Saturday, 28 March 2015

Victim Thinking

While my husband and I were sitting in a candlelit room observing Earth Hour, a memory surfaced of an old friend of mine.  We'd grown up together in the same neighbourhood but our lives diverged radically after she made a number of bad decisions that set her life on a course of upheaval.  To this day she has failed to accept the consequences of her youthful actions and continues to make bad choices, all the while blaming everyone else for her problems.

A post I read on Facebook on a similar topic coined the term "Victim Thinking".  It's about blaming the other person.  You were not responsible for whatever happened; it was always someone else's fault.  The cost for doing this however is giving away your power. You just become a feather on the wind, unable to control your own destination.

For the rest of us, the difficulty is in pointing out such thinking because then it becomes "blaming the victim". When we try to discuss boundaries and where they might be, and what appropriate behavior might be, almost always there's someone to insist that we shouldn't blame the victim.  We're all too quick to fall into some form of victim thought.

Our culture sells it to us.  In books, movies, and television shows, someone or something is always chasing us, attacking us, hurting us, or taking things from us.  This is why most of these media are about revenge. The more horrible things that happen, the more the hero seems to be justified in his response.  It's not even about getting even, it's about giving worse back.

Victim thinking justifies revenge, atrocities, political shenanigans of all types.  It's "us" vs. "them".  It's an abdication of personal responsibility, a projection of one's own failure onto someone else.  And there is no shortage of targets: gays, women, people of colour, the elderly, the sick, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Planned Parenthood, tree-huggers, special needs children, anyone who is different... pick one.

Sometimes circumstances do happen. Natural disasters, break-ins, auto accidents, illness, loss of income, etc.  Those are situations you would rather not have to deal with.  If they happen to you, you have been a victim.  If you take responsibility for dealing with them, you are no longer a victim, you are a survivor.  That's personal responsibility.  If you don't take responsibility for your own well-being, you have nothing to give to anyone else.

1 comment:

  1. I only agree with you part way, but good post! We do have an entire culture that shies away from personal responsibility.