“Victim” isn’t a Dirty Word, so Don’t Revictimize Me!
Didn’t expect that! The backlash. The name-calling. The shaming. Who knew talking about past abuses was actually “wallowing in victimization“?
Well, I’ll be danged!
If I’m being accused of reveling and wallowing in being a victim, thought I, so are others. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will. (But I hope it doesn’t.)
To me, this sounds like wallowing in victimization. Not that what the parents did wasn’t horrible, but why was she still living there in her late teens, never mind her twenties? I think maturity is better reached by looking at the part YOU play in dysfunctional relationships and working to understand and correct that, instead of labeling and blaming others.
I had pretty much decided to stop getting these psychcentral newsletters, as many of the articles take this victimized, blaming attitude, and this one drove me over the edge. Bye!
No doubt about the emotional abuse, but it’s sad that the author continues to revel in her victimization and blame those awful parents for her behavior. Then, although probably therapeutic to a degree, she creates a platform to inform strangers about her experiences, garnering attention much as a narcissist would. Hmmmmm
Oy vey, mamma mia and a couple of laadeedaas.
But, is it in the Oxford?
In Goodbye Mr. Chips starring Peter O’Toole and Petula Clark, Mr. Chips takes violent exception to the word “unsuitability” because “it isn’t even in the Oxford.” I just discovered the word “victimhood” isn’t either! Who knew!
But I digress…frequently.
According to Merriam-Webster, victimize is defined “to treat (someone) cruelly or unfairly,” while the Oxford defines victim as “A person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action” or “A person who is tricked or duped.”
And revel is defined as “get great pleasure from (a situation or experience).”
Now Put it all Together and Whaddya Get
I’m unrestrainedly indulging in being treated cruelly or unfairly
and/or duped (or the memory of it) to get great pleasure (and attention)
from the situation.
Holy crap! So that’s what I’m doing is it? (Yes, Sheldon, that was sarcasm.)
Back when I was a Victim…
..I didn’t know I was a victim. It was just….normal! Unpleasant. Miserable. Weird. But normal.
I seldom complained and rarely showed pain. No one outside my home had the slightest clue what I was going through. Not coworkers. Not even relatives. Why? Because I didn’t know that what was being done to me was cruel and unfair.
In a word, I was brain-washed. Mind controlled. I knew my life was much different from my peers, but I implicitly believed my parents teaching that my “hostage” situation was for my good, safety and Godliness. I stayed because I’d been brainwashed to believe it was the right thing to do. It’s called Stockholm Syndrome! And my mamma still has it.
The Weak have Great Power
In Now Voyager, Claude Rains makes the insightful comment that, “The weak have great power.”
My father was weak as he fought cancer, taking it foregranted that I would shuttle him to and from chemo. I did it because I loved him.
And mother was weak, housebound by agoraphobia, friendless, she clung to me emotionally and sometimes, physically. I stayed because I loved her.
Could they have functioned independently of me? Of course! When I moved out, they were just fine. No, they chose to selfishly exploit their weaknesses to take advantage of me. And if I did anything they didn’t like…Crush! They stomped on my self-esteem…again.
But I bore it all, without going bat-crap crazy. Read about it here!
I Lose Everything
To stop the victimization, I chose to lose everything by going No Contact. It sucked but it was oh! so worth it!
I lost my father.
I lost my mother.
I lost my grandma.
I lost my pride.
I lost my self-esteem.
I lost my privacy.
And, this only child strongly suspects, I lost my inheritance.
Did I say “lost”? I chucked it all…happily…three weeks after I discovered narcissism. But I still have my husband, my health, my home, my faith and two fuzzy wagging polywogs.
You were saying what about “wallowing”?
A Time for Wallowing. It’s called Grief.
If you don’t wallow and acknowledge the abuses that occurred and grieve those abuses, then you’ll never heal. There are no shortcuts. Skip “wallowing” or try to cut your “wallowing” short and you ain’t gonna heal, baby!
Been there. Tried it (to keep up the happy facade). Doesn’t work!
As it says in Ecclesiastes 3, “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance…A time to keep silence, And a time to speak…A time to love, And a time to hate…”
So there ya’ be. A Biblical mandate to wallow during the season for wallowing. Hey! There’s even a song about it!
Revictimization: Now There’s a Dirty Word!
Those who attack victims always have an agenda. Victimizing someone is bad. But revictimizing a victim by shaming them for being a victim. Wow! That’s low!
Revictimized is defined as when “a survivor who has removed his/herself from an abusive environment is harmed again by perpetrators.”
