power of its government and the wealthy corrupt.

Thank you for reading this.

[edit on 14-2-2007 by Benevolent Heretic]

posted on Feb, 14 2007 @ 11:45 AM
Powerful words. Well said.

This "victim mentality" is something that I am trying to overcome myself. A first hand experience that happened to me yesterday. I was cruising along on my way home from a little weekend trip, and I was pulled over for speeding. I received a $272 fine for my actions. Of course I was upset and quickly began to point fingers. It was a minute or two later that I grew silent, and embarrassed. Here I was pointing fingers at the officer when it was I who was guilty of wrong doing. I chose to speed and I must suffer the consequences that come with these actions. Not everybody has a choice in the wrongdoing that may happen to them, but the choice does exist in how we deal with it.

The victim of murder, assault, or rape had no choice in what happened to them. But they do have a choice in how they deal with it.

As BH has said, so well I might add, that it is up to us as the individual to let go of this blame game. We are not necessarily to blame for all of our own actions, but blaming everyone else does nothing to reconcile the suffering. If anything, it continues to hurt our self and our own suffering will continue until we can release it. Some of the greatest individuals in our history are who they are, because they refused to play the role of the victim. They took the hand they were dealt, and they dealt with it. They refused to point fingers and blame others for their suffering, they accepted their reality and moved on with it.

I think the problem with this, is that victims do exist. We can not fault a young woman who was just raped for being a victim. It is her right to decide how she deals with it, and if she wishes to point fingers, so be it. Ideally we would assist in the process of providing restitution and alleviate her pain, but that decision would be hers alone to make. Not everyone is prepared to make that decision.

The problem that does exist though, is in those who go out of their own way to victimize themself. Those that can not see past the ends of their own nose, and comprehend how minuscule of their issues actually are. While some people fight for the crust of bread, others are crying over spilled milk. Victimizers of this sort really boil my blood.

I think I'll stop here because I see this being a great discussion, and I'll save a few points for later when it progresses a little more. BH, well said. Thought-Provoking.

posted on Feb, 14 2007 @ 12:14 PM

"Jewish proponents of the 'victim' card are aware not only of its social effectiveness but of its usefulness as a means of insuring Jewish solidarity and, hence, survival. If we were forever hated by all and are doomed to be forever hated by all, then we'd best stick together and make the best of it...Personally, I have never found this view of the eternally-hating gentile to have any resemblance with reality. It seems a myth, pure and simple, and an ugly one at that.

"Is it a good means of social control? Perhaps, but at what cost?

Victimology may not be without it's benifits ?

posted on Feb, 14 2007 @ 12:28 PM

Originally posted by chissler
I think the problem with this, is that victims do exist.

This is a very important point, I think. In MOST cases, when a person adopts a victim mentality, it's because they actually are or were a victim! It's an easy position to take, because it's true! And it's justifiable because everyone can see and agree that they are a victim. And people will sympathize and 'attend' to one in a justified victim position.

It's very hard to let go of that valid victimhood for the more difficult position of accountability. I know well how difficult it is. But a person who stays in victimhood because it's "legitimate" still robs himself of the benefits of losing the victim mentality and accepting total accountability instead.

In my previous example, Sojourner Truth (don't you LOVE that name?) WAS a victim. She would have been totally justified to take on the role of victim. She was told what to do and she was held by the power of the rules of those around her. They decided that she had to prove herself a woman to "allow" her to speak. And even though she operated within their rules, she refused to let them 'win' by refusing the victim mindset.

But if she had accepted that role, we wouldn't be taking about her today. Nor Helen Keller, Joseph Merrick (the Elephant Man), Rosa Parks, Beethoven, Stephen Hawking, Lou Gehrig. All of these people were at one time or another TRUE victims of either circumstance or other people and they all chose to discard the seductive victim mentality and move through their circumstances and be great and powerful people.

As for those who chose to stay in victimhood, we probably will never hear about them...

posted on Feb, 14 2007 @ 01:10 PM

Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
As for those who chose to stay in victimhood, we probably will never hear about them...

