I do have a BIG problem with most victim advocacy groups and those who run them -- starting with the name -- VICTIM.
The general tone of the “groups" is to verify the victim status which has a LOT of psychological and psycho-social baggage hung on it - not the least of which is an attitude that the 'victim' will always be victimized and the only way to cope with life is to just give up or become an aggressor. The whole ‘once a victim, always a victim’ mentality.
Ask someone who has been raped - the vast majority will FOREVER class themselves as a rape victim.
Victims can easily be manipulated. Victims can be convinced they will never really be able to be in charge of their own life again. Victims are told they really are only the effect of what happens in their world. Victims in a group therapy situation almost always are trying to convince each other that they are the most damaged. Whatever they do for the rest of their lives - it is ALWAYS shadowed by the fact they are a victim.
Victims are convinced, that to 'get better' they need to learn to strike out first and hard and that because they are victims, they know better than anyone who is not a victim how the world should be, and just what is right and proper. It is the right of the victim because they know suffering they MUST prevent suffering of anyone or anything which is too weak to protect themselves. Victims live a life of. . . well a professional victim. Seldom do they ever become a survivor.
Survivors are living life as productive forward looking people with a positive view of the future and capable of making positive changes or preserving the good in society. Whatever trauma which could have become the vehicle of being a victim is faced and learned from. To the survivor that episode is still a part of their life, but the strangle hold is gone and that episode is just another of the bad things which happen in anyone’s life, to be learned from and from the healing process makes the survivor stronger. No longer the center of the persona, the survivor moves on and continues growing, looking on the episode rarely, but views it as a positive force, much as fire is needed to strengthen steel and refine gold.
The power seeking manipulators of the world seek out victims, and work at convincing all they come into contact with that they have been victimized. It is a power game. In totalitarian or utopian groups or societies these follower victims are referred to as 'useful idiots'.
I am not speaking from theory - I am a survivor. I have had many episodes which could have convinced me I was a victim. I hit a deer riding a motorcycle - messed up my knee and had a serious fib-tib fracture of my leg - several operations and many months of therapy later, I walk mostly normally. I have been raped. I have had my husband die much too young after 5 years of knowing he could die any day. I have had my home foreclosed after loosing the ability to practice nursing in a hospital ER following an auto accident when I was hit while sitting at a stop light. I am technically homeless.
What makes me a survivor? These and many other episodes have refined me by fire. I learned if you want to kill a deer - a rifle is much safer. I practice situational awareness - and listen to my gut feelings about people and situations. I know how to defend myself from violent attacks - physical and non-physical - in many ways ranging from avoidance through lethal force. I am a survivor - but that is not my 'profession' - I have made the decision to be a helper - to teach others how to be a survivor.
Situational awareness makes me stay as far as possible from the professional victims and their users.
I guess there is no point in this post, except to maybe be able to recognize the personality types I mentioned. And to let anyone know that becoming a SURVIVOR is a conscious decision the person must make; then work at integrating that episode into your life to extract the lessons learned and to let go of it.
Becoming a professional victim is not learning and letting go - but you do get a lot of sympathy and encouragement while you are being used. It is so much easier!
Thanks for hearing me out. . . I will now go back in my crate and be a nice quiet doggie. I do have a quote which is part of my being as discussed in my blog entry named Touchstones and Wise Words which I remember in any confrontation and should give fair warning to me any who may threaten me: "The problem with small furry creatures in a corner is that, just occasionally, one of them is a mongoose."