Feb 5, 2022

"Victim" Is Not A Weak Shameful Word

"Victim mode", 

"Victim Mentality", 

"Victim Mindset" 

"Stop playing a Victim", 

"It's tempting to be the victim"- Leslie Vernick, author of The Emotionally Destructive Marriage

"Be a survivor, not a victim", 

"You're a victim, but you don't have to live there. You have a choice", 

"Victim thinking is actually self centered" - Vicki Tidwell Palmer CSAT, Moving Beyond Betrayal 

"You are only a victim for a nanosecond" - Pia Mellody via Vicki Tidwell Palmer CSAT, Moving Beyond Betrayal 

"Where there is choice... it is impossible to be a victim." - Vicki Tidwell Palmer CSAT, Moving Beyond Betrayal 

"After the actual event of being victimized, you are no longer a victim in the present moment" - Vicki Tidwell Palmer CSAT, Moving Beyond Betrayal 

These phrases and beliefs should NEVER be used with actual victims. I'm tired of the word "victim" being wrongly used as a weapon or way to control/silence victims under the guise of "empowerment". Can you imagine someone saying these things to a victim who just lost their entire home to a natural disaster? : "Stop playing the victim, get out of your victimhood. It's not presently happening to you anymore, you're no longer a victim of natural disaster. Stop being self centered. You have a choice"?? That would be incredibly insensitive and outright mean. 

Contrary to popular belief, being an actual victim is not a feeling, a mood, or state of mind. There's no connotation of weakness in the dictionary definition of "victim". See?:

Victim Definition: "to be hurt, damaged, or killed because of something or someone; a person who is cheated or fooled by someone else" 

"Victim" is simply a word that describes that something bad happened to us that wasn't our fault. That's all. Ie. Victim of a car crash, victim of assault, victim of natural disaster, etc. It's not who we are. When we talk about the word "victim" as if it's a negative label, feeling, mood, or state of mind, we are only fueling the belief that there is something wrong with the word "victim". Why WOULDN'T we want a word that means what happened to us wasn't our fault? That's a good thing! 

"I use the terms victim and perpetrator..they're situated actions terms, they're not identity terms..I know a lot of people prefer survivor and that's cool, but the word victim at least denotes that a crime has been committed against you. The word survivor does not. So there's something in the word victim that is important."

"The word victim contains a criminal act." - Dr Allan Wade, Centre For Response Based Practice 

But, can these phrases be used accurately in any context? Yes, these phrases are commonly and accurately used to describe a perpetrator who is pretending to be a victim of the person they victimized. For example, by definition "victim mentality" means that someone who is not a current victim is playing a victim :

Victim Mentality : "an acquired personality trait in which a person tends to recognize or consider themselves as a victim of the negative actions of others, and to behave as if this were the case in the face of contrary evidence of such circumstances." 

However, again, phrases like this should never be used on someone who is actually a victim. Only people/perpetrators who are pretending to be a victim. For anyone to tell an actual current victim that they are in "victim mode", "victim mentality", etc. is LITERALLY TELLING THEM THEY AREN'T A VICTIM AND ARE JUST ACTING LIKE IT! 

By acknowledging that I'm a victim, I'm acknowledging that I'm injured and it's not my fault. Again, this is good. But to imply I'm only "playing" a victim, it insinuates that I have fault in my injury, or am not that injured and am just being dramatic. Which is disgusting, incorrect, and wrong.

Please stop pathologizing & stigmatizing the word "victim" . It's not a dirty shameful weak word. I can be a survivor of abuse and also a victim of abuse. They don't contradict.

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