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Society's Victim Mindset

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posted on Mar, 21 2007 @ 10:29 AM
'It' (victim status) is really 'yesterday' as far as Life (travelling through Time and Space) is concerned.

When we're children, most of us tend to believe that one wonderful day, we'll reach the Perfect Age, when everything will be as we wish it. Of course, time does not stand still: we cannot apply the brakes when we reach 19, 21 or whatever comprises our personal interpretation of the Perfect Age. Each year is the same duration as all those that preceded it.

We strive for 'perfection'. When we reach the height or weight we desire, our hair or skin goes 'wrong'. And so on. Few of us attain our view of perfection.

We may be subject to rape or physical or other violence or discrimination or embezzlement or betrayal. And these offend us: they rob us and scar the Perfect Us/Perfect Life we were striving to create. They remain like a stain upon the mental map of our lives that we carry in our heads. Often, someone else was responsible for 'ruining' us.

Because we carry these visions of personal perfection, most of us feel "Oh well, that's it. I'm ruined now. I'll never be the same. There's no use going on." It's the way we felt when some kid ran along the beach and jumped on the sandcastle we'd spent an hour constructing. So mean ! So unjust !

When we're children, we might cry out or run sobbing to our parents.

As adults, our response is the same. Someone is responsible. And we want this damage FIXED. We want things to go back the way they were BEFORE someone or something damaged/destroyed/ruined us.

The truth is, of course, that Life is a journey. It's not about perfection or even completeness. It's an experience. It just is.

Years ago, someone reminded me that experience NEED not be categorised 'good' or 'bad'. Instead, if we can manage to regard whatever occurs merely as 'experience' --- without the positive/negative tags --- we can get through/survive just about anything.

That advice did me the world of good.

The temptation to get 'stuck' at the point of -- shall we say 'unfortunate' experience -- is strong. We were raped. Others are not raped. Therefore we are to be pitied and sympathised with. The person who did this to us should come back and fix it -- undo it. We need it to be 'fixed'. We need this stain/scar on our life-experience to be repaired/removed.

But of course, this cannot be. Time does not run backwards.

And while we remain 'stuck' at what we consider an inerradicable chasm in our life's journey --- Time continues to tick by.

Also, the longer we remain 'stuck', the less flexible we become.

In the end, if we're not careful, we allow the incident at which we became a victim -- to DEFINE us, as in: ' See that woman over there? Well, she was gang raped by six thugs.'

Yes, there are experiences that hurt us. It's natural to cry, to scream, to hide, to fight, to consider dying.

But we're resilient by nature and we should ALLOW ourselves to be just that.

Quite often, people succumb to a victim mindset because they feel it's EXPECTED of them, as in the case of: ' That woman was raped by six thugs. She must be changed by an experience like that. Only a hard-case would be able to get over it.'

I suspect that many people feel they will be judged insensitive, callous, were they to 'recover' and 'get over it' in less than x-number of months, years.

So -- often -- people 'play' the victim because they believe this is the 'respectable' thing to do. If a woman recovered well from rape and began dating again, she might feel others would believe she was in any case a slut. If the parents of a murdered child recovered from their loss and decided to get on with life in an 'unacceptably brief' time, they may fear others would regard them as unloving, unfeeling parents.

Rape, ethnicity, severe misfortune, etc. are often portrayed in the media as being of grave and negative influence in peoples' lives. People are influenced by the media and by the opinions and beliefs of others. This often leads to people 'acting out' whatever they believe is the appropriate response to their particular misfortune. So victims are created, quite often, intentionally or inadvertently, by society.

Recently, an Ebay seller emailed to say: " I'm so sorry I messed up. Sorry I didn't send your items. You see, I was sexually abused as a child and I'm still trying to deal with that and all the strain of my two boys and my husband and my Ebay business." In this instance, we see someone who uses her experience as a crutch and to manipulate.

What can we DO with experiences with the potential to make us feel as 'victims'? Can we deposit them in the bank? Can we use them to hold back the passing of Time? Can we wield them as a weapon? Can we use them as insurance against future painful experience?

No. Ultimately, all we can do is acknowledge them and then release them as we move through Life (aka Space and Time). These things do not define us and we shouldn't fall into the trap of letting them do that. Life was not designed to be a fairy-story. How could it be when it involves creatures of flesh, blood and nerve endings: creatures that have a limited life-span living on a beautiful but dangerous planet? We're going to experience events that hurt. They're a natural and unavoidable part of life.

Years ago, people were instructed to 'Stop feeling sorry for yourself'. Then came the 60s and 70s when thousands of self-help books and psycholanalytical gurus encouraged virtually EVERYone to feel like a victim. Coming as it did during an affluent period following stiff upper lip austerity, it was a novelty: an unexpected permission to dump personal responsibility and to well and truly Feel Sorry for Yourself.

So I really appreciated the 90s with it's terse, to the point: ' Get Over It ' advice.

There's nothing happened to any of us that didn't happen thousands of times before to others. We have a choice: Wallow In It or Get Over It and Get On With It.

The 90's coined another gem, come to think of it: 'What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger'.

The fact the human psyche assertively pushed aside in the 90's the programmed and crippling victim-mindset of earlier decades is evidence of the strength of the Life Force, as are the posts in this thread.

