“It would perhaps be nice to be alternately the victim and the executioner.”
- - Charles Baudelaire
The victim, from Latin victima denoting a sacrifice echoing in the Gothic wihs, meaning ‘holy’ and the Germanic weihen,’ consecrated’ took a long journey until it surfaced in British language in 1650 denoting a person tortured or in deadly suffering until it Germany 1718 was given the meaning of someone oppressed by people, powers or situations. It is the latter we are accustomed to refer to when we use the term victim in our vernacular.
It is a sad condition – because at the root of it all to be a victim is a choice. Because we are a victim only if we choose to be one. I recall a conversation long time back, a friend of mine were a victim of sexual abuse – as I saw it and told her. She got furious; calling her a victim was for her quite different than stating the facts. I got a lesson that day – an insight if you will – and this insight still marks me in a quite wicked way – as I take on the same aggression when people victimize themselves. I know my story and the reason – but the one who chooses to be victimized doesn’t. Language and history gets in the way and communication gets erratic and venomous.
The victim so often desires to be the victim…because it affirms so strongly Self…
I believe that we can manifest our dreams – and I believe we can be masters of our own Fate – but we can also succumb to the challenges and get lost even to ourselves. Of course, abuse in any form is an evil – but to become a victim for it or not – that is always a choice.
Life gives us scars, wounds, ulcers – but also joy, love and ecstasy. There is a balance at play in the highest ovation as it is in the most dirty depths. But can we see it so we can make the balance straight?
Some attempts of change has been proposed where people declare themselves as survivors of misfortune and certainly this is better than adopting the modern idea of a victim – but still it fails in the complicated simplicity of acceptance. It is only in the moment of acceptance we can move on – denial can generate the victim – the oppressed one.
Certainly the pain lingers on, the terror of contemplation and the revolt for the one who accepted as much as for the victim – but the one who accepted still have at least eight portals open to move on within and search new landscapes, scared – but with no loss of self – just a promise of healing in all directions.
But the adoption of the role of victim is not exclusive to those who suffered abuse. We can also be victim by choice – because we bring to our heart the cause of some suppressed group we identify with – or simply because we feel misunderstood. No matter if we can point fingers to a cause or have taken a cause - the acceptance of this negative idea remains. To be a victim – for circumstances, for evil, for malice, it is always the adoption of someoneseeing themselves in singular or plural as unfortunate – and where fortune seems lost misfortune loves to enter.
The victim rapidly learns to externalize its pain in a hunt for scapegoats. When the feeling of safety comes, the victim often test the environment by becoming manic and accusations follows – it is a self ignited catharsis that reveals itself, just to make sure that the safe environment is truly safe. There is a double negative at play in this that seeks affirmation. This is s much true for the individual as it is for a group or a cause.
The victim is someone who feels oppressed by external factors – real or imaginary. The Victim is someone who venerates misfortune. The Victim is someone who uses the misfortune to bring life to negative self images or to fuel an oppressed cause.
But we are all subject for suffering. Love breaks, friends are lost, conflicts are born, street fights happen, basically shit happens and sometimes we are simply just at the wrong place at the wrong time…
I mean, abuse is horrible, revolting, and saddening. But I also get sad when people adopt some cause because they so readily associate with the role of the victim in the name of opinion and free speech – instead of making a difference so they can step out of the cage they chose for themselves.
Sure there is a lot of unjust and unfair, degrading and rotten thing in our beautiful but depraved world. But do we really need to adopt the role, model and icon of the victim? Isn’t it enough to feel on skin and soul the claws of what is unjust and bring on ascent?
I mean, is it a useful identification? By assuming the identity of the victim will you heal your self – or the cause you victimize yourself in favor of – or is it as Martin Luther King Jr, once said:
“A man can't ride your back unless it's bent.”