I, nor anyone else, could possibly say it any better. That is it right there. Reading that one quote makes me want to stand up, fire my fists in the air, and just let an ear-shattering bellow out. Not really sure why, as it does not seem very relevant. But it is an attempt to equate what that quote actually did for me.

Normally when I come across threads like this, even if I agree, I attempt to disagree on some points. Hell, just to have a discussion on the matter. After a few pages I'll admit my intentions and walk away from the thread with a better understanding. But on this matter, and the way you have presented it, I could not disagree on any aspect. It in the frustration, anger, hostility, hatred, etc., that a victim endures that has to be released. Yes, the victim of a rape has the right to their moment. But at some point it is up to that person to alleviate themself from this burden and face the issue.

Looking at the examples you have provided, Keller, Gehrig, Parks, Beethoven, Hawking, etc., we do not equate these names as a victim. We feel no pity for them, or even sympathize with them. We envy them. Envy! Their suffering, disabilities, etc., take a back seat to their accomplishments.

I think half of what this problem is, is the attention that comes with the label. If something horrible happens to me, then I am going to be consumed with sympathy, pity, etc., which all come with a level of attention that I may not of experienced previously. Some will thrive under this attention and do what they can to maintain it. I think it is here where individuals begin to victimize themself. The role of the victim is what had them garnering this attention, so it is only this role that they know. They fail to see how people are actually perceiving them over time.

I am quite certain BH, that in the run of my day to day life, your quote will be mentioned. I won't stake claim on it, merely state that I heard it from a "reliable source". Others that are not familiar with ATS may not grasp why anyone would name their child Benevolent Heretic.

posted on Feb, 14 2007 @ 05:30 PM
I'd like to explore further the idea of victimhood, not of an individual, but of groups of people. This is where my concern for our society at large lies.

Victims vs. Victimhood

Consider the example of a woman who is beaten by her husband. She is clearly a 'victim' in the traditional meaning of the word; she deserves both compassion and justice.

But many feminists argue further for the battered woman's 'victimhood.' That is, she is viewed as only one example of the wider oppression all women experience from men and society. She ceases to be a wronged individual and becomes the symbol of a wronged category that includes women who have never experienced violence or may themselves be violent.

The shift from victim to victimhood has important consequences. The primary wrong is no longer inflicted on an individual but upon a group. It is no longer committed by an individual but by another group. The main remedy is not restitution to a person but general reparations to or special protection (privilege) for "the group."
In short, the move from victim to victimhood pushes the individual aside, constructs society into warring groups and argues for political remedies.
How did society lose sight of individual victims and slide into the groupthink of victimhood? Why did people allow themselves and their children to be stigmatized simply because they were male, white, or otherwise the member of a "guilty" category?

It's all well and good to realize our individual victim mentality and to decide to move through it, but what about the victimhood of the larger societal groups? I think we can see how (as the underlined passage above states) the results of the move from victimized individuals to the victimhood of a group (whether the other members of the group are actual victims or not) is a terribly divisive and dangerous phenomenon in our society.

We have seen (and still see) these "warring factions" between men and women, blacks and whites and between different religions. I wonder how we can equalize the potential difference that is built up between these groups... Because as long as our society depends on the paradigm of these victimhood/oppressor group structures, and as long as people buy into the victimhood mindset, we are not equal. We cannot stand united. And most importantly, we cannot work together to resolve the important issues in this country.

posted on Feb, 14 2007 @ 06:14 PM
One of the aspects of a Victim Mindset that I find interesting is the extent to which our society is infused with it.

It is EVERYWHERE. Everything from statements by politicians that "We have no choice but to invade Iraq", to police officers in interviews saying they had "no choice" but to open fire, to individuals saying they have "no choice" but to go to work.

It also permeates our fiction. How often do we see in a movie or television program how somebody says something like: "Lower your shields or we will be forced to open fire!" or some such.

Pardon me? "Forced to open fire"? "Forced to ..." is just another word for "I have no choice but to ...".

So our whole society is full of the Victim Mindset of not recognizing choice. The politicians or police may not like the options, but there is, as the OP says so well, always a choice.

posted on Feb, 14 2007 @ 06:26 PM
I just wanted to say that I love hearing someone say that you always have choices, even if neither option is a good one.