I think we might be seeing the demise of victim mentality. If so, we'll all be stronger for that.

posted on Mar, 21 2007 @ 11:07 AM
I think that the victim mindset is one of societys tragedys. It take personal responsibility out of the equation. It just becomes an excuse to fail.

Instead of realizing that most people have some sort of challenges in their life that they must deal with, once one associates themselves with the victim mentality it makes it OK to fail.

I could do that because I'm (fill in the blank). Everyone knows that (fill in the blank) don't succeed because society is holding them back. Unfortunately kids are educated in a system that promotes being a victim.

posted on Mar, 21 2007 @ 11:23 AM

You have voted Dock6 for the Way Above Top Secret award. You have two more votes this month.

What a moving and insightful post!!!
I rarely see eye to eye with you, but you have just pinged me upside the head with your eloquence and wisdom in that post!

I strongly suggest everyone take the time to read every word!

Bravo, dude! (or dudette)

posted on Mar, 24 2007 @ 06:33 PM
Thank you very much, BH.

I agree with you more often than is apparent :-)

posted on Mar, 24 2007 @ 07:53 PM
Here are some more interesting pieces to read on this subject:

This first one focuses on the importance of forgiveness of past wrongs. When we forgive someone, we do it for ourselves. We do it so we don't have to continue to carry around the anger and feelings of injustice anymore. Because they can get very heavy and cause undue stress on the joints.

I love this definition and I'm sorry, I don't know its origin:
Forgiveness is giving up all hope of changing the past.

Because as long as we want the past to change or someone to make it different, we don't forgive. Once we decide that the past isn't going to change and no matter how much we hope for it, it ain't changin', we can forgive and be freed from those chains of the past.

Path to Freedom: Overcoming the Victim Mindset

A victim blames others for their circumstances - when something happens, they don't take responsibility for their actions.
Victims can often be bound by unforgiveness; as Corrie Ten Boom said, "Forgiveness is setting the prisoner free, only to find out that the prisoner was me." Releasing others for their failings and accepting responsibility for our own futures is often the required path forward from a victim mentality.
Victims can feel they have certain rights that the world owes them, and are disappointed or angry when the world doesn't deliver. They tend to feel very strongly about "their rights" and the way things should be done for them.

This article is written by a black man who is tired of the victim mentality of so many black people. He's very aware of how it causes self-hatred among blacks.

I'm not a Victim. I'm a Man.

I'm not a damned victim, so please quit treating me like one. I'm tired of your willingness to accept my failures without encouraging me to get back up. I'm tired of your willingness to accept the demasculization of the black male. I'm tired of your willingness to accept less than what I'm capable of. In short, I'm tired of what is currently recognized as African-American leadership.

I've come to the harsh realization that black people have been pimped. Just like a woman of ill-repute, black people been exploited in every way imaginable, yet our leaders still expect us to keep coming back for more of the same treatment. Even worse, blacks who do become part of the free market and start to enjoy the priviledges of being an American are either ridiculed or ignored by their leaders.

This poses quite a delimma. Civil rights leaders have limited black society to two choices: Either adopt the victim mentality, wait for the handouts and be praised -- or accept responsibilities like a man and risk being labeled an "Uncle Tom." Personally I was fortunate to have a father who taught me discipline so I chose to be a man. Being a man means taking control of your situation and leaving the handouts for those who really need them.

One thing I don't understand is why generally black Americans who espouse ridding themselves of the victim mindset are usually politically conservative (like the man above). I guess maybe generally many politically left-thinking people have a connection to victims. Liberal people are usually supportive of social programs and so on. Just brain fuzz...

And finally, a woman's account of her being 'forced' to go to series of battered women's meetings because of a one-night indiscretion on her husband's part. Either she had to go or her kids would be taken away. Her husband quit drinking after the ultimatum she gave him and entered AA, but that didn't matter. This woman still had to go to these meetings or give up her kids.

This one is long but very interesting, especially when she talks about how the meetings encouraged women to maintain their victim mindset LONG after the abuse was ended.

Independence House: A Program for Abused Women

I found it repulsive. And yet this is where I was ordered to go for "treatment" to "raise my self-esteem." Some women had been away from their ex's for six to eight years, yet continued to go to the meetings. It was like their victim hood was an all encompassing identity. They were addicted to being a "victim" so people would feel sorry for them.
I realized that I never heard a facilitator encourage a woman to heal and move on with her life. They encouraged women to stay stuck in the victim mentality. I realized that, if women move on, they would no longer be clients. Each woman is worth many dollars to DSS and to Independence House. The more clients -- the more funding dollars.
When I couldn't stand the breast-beating victim dance any more, I would offer small pieces of input. My feeling is that, if the guy was that bad, then good riddance to bad rubbish. By sitting in these groups forever, rehashing abuse, real or perceived, a woman keeps the wounds open and allows the man to still have power over her.

Hope you enjoy these interesting pieces as much as I did.
And thanks again for the great participation here!

[edit on 24-3-2007 by Benevolent Heretic]

posted on Mar, 24 2007 @ 11:46 PM
Yes. Great postings. I hope many who're trapped (because they haven't really thought it through) in victim mentality will read them and even IF initially it seems contrary to what they WANT to believe -- a germ of this 'get up and get on with it' philosphy might lodge in their minds and germinate over time and free them to live fully, instead of in an imposed (or self-imposed) prison which has become 'normal' and even 'comfortable' to them over time.

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