Are we becoming a nation of self-inflicted victims where everything acts against us and we are all innocent bystanders bound up in the bad intentions of the world?

Victim Mosaic

There seems to be a great appeal in the application of suffering to victims. We now seem to face a nation of mosaic suffering where anyone who hurts or feels wounded deserves our debt and gratitude while the real sufferers — the real national heroes — flounder in the flapping of empty flags and mouldering in the graves of dead promises.

A “victim” is opaquely and colloquially defined widely and vaguely — quite on purpose, I believe — to give everyone cover and it is curiously fascinating how the word’s roots are rooted in religious sacrifice:

Victim Definition

Is it a good thing to be a “robbery victim” instead of “someone who was robbed” and are we a victim of everything in our environment? Have we gone too far in the application of Victimhood to include “abortion victim” and “cancer victim” and “war victim” and “Right Wing Conspiracy victim” and a ganglia of other perceived wrongs against us?

Doesn’t victimization require a purposeful act against someone first, or does the ordinary happenstance of living make any bad thing a reason for application of the victim label?

Does the victim label provide social cover for failure for the victim while giving greater power to the labeler for the purposeful demolition of enemies and the underprivileged in the defined capacity of a smothering — and falsely honorable — Victimhood?

We must fight the victim label in all forms and schemes in order to restore our own sense of self-propagation and to help others from falling into a dark pit of self-pity. Playing the victim is easy; refuting the label is heroic.

56 Comments

  1. Oh, dearest David, I could talk forever on this subject!
    I attribute this nation’s obsession with victimization partly to the sue-happy attitude most Americans have. Slipped in a grocery store? Sue somebody! Got fired from your job? Sue somebody!
    What happened to responsibility and accountability for oneself?
    By constantly labeling onself a “victim,” does that not just victimize even further?

  2. Hi Emily!
    Ah! Now that’s a keen argument! There’s not only forced-pity from others in self-identifying oneself as a victim, but there’s also a possible financial gain in the end! Excellent analysis!
    We are accountable for our own station in life. We can only be victims if we identify as such or if we accept the label.
    Then there are those who entirely live in Victimhood — one sad current example is Anna Nicole Smith — who claimed in interviews before her untimely death yesterday at age 39 that she was “betrayed by everyone she knew” and all the while as she was collecting a $450,000,000.00 USD payday on the back end.

  3. David,
    It seems to me that that is the unspoken reason for self-victimization: some kind of payoff. “I’ve been wronged, and the world owes me,” whether that be monetarily or emotionally.
    With our actions, we must always ask ourselves, “What is gained?” If what is gained is only self-serving–pity, attention, money–then it is not the appropriate action.
    As you said, “We can only be victims if we identify as such.” Right on!

  4. Right! Victims crave emotional payoffs that require some sort of penance of payment from others!
    Unfortunately, there is too much “good” in playing the victim: Nothing is ever your fault, you are owed, you are to be pitied and cherished, you are unlucky in cards.
    We need to stop allowing victims to persecute us with their false feebleness. We need to not play into their Victimhood-as-profession.

  5. Hi David,
    This post is a “mass tort” against the Amalgamated Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Perpetual Victims of America, hereinafter referred to as “The Victims.”
    The Victims are seeking redress of their grievances caused by the heinous suggestion that self-inflicted victims might just malingering.
    Please be apprised that the only proven cure that can salve The Victims’ pain is a quick payment of a huge cash settlement. :mrgreen:

  6. Nicola!
    Victimization is all about “it’s not my fault” so they create a situation where the world wrongs them and they are innocent and in need of cuddling and of paying off.
    Self-actualization is a foreign idea because it has no backend payoff. It’s too hard to create your own life — it’s better to suction off the lives of others.

  7. A woman who worked with my father for several years died of cancer last week. I did not know her personally but from what I understand she had a profound affect on those who did. From the time she was diagnosed with the disease until her death, she refused to label herself or allow others to label her as a “victim.” She continued to work. She continued to laugh. She continued to LIVE.
    She said this to my father very shortly before her death:
    “We are all dying. We all have a terminal disease.
    It is called living.
    I am not a victim. I am a human.”