The victimizing started when I was a baby. I didn’t ask to be victimized. I did nothing to cause it. I didn’t even know it was happening. No child of a dysfunctional home does. It’s not their fault.To imply otherwise is to revictimize them.
But I always like to attempt to reverse engineer people’s thought processes. It’s fun to dig into their pretty little heads and try to figure out what makes ’em tick. Let’s draw back the veil and peek behind the curtain, shall we?
Fun Factoid of the Day: Did you know that the English word “conscience” comes from the Greek word συνείδησις (suneidésis). It actually means “with knowledge.”
Or they may have been abused in the same ways and are just not quite ready to admit it yet. As a clergyman wrote to me this week, despite everything he endured, “I am still here. I can still hold a job, raise a family, minister in church, and enjoy life as I see fit.”
Good! So can I. So can most of those who suffered abuse. But just because you can still function doesn’t mean you weren’t abused or don’t need time to wallow on your path to healing.
I’m a freelance writer with a passion for writing about narcissism, narcissistic abuse and its many rotten bedfellows. But a writer without a platform is like an actor without a stage. PsychCentral is just one of my many platforms, each with original content.
And I like to help people. Other people’s writing about narcissism helped me tremendously. But there was a gap in the market. Most of them were raised by neglecting, self-absorbed narcissists. Mine were the engulfing kind. So I thought to myself,
“Well, Lenora ol’ buddy ol’ pal, perhaps you can redeem the abuse you suffered by sharing it with others.”
I also write in the hopes that someday my momma will grow a pair and Google me. (Dad did and went straight to his attorney!) When she finds my articles, she’ll finally know why her life has never worked and how her nearest and dearest have, yes, victimized her…to this day.
What I didn’t expect was how much your comments on Facebook have helped me. The most helpful ones are along the lines, “Girl! Your family was whacked out!” It gives me a normal perspective and the moral fiber I need in my daily struggle against false guilt and denial, denial, denial.
And there’s nothin’ wrong with an “I’m so sorry you had to go through that” either. Cause, goodness knows, I’ve got no empathy nor compassion for myself! No pity parties, no wallowing here, more’s the pity! (Yes, pun intended.)
So….thank you, thank you, thank you!
I’ve got no pride in my “recovery.” In fact, just when I’m feeling better, a suspicion that I’ve barely started to heal creeps in. But I try. Damn! How I try!
As I said in Why Can’t I Cry:
I haven’t “recovered” myself. Oh, I’m well on the road, but frankly, I despise the term “recovery.” Subliminally, it implies we were once perfectly healthy and can easily return to that state.
Au contraire, mon ami. For those of us raised by narcissists, we shed our emotional health before we shed our diapers. It’s a state we can’t remember nor imagine…Yes, I need to unlearn the mind control. Yes, I need to grow a pair. Yes, I need to learn how to calmly yet strongly set boundaries. Yes, I need to lose the false guilt…
Instead of “recovery,” let’s use the word “healing,” shall we? Oh, so much better!
So I share with you the only things I’ve got.
Two+ Years of Studying Narcissism + Life Experience
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As a student currently pursuing his Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology just told me, I “find your writing both informative and sad. The important thing is that it makes [it] more real than any textbook or lecture can.”
And if that makes me a wallowing victim, baby, then watch me wallow!
Or maybe the late, great Roddy Piper ad libbed it best. Click audio clip below!
Did you like what you read here? If so, I’d be happy to contribute an original story about narcissism, narcissistic abuse (and its many rotten bedfellows) and healing to your site or guest blog. For details on the “whole package” deal I offer, please visit www.lenorathompsonwriter.com.
Recommended Reading: An Adult Child’s Guide to What’s “Normal” by John and Linda Friel. If your home life wasn’t “normal” this book will help you recognize the abnormalcy and move toward normalcy.
For more rants, ravings and reverse engineering of narcissism, please visit www.lenorathompsonwriter.com and don’t forget to subscribe for daily updates by email. Thanks!
This article is for informational and educational purposes only. Under no circumstances should it be considered therapy nor replace therapy and treatment. If you are feeling suicidal, thinking about hurting yourself, or are concerned that someone you know may be in danger of hurting himself or herself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is staffed by certified crisis response professionals. The content of these blogs and all blogs written by Lenora Thompson are merely her opinion. If you are in need of help, please contact qualified mental health professionals.
Thompson, L. (2016). “Victim” isn’t a Dirty Word, so Don’t Revictimize Me!. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 24, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/narcissism/2016/02/victim-revictimization/