A very long time ago, I was complaining to a therapist about how trapped I felt in regards to my work and marriage and I felt that I had no control over my life. He looked me in the eye and said 'If you had your hand caught in a vice, would you ask someone for asprin or would you just remove your hand from that position?'.

That was the moment my life changed for the better and I haven't looked back since.

Edited to add that I was a 'victim' of verbal abuse that was on its way to escalating to physical. Context is always helpful.

[edit on 14-2-2007 by Duzey]

posted on Feb, 14 2007 @ 08:00 PM

...Personally, I have never found this view of the eternally-hating gentile to have any resemblance with reality. It seems a myth, pure and simple, and an ugly one at that.
"Is it a good means of social control? Perhaps, but at what cost?
Victimology may not be without it's benefits ?

Your phrases seem to contradict one another. If you are a gentile, it would be hard for you to see yourself as you truly are and what a catastrophic impact has been inflicted upon the rest of the world by gentile mentality. You do not have to look at history. Look at some of the posts presented on ATS to understand that while some embrace truth, others will pitch a conniption fit if their ideology is challenged one iota. A simple statement will be attacked vehemently without due consideration. All truth is scrutinized and lies seem to run rampant. Think of the Natives (Americans). They taught the newcomers how to survive the winters in the new land. Manhattan was not enough. They took over little by little, and carved out pieces of land and said you can have that. Is it any different with Palestine and Israel? The truth is not weighed by blind justice holding the scale. It is rather authored by greed blinding its opponent and stealing from the scale and then saying look, “mine”, “yours”, and “that’s the way it is folks”.

One of the aspects of a Victim Mindset that I find interesting is the extent to which our society is infused with it.

Social control means that one has to dominate the mindset of another. And why?... while some may suffer with an inferiority complex there are others who suffer with a superiority complex. The benefit some derive from making one a victim is to instill fear in all others who oppose the status quo.

They kill you or try to make you crazy. There are many victims, but, most lick their wounds and rise up. There are those who claim to be helping which reminds me of a movie I saw several years ago, “At Play In The Fields Of The Lord”. No, it is not a overtly religious film. The missionaries came to a remote location in order to preach and infected everyone so that most died. Prior to that, the natives had been living according to their custom in a natural manner.

What about gangs who control the streets throughout America. Sometimes it seems that the government has given them the okay to terrorize neighborhoods. Those are victims who choose differently, but, are stuck with society.

I sing no victim song, but, a battle cry to those who truly want to see a society that has the betterment of the world in mind and serves without bias the commonality of all people. That world is a few dreams away.

Choosing translates to change which means that you recognize something better and are willing to alter your course in order to obtain it. This should be done with integrity and not thievery. You either operate in love or fear.

Look at the world, full of victims. Victims of war torn cities, famine, disease, martyrs for religious reasons, victims of crime, victims of hate. Do you think they chose this? No, no more than a person chose for a storm to ravage their community.

However, glory is not sought; it is placed in the path of one who is striving for God’s kingdom. Snatch it away, and it will remain. Dirty it and it is self cleansing. Cast it aside and it will make a comfortable home wherever it lands. Cut it back and it will produce more. Kill it and answer to God. It is the fuel that fires the choice for change.

As for those who are victimized, I hope the tables will turn soon.

I hope my computer will still be working tomorrow.

posted on Feb, 16 2007 @ 10:04 AM

Originally posted by Siren
Choosing translates to change which means that you recognize something better and are willing to alter your course in order to obtain it. This should be done with integrity and not thievery. You either operate in love or fear.

Very well said!

Look at the world, full of victims. Victims of war torn cities, famine, disease, martyrs for religious reasons, victims of crime, victims of hate. Do you think they chose this? No, no more than a person chose for a storm to ravage their community.

No, they didn't choose it. No one chooses to be a victim (well, rarely). If that's the message you got from the OP, then there's some confusion.