  8. It is sad to me that her outlook is considered ‘unique.’ The fact that she made such an impact on those who knew her by simply refusing to be labeled as a victim just confirms that people like her are few and far between. The victim is the pitiful norm.

  9. It is sad to me that her outlook is considered ‘unique.’ The fact that she made such an impact on those who knew her by simply refusing to be labeled as a victim just confirms that people like her are few and far between. The victim is the pitiful norm.

  10. David- Victim=Victory. The “supreme victim” 2,000 years ago got the “supreme victory,” (control of the world). Many follow the leader. “Dogville” is an excellent video showing the negative effects of aiding victims. Human sacrafice is a natural outgrowth of seeing predatory animals leave the herd alone after the first kill. The victim was seen as a victor and savior of the herd. If we adopted a solipsistic or existential view, wherein each person was responsible for her/his existence, this sympathy for victims would vanish. The whole sympathy for the victim is just one more aspect of the pitfalls inherent in the dualistic philosophy of separation between anything and it’s environment. This dualistic philosophy is handed out to the masses to control them. The ultimate negativity attached to this way of thinking is war, and the total anihilation which will accompany it, until we can agree that we are creating our envirnment. When this happens, there will be no more victim, pity, scapegoat, scapegoat follower, or any other negative concept, including “death.” “Materialism,” or the “divine right” of kings, and the “divine right” of slaves to be slaves is the basic cause of this embedded insanity.

  11. David- Victim=Victory. The “supreme victim” 2,000 years ago got the “supreme victory,” (control of the world). Many follow the leader. “Dogville” is an excellent video showing the negative effects of aiding victims. Human sacrafice is a natural outgrowth of seeing predatory animals leave the herd alone after the first kill. The victim was seen as a victor and savior of the herd. If we adopted a solipsistic or existential view, wherein each person was responsible for her/his existence, this sympathy for victims would vanish. The whole sympathy for the victim is just one more aspect of the pitfalls inherent in the dualistic philosophy of separation between anything and it’s environment. This dualistic philosophy is handed out to the masses to control them. The ultimate negativity attached to this way of thinking is war, and the total anihilation which will accompany it, until we can agree that we are creating our envirnment. When this happens, there will be no more victim, pity, scapegoat, scapegoat follower, or any other negative concept, including “death.” “Materialism,” or the “divine right” of kings, and the “divine right” of slaves to be slaves is the basic cause of this embedded insanity.

  12. Pareidoliac, I agree with you.
    “The whole sympathy for the victim is just one more aspect of the pitfalls inherent in the dualistic philosophy of separation between anything and it’s environment.”
    In claiming to be a victim, you claim to be helpless, powerless. How ironic it is. I have found that in times of adversity, when I have felt my vulnerabilities most challenged, was when I found my strengths, which I would never have known existed if I was not so challenged.
    Some rise from being a victim to power, others …
    The question for me is; Will you let fear rule you, dictate your life, or will you find how to make lemonade when life hands you lemons?
    “Dangers are relative, over time and distance. Fear is relative, whether it menaces a multitude or a single life, but it always demands the same answers; a yes or a no. Capitulate within oneself, or refuse to submit to attrition; fear eats the soul.” Nadine Gordimer

  13. Pareidoliac, I agree with you.
    “The whole sympathy for the victim is just one more aspect of the pitfalls inherent in the dualistic philosophy of separation between anything and it’s environment.”
    In claiming to be a victim, you claim to be helpless, powerless. How ironic it is. I have found that in times of adversity, when I have felt my vulnerabilities most challenged, was when I found my strengths, which I would never have known existed if I was not so challenged.
    Some rise from being a victim to power, others …
    The question for me is; Will you let fear rule you, dictate your life, or will you find how to make lemonade when life hands you lemons?
    “Dangers are relative, over time and distance. Fear is relative, whether it menaces a multitude or a single life, but it always demands the same answers; a yes or a no. Capitulate within oneself, or refuse to submit to attrition; fear eats the soul.” Nadine Gordimer

  14. Emily —
    You’re right the “victim” is the norm! It is a disgrace!
    Do you know the warmest place for a victim to thrive? On the internet: IN A BLOG! I’m sure you’ve read all those “woe-is-me” blog entries where regulars are expected to fall in line and play tribe to the victim in a sycophantic comment.

