There is a new drug in town.
One that is far more addictive and far more pervasive than any other.
A drug that can cause great harm to those who use it and even greater harm to those around.
This drug is called "victimhood"...
...And it is not only fully legal, but its use is actually promoted and encouraged by elected officials, school administrators, and our social networks.
Difference Between Victim And Victimhood
We have all been wronged at some time in our life.
We have all been offended, mistreated, or otherwise harmed.
I have yet to meet anyone who has gotten through their life without being the victim of someone or something.
Yet, not all victims seek victimhood.
Not all who seek victimhood are victims.
So, what is the difference? Here is the simple definition we use.
Anyone who has been harmed, without reasonably contributing to or provoking the harm, could rightly call themselves a victim.
The portion re: “reasonably contributing to or provoking…” has been included for a very specific reason but care must be taken in its interpretation.
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If a drunk driver slams into your car, you are a victim.
Now, one could argue that you contributed to the event by choosing to get in your car and drive down the road…but you did not reasonably contribute to the drunk driver's decision to act illegally or the subsequent collision and harm resulting.
If you partner physically assaults you, you are a victim.
Yes, you may have participated in the argument that preceded the physical assault, but no verbal provocation is ever reasonable grounds to resort to physical violence.
If a woman is sexually assaulted in any way by a man or another woman, she is a victim.
Whatever clothes the woman was wearing or the "signals" the assaulter believes she was giving off in no way contributes to the assaulter making the choice to behave inappropriately (and illegally).
However, if you pick a bar fight and lose, you are NOT a victim because your actions directly contributed to the physical altercation.
While these examples illustrate severe or extreme scenarios, I need to point out that, by this definition, most people will find themselves victims of minor offences and harm on a regular basis.
Victimhood Makes A Mountain Of A Molehill
Victimhood, on the other hand, occurs when the harm we perceive (usually minor) is overstated or amplified publicly for the sole purpose of creating a state of mass sympathy for us.
The underlying message of victimhood is: Look how much I have been wronged...I am a good, righteous person harmed by an evil doer...feel sorry for me...give me attention...for they are bad and I am good.
The problem with swallowing the pill of victimhood is that it can only be taken by causing harm to the person we believe harmed us.
Bullying a bully is still bullying. Harming someone who harmed us is still causing harm.
Victimhood Vs. Awareness
It is important to point out that there is a difference between victimhood and raising awareness.
Currently, the media is flooded with stories about women who have been sexually harassed, assaulted, and even raped in the entertainment industry.
When these women stand up and come forward with their stories for the purpose of saying, "hey, this happened to me...don't let it happen to you."...
This is awareness.
When the message is, "hey, this happened to me...I was a victim...the perpetrator is evil...he must be destroyed...send me your sympathy."...this is victimhood.
The key difference is that raising awareness is focused on serving others who may have had a similar experience or to help ensure they don't ever have a similar experience.
Standing up and raising awareness is to be highly commended because it takes great courage.
Victimhood, however, is focused on serving only one's self through creating self-directed economic, emotional, or social benefit.
Why Victimhood Is A Short Term Fix
The biggest problem if you take the victimhood pill is that it is only a short-term high.
You will receive your 15 minutes of fame...
And in that 15 minutes you will receive all the sympathy you desire.
However, once that initial period of acknowledgement has past, people's sympathy will move on to someone else...to some other harm.
So, the only way to get that feeling of social sympathy back is to become a victim again so that you can take the victimhood position once more.
But this time, and every subsequent time, you will receive less and less sympathy from the public and your social networks...
And as the level of sympathy wanes, so too does your credibility, the respect others may have for you, and the levels of support you receive from your social network.
When you have been harmed, there is an alternative to victimhood...
One that directly leads to respect, admiration, and leadership.
There is no quick high resulting from 15 minutes of fame, though.
The alternative is to:
- Accept what has happened to you as done. Over. The past. Acceptance doesn't imply agreement with what occurred. True acceptance, however, neutralizes the small and petty need for revenge that those high on victimhood seek. You are then free to choose your next actions, be they standing up and raising awareness, moving to a place of forgiveness, or engaging in further neutralization, clear of mind and true to self.
- Don't sweat the small stuff. Adults who are easily harmed by minor offences spend most of their time in a state of victimhood. If you look at the overall state of being and behaviour of these people, you quickly begin to see they also suffer from low degrees of self-esteem and emotional maturity.
- Make the conscious decision to not harm others, even when they harm you. Some adults believe that seeking revenge is the same as standing up for oneself. They view those who do not do this as weak. Yet, look at the behaviour of most children. Children often demonstrate a natural tendency to get revenge against other children who (they believe) have caused them harm. The implication is that, in adults, the desire to harm those who have harmed us is not a sign of strength but one of emotional underdevelopment.
- Learn the human skills necessary for #1 - #3. Whether through our Law of Cooperative Action Personal Mastery Program™, Professional Mastery Program™, or some other means, being able to accept unpleasant events in our life, not take offence at every small thing, and choose not to seek revenge when our primitive, reptilian brain tells us to is a learned skill. Development of this skill results from gaining knowledge and using tools that make these skills habits.
No one gets through life without being a victim of someone or something.
Bad stuff happens to everyone.
Some people experience more than their fair share.
Others experience stuff that is far worse than most.
I would never make light of what you, or anyone else, is going or has gone through.
The question is, how do you deal with it?
Do you seek out the short-term relief of the victimization drug, leaving more destruction in your wake?
Or do you recognize you were a victim but refuse to allow that label to define the rest of your life?
It is up to you. It is your choice.
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