I'm not saying that people choose to be victims (for the most part), I'm saying that a victim can choose to accept or reject the "victim mindset". And living in the victim mentality is seductive. It's very attractive for many reasons:

- People feel sorry for victims
- People help victims and feel more powerful for doing it
- Victims don't have to take responsibility for the outcome of their choices
- Victims don't have to work hard - No one expects them to
- People don't expect much from victims ("Well, you know, she has it pretty hard. We should give her some slack.")
- Being a victim is simply easier than being autonomous and accountable.

When I take full responsibility for everything in my life, I have to "take the blame" if things go wrong and I get to "take the credit" when things go right. Many people blame others for their problems, yet take credit for the good stuff.

It's totally up to the individual if they wish to maintain a "victim mentality" or get out of it.

Self Growth

How can you find out if you are someone who has victim mentality? The first step is to listen to yourself.
Are you blaming others in your life for all the distress in it? Are you not accepting responsibility for your actions? Are you giving some other person the power (by blaming them you are giving them the power) to have control once again in your life? Do you look at life as being unfair to you and that everyone else gets the breaks?
Some thoughts on removing yourself from victim mentality. Anyone who suffers from victim mentality has to come to terms with themselves. They need to look at them self and say, I do screw up at times. I am not perfect. It is not always everyone else's fault. I need to take responsibility for the highs and lows in my life. The other person can only have control if I allow them. By saying it is always them - and never me - I am allowing the control to be gone.

posted on Feb, 17 2007 @ 03:56 PM
You said:

The other person can only have control if I allow them.

You do not have to have a “victim mindset” to become a victim. Governing ones self does not prevent the madness of this world from knocking at your door.

Like an accident. Sometimes it is no ones fault, i.e., weather, road conditions, etc. However, there are occasions when reckless, could care less, self intoxicated individuals are the cause. Therefore there is a victim, but, there also is a victimizer. Let’s talk about those who are victimizers. They have more of a victim mentality than the actual victim. It appears to me that victimizers are the ones with the excuses of why they behave the way they do.

Sluggards, liers, cheaters, thieves, they are the ones who could use some coaching in how to behave and act civilly. If they learned to self govern, there would be less victims.

“Bramble doesn’t rule Cedar”.

People feel sorry for victims

Only for a second.

People help victims and feel more powerful for doing it

I disagree in part, some victims are helped, some are not. I think only a co-dependent mindset would feel powerful for helping someone. I think one should feel a sense of human compassion.

Victims don't have to take responsibility for the outcome of their choices
-Victims don't have to work hard - No one expects them to
-People don't expect much from victims ("Well, you know, she has it pretty hard. We should give her some slack.")
-Being a victim is simply easier than being autonomous and accountable.

The above quotes are absurd, I think you are confusing the term victim with sluggard.

When I take full responsibility for everything in my life, I have to "take the blame" if things go wrong and I get to "take the credit" when things go right.

That is how it should be. The reality is: the sweeter the sweet, the more flies you attract. When you get it right, that is when things go wrong.

we will soon be a nation completely under the power of its government and the wealthy corrupt.

It has already come to that. One has to check self daily to be sure they have not been neurolinguistically programmed.

[edit on 17-2-2007 by Siren]

posted on Feb, 17 2007 @ 04:21 PM

Originally posted by Siren
You do not have to have a “victim mindset” to become a victim.

You're misunderstanding me.
I'm not saying that you become a victim because you have a "victim mindset". I'm not talking about victimology, which is a whole different thing. I'm saying that AFTER you have an accident or AFTER someone rapes you or AFTER you are in a horrendous storm, AFTER you become a victim, you have the choice to go forth in your life with a "victim mindset" or not.

For example: Let's say a woman has a boyfriend and he beats her up. She is a victim, right? Well, she gets out of the relationship, but she decides to NEVER get involved with a man again because of her fear. So she goes about her life, avoiding men, putting off their advances all because of the anger and fear she carries from her first relationship. She has a victim mindset and it prevents her from getting something she really wants: A good healthy relationship.

Only when she sheds her victim mindset and forgives her previous boyfriend and gets rid of the weight of the victim mindset will she be free to move on in her life and get what she wants.

I swear, I don't know how you could be so confused if you read the original post.

