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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:
— 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 problems & 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.”
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