VICTIMS or NOT? (Part 1)

It’s hard for me to know!

PREVIOUS: Victims or Not?

REVIEW: “Feeling Sorry For….

See ACRONYM Page for abbrev.

VICTIMs or NOT?  (V = victim , P = Perpetrator / abuser)
Victims can be of any age or gender & from any socio-economic level. While standards differ by culture, it occurs in every country. Because being a V. is often created at an early age, being abused (learned helplessness) is passed from generation to generation like a family disease, called the “inter-generational cycle”.

Victim’s reaction to abuse is great confusion. 
“Do I have a right to say, or even think, that what’s happening is really Abuse? I doubt it. After all, sometimes the other person is nice to me & fun to be with, says they can’t live without me, & tells me they’re sorry. And their actions aren’t always obvious to others, so I may just be making it all up!  Is feeling overwhelmed (self-doubting, drained, fearful, angry, frustrated, hopeless …) about what they are doing, or am I just over-reacting?”

ACoAs often get things backward: (S-H vs Truth)
OLD/NEWThe distorted logic of our self-hate says :
1. it wasn’t all that bad (although some part of us know it was)
2. they DID love us / they did the best they could
3. we were NOT really Victims – just annoying, needy, selfish, weak, bad, flawed kids – & will be forever!

Actually, sanity tells us the truth
✺ We did go thru a terribly painful, chaotic childhood – very real
Victims of our home, neighborhood, school, religion, & playground.  We had no choice & very few options at the time. We were Vs then, BUT don’t have to be Vs any more.

YET, as long as we hold on to the 3 S-H lies as our main internal reality, we’re stuck & can’t fully heal. Before Recovery – & sometimes long into it – ACoAs’ reaction to early trauma is either Perpetual Victim or Stoic.

a. Perpetual Victim:  Many ACoAs are still actively living in the old destructive patterns set out for us, & refuse to give up the V. role.
Their attitude is: “I was then & am forever a casualty of my family / school / church…..  I just can’t cope with life, so you can’t expect me to function. I can’t do anything differently now because I’m so debilitated by those experiences. Someone has to take care of me”….

We stay “sick” to stay loyal to our Parents, so we don’t have to:
• do the lifelong hard work of healing our wounds (feel the old pain, change CDs)
• fully take care of ourselves as healthy adults, especially if we has to do that for parent & sibling when we were kids. “Been there – done that”

The is one of many ACoA ironies:
🔶 we cling to deep denial – the abuse & neglect didn’t affect us!
🔷 we won’t try to heal & be comfortable because we’d lose the proof of what did happened to us back then! “If I get better, no one will ever know how bad it was, & I want everyone to see it & feel sorry for me!”.

This partially comes from a sad reality that most people in our culture assume that if someone ‘looks good / does well’ it means that:
the person is healthy, always had it easy, must have come from a good home, don’t have any problems & never needed to overcome anything.

So, ACoAs who desperately long for external validation for our trauma – from everyone – believe we can only get it if we stay miserable.
This keeps us torturing ourselves unnecessarily – a great shame. We DO need validation, from a few legitimate sources, but then it has to be internalized, so we always “know what I know” in all settings.(re. ACEs – w/ Tree)

re. Self-Pity – from John W. Garner (HEW Sec.)
“Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics. It’s addictive, gives momentary pleasure, & separates the victim from reality.” For ACoAs – IT’S:
NEGATIVE: being perpetually immersed in the “poor-me’s”
POSITIVE: having deep compassion for ourselves – not wallowing. (POSTs “Feeling Sorry for“).
We do have to mourn the loss of all the needs we never got met – a crucial part of Recovery, & the beginning of Transformation. (More…. re. image)

NEXT: Victim or NOT (Stoic)  #2

7 thoughts on “VICTIMS or NOT? (Part 1)

  1. This post really speaks to me. I recognize my unwillingness to give up the peacemaker/martyr role. This knowledge can trigger SH to the point where I wish I didn’t know this about myself. It might sound strange but my intuition is telling me that anger may be a way to break through and put myself in new situations where I can give up this role which is only hurting me.


    • As you know, you can either be a wounded person or a schmuck (SH) but not both. If you’re wounded then the WIC has a reason for being invested in any Role & needs compassion & effort to let go of. Roles have to be replaced by the True Self, which takes time. Getting to old anger is very liberating, & being angry a current abuse is appropriate!


  2. This post and the posts surrounding it have really hit home for me. After being in a therapy for a long time, I feel as though I have not dealt with these important issues. My SH is triggered and I feel like a victim, a very angry victim. Having difficulty making the WIC grow up. I can’t seem to find a situation where I can have myself grow up. Thanks.


    • Thanks for your comment.
      We do have resistance to letting go of our past – as mentioned in “Victims or Not”.
      But we can’t make the WIC grow up – we can only love it into being healed. Every day we have to talk with the child & listen to it’s voice. First always honor it’s emotions & then we can identify the distorted thinking & correct that. We can also fight the Pig Parent voice & be the WIC’s champion.

      Have you been able to do safe ‘rage work’? It helped me a lot. Do you go to Al-anon? (Phone meeting are available). Maybe the therapist isn’t the right one for you or you’ve outgrow him/her. Pls review the old posts from ’10 & ’11 & use them to help you grow the Adult/Parent. You can also see if in your area has any therapeutic/healing groups.


  3. I’d like to find out more about the safe rage work. Have you done any posts on it? I will check out


    • Michael – I haven’t written @ rage work yet. So in the mean time:
      1. Find a private spot (home, car, beach…).
      2. Pound on something hard/soft, like a mattress couch, grass, big pillows….
      3. Use fists, feet, a whiffle, bataka or home-made bat…. to not hurt yourself. OR tear up newspaper, old phone books… Be creative.

      4. Keep repeating a simple phrase out loud or under your breath: I hate you / I need you / don’t go / what about me / see me… or: “It’s not fair, I’m too little, you can’t make me”… or whatever suits you
      5. The focus can be on ‘the disease’, unfairness. someone recently disappointing or hurtful… but ultimately it’s someone in the family, alive or not. You may end up in tears – they are under all the rage.
      6. It only has to be a couple of minutes at a time, as often as you can.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.