Governing ones self does not prevent the madness of this world from knocking at your door.

I know that. You're completely misreading what I'm saying. Please read the first post and the sources.

Let’s talk about those who are victimizers.

I'm not interested in talking about victimizers. There's nothing I can do about them. I only have control over me. If you want to talk about victimology, the study of why people become crime victims, OR victimizers, feel free to start a thread on those, but this is not about either one.

It about dealing with being a victim. It's about how we RESPOND to being made a victim. Individually and societally.

posted on Feb, 17 2007 @ 10:37 PM
GREAT Thread BH!!!!

My question is this....

Why do we automatically assume someone is a victim when something bad happens to them?

It is all relevant is it not? Perhaps something could happen to me that would devastate me, yet the exact same thing Chissler could handle with ease.

It that context, I submit that being a victim is a frame of mind. (I am sure it was stated previously) We can either choose to rise to the occasion and perhaps above our circumstances, or wallow in our own self pity and wonder why the world had picked us to dump on. Taking some famous examples in reference, Christopher Reeves was no victim, although a terrible thing happened to him, he chose to rise above everyones expectations and proceed with his life. Similarly look at Stephen Hawkings, who would dare call one of the greatest minds of our times, a victim.

It is my belief that I will become a victim when I choose to give up. When I relinquish control of my life to another, I will have become the vaunted victim and begin the long slide to wallowing.

I do not see asking for help as being a victim, I do not consider giving help as promoting victims either. (In this context of course)
[Understanding fully that the "base" definition of a victim, precludes any personal involvement] [I refer of course to the context stated in the OP as a mentality; accepted and embraced by some]

I also can see where any of us, if we so choose to examine our lives, our past and our heritage, may be able to pull the victim card if we so choose to do so. There is not one of us that has not experienced some tragedy, calamity or gained knowledge of a heritage of servitude. Yet most of us accept that as the building blocks that have created the soul we are today. We embrace difficulties and the wonderful gifts those difficulties bestow upon our characters.

How trivial our personal struggles become when we so readily attribute so much of what we are in the world, to something as random as chance circumstance.

For are we not submitting to our own personal perception of defeat, when we cry VICTIM! because of random chance? Do we not make the choice to "give up" and then expect society to cure our ills, when most of that very same society has experienced the same or worse and wonders why you do not just move on?

So, we either choose to make our own destiny, be masters of our fate, "Captains of our Souls" or we relegate ourselves to victim status.


posted on Feb, 18 2007 @ 08:40 AM
Thank you Semper! I love this subject and discussing it more deeply with my ATS friends helps to cement my resolve not to accept or fall into the victim mentality in my life.

Originally posted by semperfortis
Why do we automatically assume someone is a victim when something bad happens to them?

Let me make clear what I see as the definition and context of a couple things.

1. Victim. A victim is simply a person to whom something happens. Something that most people would judge as "bad". Someone who gets raped, robbed, attacked, or abused by another person. Or someone who is in an accident, a storm, a fire or gets ill or someone who has a death in the family ... Being a victim simply means that something happened, with no emotional judgment about it. After the incident, one can choose to be a "survivor" or else remain a victim and slither into the "victim mentality".

Christopher Reeves was a victim of a horse accident. Plain and simple. However, he never did assume the "victim mentality". He was immediately a "survivor" and that was clear to everyone till the day he died.
And might I add that he was better known for being a survivor than for being Superman!

2. Victim Mentality. The "victim mentality" is a way of being in which one feels that they are owed for life's unfairness. It's a way of being that suggests that someone else or something else is responsible and guilty of putting them in their wronged or wounded position. It's the feeling (after the victim incident) that things cannot be right again until someone else makes it right, atones or gives reparations to set the incident right. And many people who adopt the victim mindset were never even a victim! They adopt it on behalf of someone else! (See Jesse Jackson below)

Many people live their whole lives in this mentality. I consider Jesse Jackson a person who not only lives in the victim mentality, he encourages other blacks to join him there. In fact, he makes his living on the existence and perpetration of the Victim Mentality. This gets into the socialized Victim Mindset that is so dangerous, in my opinion.