  15. Emily —
    You’re right the “victim” is the norm! It is a disgrace!
    Do you know the warmest place for a victim to thrive? On the internet: IN A BLOG! I’m sure you’ve read all those “woe-is-me” blog entries where regulars are expected to fall in line and play tribe to the victim in a sycophantic comment.

  16. David,
    Right you are! The advantage of blogging is the anonymity and easy access to an audience it provides. Anyone can drone about their pitiful lot in life and not have to “face” their audience as they do it.

  17. David,
    Right you are! The advantage of blogging is the anonymity and easy access to an audience it provides. Anyone can drone about their pitiful lot in life and not have to “face” their audience as they do it.

  18. Right! That’s why I really value people who blog and comment and use their REAL NAMES! They stand behind their words better and they don’t hide in the ether.
    There was a grand old online community called The Well that specialized in vigorous online conversation and the requirement was you had to use your real name and reveal who you really are — that meant people were a lot nicer to each other and much more accommodating and considerate. I miss those days!
    😀

  19. Right! That’s why I really value people who blog and comment and use their REAL NAMES! They stand behind their words better and they don’t hide in the ether.
    There was a grand old online community called The Well that specialized in vigorous online conversation and the requirement was you had to use your real name and reveal who you really are — that meant people were a lot nicer to each other and much more accommodating and considerate. I miss those days!
    😀

  20. At the risk of sounding like a “victim” myself, I’d like to share a story.
    When I lived with my ex, he drank a lot. It got to the point where he was so drunk every night that he would wet the bed and not even realize till the next morning. He was too deeply asleep. Then he started using his fists on me. Things got worse until finally, he put his hands around my throat and squeezed. I got free when instinct kicked in, and I aimed my foot right between his legs.
    That night was the final push I needed. I’d put up with his behaviour for far too long, and finally I saw him for who he truly is. I called the police, and called our relationship off at the same time.
    You’re only a victim if you allow yourself to be. Some of us use situations that have us at a disadvantage to rise above it and become stronger, but others prefer to wallow in self misery and allow others to stroke their ego’s because its just easier and gives them a sense of self importance.

  21. At the risk of sounding like a “victim” myself, I’d like to share a story.
    When I lived with my ex, he drank a lot. It got to the point where he was so drunk every night that he would wet the bed and not even realize till the next morning. He was too deeply asleep. Then he started using his fists on me. Things got worse until finally, he put his hands around my throat and squeezed. I got free when instinct kicked in, and I aimed my foot right between his legs.
    That night was the final push I needed. I’d put up with his behaviour for far too long, and finally I saw him for who he truly is. I called the police, and called our relationship off at the same time.
    You’re only a victim if you allow yourself to be. Some of us use situations that have us at a disadvantage to rise above it and become stronger, but others prefer to wallow in self misery and allow others to stroke their ego’s because its just easier and gives them a sense of self importance.

  22. There’s a hilarious scene in the film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back where they use the money they make from the movie they star in to go to the houses of every single person that bashed the film under assumed names online and confront them and thus reveal them for the weak-willed spineless folk they really are.
    It’s amazing how people hide behind anonymous usernames and post the most hateful things. Just today someone posted a vitriolic antisemitic rant about one of Anna Nicole Smith’s paramours – not under his or her real name, naturally. I would bet this person wouldn’t have the cojones to tell me the same “IRL” in real life, as it were.
    From the very, very beginning of my online life I have used my full name. I’m not online to hide and when I want to post my opinion you know it’s coming from the one and only Gordon Davidescu in this world.
    Either that, or I just like to boost my ego-googling stats.

  23. This past Wednesday night someone in the grocery store parking lot backed into me with his SUV. When I say he backed into me, I do not mean he backed into my car. I mean he backed into my body. I was not hurt and was very annoyed and somewhat outraged at the number of people who told me I should’ve pretended to be!
    A coworker excitedly squealed, “You could’ve SUED!”
    Where does this obsession with self-victimization come from? How can it be cured?

