Starlight

Victim mentality?

4 posts in this topic

I get tired, to say the least, of the  'don't be a victim' philosophy. For some people this may be a necessary step forward.

But there are others who should be told 'you need to see yourself as a victim'. You were victimised when you couldn't defend yourself and you need to admit that and feel what that felt like, before you can progress with your healing. 

I'm talking about people who have experienced sexual abuse, neglect, trauma etc in childhood, or equally have been abused, raped, assaulted in adulthood and who have lived in denial or have been prematurely pushed into 'not being a victim' before they have even begun the steps of processing what it feels like to be completely under the power of someone harming you and utterly powerless to stop it.  I know the intentions are meant to be empowering, but for some of us the sentiment is incredibly invalidating. Don't get me started on people who will start talking that a 5yo child had a victim mentality and so attracted her abuser. 

So in a word, I'd love to hear more caveats and distinctions when this phrase is being doled out as advice. 

 

Equally I'm sick of hearing about 'forgiveness'.  The way I look at it is, the perpetrators are responsible for their actions.

Those who have suffered their actions or abuse don't even have to think about them or their motivations, it's simply not their job to forgive them. I feel it happens way too often that the victims of crimes are told to forgive as their path to healing. Again I know the intentions are good and meant to be empowering. Maybe if the person is fixated on the perpetrator, it's needed, but otherwise I think it's simply the wrong use of focus and energy.

For a great many victims the problem is not learning to forgive, it's learning to become angry. Learning to see and feel it as an injustice, not simply all that they deserved. The focus on forgiveness really causes an 'anger-bypass' and for a large sector of people, especially victims of sexual abuse, I feel their path to healing is through connecting with the fire of positive anger. 

Edited by Starlight
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Forgiveness as a natural by-product is good.

It doesn't need to be foisted on anyone - it has a natural position in the process of healing and insight. Focus on the self first.

There is also the fact many people come from religious backgrounds where the onus is put on victims to forgive and the perpetrators are never accountable, they continue to be almost invisible.

All the work belongs to the victim, no process of reparation or restitution in return. Yes the perpetrators have gone through something, but in some cases they have been indulged, spoilt and never been held accountable and so the process continues. 

Personally I don't want anything from the people who damaged me. What I DO want is to be allowed to unchain myself from what does not belong to me.

I carried their shame, now I'm constantly being told in order to heal I need to forgive them. I think what they did is horrific, but basically it's not my behaviour. My problem is dealing with the aftermath and the effects on me, which in a way is impersonal or personal only to me. 

They can face their actions and try forgive themselves. That process has nothing to do with me. 

Edited by Starlight
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Hi Walt, no I didn't think you were. I was agreeing with your positioning of it as a by-product of feeling-work.

I just carried on my rant then, because I'm so frustrated with how common this is and I feel it can be so destructive and slow people's recovery down. But maybe with my catholic background i've been particularly manipulated across the board by this pressure to forgive, it's a a blanket response by the church to everything. 

If a person doesn't already have Stockholm Syndrome, being pressurised to forgive certainly helps the development of it. 

Edited by Starlight
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I was abused by a family member for a number of years in childhood. After he was sentenced and I was flung into therapy I was surrounded by people telling me constantly 'It wasn't my fault'. I know their intentions were good but I just kept thinking No S#!t I didn't ever ask for this to happen to me. 

I was one that used my experience to make me stronger and not embody victim mentality. But that Strength came at the cost of Walling Up my feelings and blocking memories.

Through years of Therapy and Counseling and Spiritual Practice I can finally see all the patterns and destructive behaviors and some triggers that stem from that one trauma experience with some awareness.

I feel forgiveness now...it came naturally to me, but only after he passed away. It was like the threat was removed so I didn't feel like I needed to hang on to that any more. Maybe he will return as a child that experiences sexual violation for his own expansion.

I know the path of asention is through the Shadow Work. I feel a certain level of completion of the Shadow Work I've done. There are still a few reoccurring nagging patterns I'd like to work through. I don't mean to make other types of trauma sound easier but I am overwhelmed at the thought of going back into that mess and feeling it, which is a challenge for me as I said, in order to find my own healing and integration.

I am excited for the Release of Teal's new book to help me navigate that process.

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