Jackson says UK should Apologize for Slavery

"If you don't feel apologetic for slavery, if you don't feel apologetic for colonialism, if you feel proud of it then say that.

"But if one has a sincere desire to overcome the ravages of the past it doesn't take much to apologise and move towards some plan for restoration."

He puts people in the position of either feeling apologetic or else proud of slavery. If you don't feel guilty, (never mind that you had nothing to do with it) then you must agree with slavery and think that blacks are inferior people... Total victim mindset. And unfortunately, many people (black and white) suck up this message like nectar. I however, do not.

And notice that Jesse Jackson was never even a victim of slavery! He carries and perpetrates the victim mindset on behalf of people who are dead!

I just wanted to make sure the context in which I'm using these words was clear.
So to answer your question, we are all victims of things in life, but the the choice to either be a survivor or adopt the victim mentality is totally up to us.

posted on Feb, 18 2007 @ 09:25 AM
I like that comparison between the two. When we endure a tragedy, in that moment we are all the victim of an unfortunate event. Whether it was by chance or by the hand of another individual, we are a victim. As you guys have said, it is in these moments when our fate can be dictated.

Am I a victim? --- Am I a survivor?

Am I a victim of rape? Or Am I a survivor or rape? Are we a victim of slavery? Or Are we a survivor or slavery?

To wallow in self-pity, or even accept it from others, is an indication that we are looking to support the "victim" label. Society's heart breaks for a true victim. The single mother of four children who is battling cancer, or the high-school student who has a cancer-stricken mother and is help raising four other siblings. All painted in the early stages as a victim. Our hearts break, but our minds wander. This person is not going to continue to make headlines, they go out with yesterday's news.

So as much as society loves a victim, they love a survivor even more.

That young girl who has four brothers and sisters at home while their mother can not get out of bed, making straight A's, and competing in several sports, that is a survivor. Society opens their arms much wider for a survivor rather than a victim.

Let's face it, if this young girl had of bought into her own environment and dropped out of school, we would never know who she is. She would be a true victim of her own environment, but the story would go untold. The fact this individual decided to be a survivor, her story is being told and she has been rewarded with a scholarship to any university in the country.

So I reinforce, society loves a survivor more than a victim. Individuals who are guilty of continuously victimizing themselves may not want to agree with this. It is the attention and pity that they crave, hearing that they need to overcome their adversity is something that they may resent.

So yeah, we sympathize on a short-term level with a victim. But we envy a survivor forever.

Nelson Mandela is a survivor. He, and his story, is one of the greatest known to man. He could of wallowed in self-pity and threw in the towel a long time ago. Some may, or may not, of remembered who he was. His perseverance in the face of adversity is what separates him, and every other survivor, from victims who shared their misfortunes.

It's like the "Fight or Flight" phenomenon. Choose to "Fight" and prepare to be envied for your ability to overcome. Chose "Flight" and your story will be told with genuine sympathy for a short period of time, then you will be forgotten with every other victim that our society knows.

We have plenty of victims. Survivors, on the other hand, tend to come from a rare breed.

posted on Feb, 18 2007 @ 10:00 AM
Yes Yes Yes,

Chissler and BH...

You both said it better and actually hit the root of the issue... (I have conceptual difficulty LOL)

Victim or Survivor

I like that...

Not to get too personal, but when I was diagnosed with PTSD back in the 90's, I could have wallowed in my own pity, "Become a Victim" and blamed the Marines and my Department. Heck, I could probably be living on Medical right now. Now I am no Christopher Reeves (A Hero of mine in case you could not tell) but I made the choice to continue with my life and I applaud those that rise up at every occasion.

One of the most permeating attributes of the victim mentality is the insidious nature of it's continuity. It would appear that once an individual starts down that slope, they are forever relegated to being a victim and losing their personal integrity and respect of their peers. That is of course not written in stone, as I am sure there are instances where some have risen up after tasting the bile that is victim hood; yet it would appear very difficult.