  24. I was playing with my roommate’s dog the other day and I got hurt accidentally.
    My roommate’s very first reaction was “don’t sue me!”
    Though he was joking but both of us knew his reaction was prompted by the idea of being a part of the litigation oriented society.
    Sad…

  25. Well said, Dawn! Your situation is, unfortunately, common in many places in the world. If you had stayed and not kicked and then complained about the abuse you were taking — you would be living the victim mentality.
    You didn’t.
    You stood up and fought back.
    Heroic!

  26. Hi Gordon!
    I love that movies story! It’s fitting in today’s rotten, nasty, climate.
    We get tons of messages here posted under phony political names and cartoon names and those words are the most vicious, hateful, awful spew in the world. Those messages never get posted, but 99% of the time I get follow up messages from the “Bugs Bunny” fakers accusing me of running away from the truth, or “being a girl and peeing down my leg” or some other bullying thing because I didn’t post their invented nastiness under a fake name.
    I think it’s a good thing you are yourself online and offline and you use your name to back up your behavior. You have much more credibility when you speak than if you were posting anonymously.

  27. Wow! Emily! That’s a scary story! Crushing is a terrible form of suffering and I’m glad you’re okay.
    When people tell you how to behave — and you are appalled and when people tell you what they think you’ll do — and you are appalled because nothing like that would ever cross your mind… you are dealing with their revealed intent and open motivations. Beware! Run from them! What they say out loud and repulses you is just what they’d do in your place. You don’t need that kind of friend or associate or family member in your life.
    We heal victimization by refusing to honor it. We withhold sympathy. We refuse to pay them for invented suffering. We tell them to their face they are of the victim mentality and not an honorable person. It will be ugly for a while because the current social schema is created to support a feeble Victimhoood for oversight and control by the majority power, but when good people stand together and say “Enough!” things can quickly change.

  28. Just remember the cruelest and most awful things said are first uttered as “jokes” to test the waters and to judge the distance of the reality beyond the joke. You can then “laugh it off” if you don’t get the response you want.

  29. No, people don’t think at all when they crack a joke — that’s why jokes are so revealing of subtext and the subconscious.
    99.99% of the people don’t realize what they’re doing when they inadvertently reveal these honest bits of their true intentions and real selves

  30. Oh, and Katha, one of the most haunting sentences anyone can hear from a beloved one is: “I think you’re cheating on me.”
    Blame the innocent.
    Accuse without proof.
    The other Universal Rotten Phrase is, “You hate me.”
    Spin it the other way to reveal the unconscious meaning and you see the real intent is they hate you — while you spend all your time working to explain why you don’t hate them… it’s clever tables-turning trickery on their part!
    Reveal the real cheater in a statement to test the waters…

  31. Like you, I detest the “everyone’s a victim” mentality. However, we should remember that 50 years ago the pendulum was too far on the other side. People who had been disabled because of someone else’s blatant disregard for safety often ended up in the streets because of the paltry judgments of the day. Also, people who were injured or disabled were often forced to work beyond their capabilities (since there was no disability insurance or workers’ compensation) and ended up with even worse problems in the long run.
    Remember, when we hear older people talking about how “self-reliant” everyone was back then, those are the survivors who are talking. Those who died young because they literally worked themselves to death and those who died from the effects of being poor and/or homeless aren’t here to dispute it.

  32. Hi Charlene —
    I don’t think we’re really discussing the truly disabled or those who have been permanently maimed in accidents. Those folks deserve to be paid for their loss life livelihood and limbs. When they overcome those painful, permanent reminders of life, we support their heroic effort.
    Our Iraq war “survivors” may be burned and damaged and forever marked — but they are not victims, even though many of them may be better off dead. They are, in fact, the real heroes of the war — those who are able to walk away from a pit of despair and to reclaim their rightful place of honor in mainstream America. We can, and must, learn from them and listen to them — even if they are unable to speak for themselves or stand on their own two legs to take a historic stand against the lies vested in their truths.