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 how I feel (self-doubting, drained, fearful, angry, frustrated, hopeless …) about what they’re doing, or am I just over-reacting?”

ACoAs have tendency to get most things backward:
• Sanity tells us the TRUTH : We did go thru a terribly painful childhood – were very real Victims of our home, neighborhood, school, religion, & playground.  We had no choice & very few options. We were Vs then, but we don’t have to be Vs any more.

• OUR distorted logic of SELF-HATE says the opposite:OLD/NEW
— it wasn’t all that bad (although we do know it was)
— they DID loved us / they did the best they could
— we were NOT really Victims – just selfish, weak, bad flawed, hopeless – & will be forever!

As long as we hold these lie as our only reality, we’re stuck & can’t fully heal. Before Recovery – & sometimes long into it – ACoAs’ reaction to early trauma is either as 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.
The attitude is: “I was then & am forever a casualty of my family / school / church….. I just can’t cope.  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 in order to be 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, having ‘done that’ as kids,
AND ✶ so we won’t lose the proof of what was happened to us back then!
“If I get better, no one will ever know how much they hurt me, & I want everyone to see it & feel sorry for me!”.

It’s a sad reality that most people in our culture assume that if someone ‘looks good’ it means that:  they’ve healthy, always had it easy, must have come from a good home, don’t have any validationproblems & never needed to overcome anything.

So, ACoAs who are looking for external validation of our trauma – from everyone – believe we can only get it if we stay miserable. This keeps us torturing ourselves unnecessarily, which is 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. Self-Pity – John W. Garner (HEW Sec.) said:
“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:
NEGATIVE: Being perpetually immersed in the “poor-me’s”
POSITIVE: Having deep compassion for ourselves, which is NOT self-pity. (see”Feeling Sorry for” posts).  We need to mourn the loss of what we never got – 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.


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