How much easier to simply decide to never be a victim and simply and eloquently be a SURVIVOR....


posted on Feb, 18 2007 @ 10:08 AM
Not sure about this.. I'll use beggers as an example:
There are many who are starving and genuinely need charity.. and then you come across 'occupational beggers' who see it as a job. When people use victimhood as a salespitch.. they are not really victims anymore. They are using it for power which means those who genuinely need help can miss out as people become suspicious. It's like some of the big charities in Aus.. a couple got caught with their hands in the till. Tugging on the heart strings is big business and you never can tell if the people who really need help will actually get it.

posted on Feb, 18 2007 @ 10:30 AM

I agree, I also think the issue of reparations falls under that category. It is all about the money and the ones crying the loudest, are sure living a lifestyle most of their constituents can ill afford.

Perhaps describing it as a "Lifestyle" would fit.

Some people just seem to "need" to be coddled and "felt sorry for".

One phenomenon I have observed on here, is the Victim Mentality refutes the idea of opposing views. They simply can't be wrong. To accept fallibility would directly indicate to others that their very lifestyle could be one as has been discussed here. So there is also a shadow construct to this mental process because of this. To be brought out, to accept in public the idea of either self delusion or simply mistaken posture, would in essence reveal the victim as an "Intentional Victim" and not a product of society....


posted on Feb, 18 2007 @ 10:34 AM
Chissler and Semper - Great words! I wanted to add that many people (and I am included in this) stay in the victim mindset for some time after the victimizing incident and THEN move out of it. I was a victim of childhood sexual and physical abuse for many, many years, but there came a time that I grew tired of carrying that weight and I chose to become a survivor!

It affected my life in negative ways and kept me from getting my own autonomy and power! I feared men, I felt sorry for myself and I desperately hoped to change the past!

On the other hand, on the very day I discovered I had breast cancer, I became a "survivor" of breast cancer. I knew I would get rid of it and move on without a hitch. And I did just that!

It's never too late (or too early) to give up the victim mentality!
And like everything else in life, practice makes perfect!
It gets easier. Unfortunately, it's also a habit. The more one adopts the victim mindset, the easier it is to go there whenever anything happens.

Originally posted by riley
When people use victimhood as a salespitch.. they are not really victims anymore.

No, and like Jesse Jackson (and there are others in different 'genres') they USE the state of victimhood to have power like you said. Very good observation! That's a great way of putting it: Using victimhood as a sales pitch. Professional victims.

[edit on 18-2-2007 by Benevolent Heretic]

posted on Feb, 18 2007 @ 10:55 AM
An underlying message that needs to be clarified from my own post is that victims are entitled to their own window of resolution. We can not expect the victim of rape to face her demons within a few days. The specifics of each individual will determine the length of the window, but we as enablers need to be their to support the individual. We should not enable their wallowing in self-pity, but attempt to empower the individual when the time is appropriate.

I don't think any norms exist on the matter, as every person is different. But when we are dealing with a loved one, we would know when the time is right.

When my step-father passed away, I was messed up for quite some time. He passed three months before my high school graduation, and I almost dropped out of school. Not because I wanted to, but because it would further my own suffering. I wanted to suffer, I wanted to hurt, and I wanted to feel as much pain as I possibly could. I'm not really sure why, but I know that I enjoyed the remorse that others showed for me. Not to the same degree, but I carried this hurt with me for almost three or four years. Then one day I just let it go. I finally acknowledged that I was beginning to define myself by this issue. Rather than me defining it, it was defining me. I had to deal with my demons head on, and I am a better person for it.

It took some time, a lot more than I wish. But I did overcome it and I feel that I can deal with my demons much more effectively today. BH, a cancer diagnosis can really turn our world upside down. I know the ordeal my family went through was quite traumatic. We woke up one morning as if it was any other day, and went to sleep that night not knowing if he would be there tomorrow. Happened very suddenly.

So it needs to be reiterated that individuals are entitled to a window of opportunity. We can not expect them to be a survivor over night. On September 12, 2001, we had a lot of 9/11 victims. On September 11, 2002, we had a lot of 9/11 survivors. In time we can release our pain and "survive" our ordeals.

Defining ourselves with the problems we face is another phenomenon that is quite interesting.

[edit on 18-2-2007 by chissler]

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