The Cold Tower of Despair

"Victims.  Aren't we all?"  That's what the Crow asked.  It's a great quote, as I think it hits right to the heart of victimhood status here in America.  People used to have pride in things like family (unfounded), nationality (same thing) and accomplishments (one thing people should have pride in).  Some took pride in their values and morals.  Again, commendable, though those things tend to be far too fluid to take any real sense of pride in ... unless you are a samurai or something. 

Now we take pride in being a victim.  We wear the crown of staples like a badge of courage.  Not a survivor.  Survivor implies strength.  Victim.  You can blame all your woes on it.  You are a victim of sexual assault, therefore you sexually assault.  You are a victim of your mother beating you, therefore you beat your kids.  You are a victim of addiction to Twinkies, therefore you shoot gay people.  Claim "victim" and you can wash your hands of everything. 

It is highly convenient.  It is highly coveted.  Who can be the greatest victim.  All eyes turn to the fallen.  I remember back when I worked in the factory.  A woman had just been diagnosed with cancer.  She was pretty stoic about it.  Family history said the odds were in her favor for catching that bus.  A co-worker who heard her talking about this decided to one-up her.  (Keep in mind, the newly crowned carrier of the Big C was not talking to this woman or claiming victim status.)  She said, and while this is not a direct quote, it is close enough, "That's nothing.  I slipped on ice a few years ago and broke my leg in two places."

Victims don't even know how to distinguish their true victim status.

Everyone wants to be a bigger victim than the last.  Everyone wants to use their status as an excuse.  "You can't blame me.  I'm a victim.  I'm not responsible for my actions.  I'm a victim."

It's not that I don't have sympathy.  I do.  I'm not a heartless machine.  I just can't believe that people not only can't distinguish real tragedy from minor inconvenience (cancer is a far bigger problem than a broken leg), but that they also take the status they claim to so hate and turn it into a crutch for every woe they have.

Survivors are to be commended.  Survivors that take their victimhood and turn it into inspiration or even revenge (the rapist who shoots her attacker, for instance) should be applauded. 

All of this stems from someone who told me the other day that the reason she keeps making bad decisions is because she is a "victim" of a one-parent family. 

Months ago, maybe a year ago, a boy was burned alive over a video game.  He survived.  He's going through therapy both mental and physical.  He looked remarkably well given his situation.  He was a victim of greed.  He has become a survivor.  I saw an interview with him.  It was short.  I don't remember a word he said, but not one single sentence was anywhere near as stupid as what that woman said to me.  Not one.  In fact, I doubt he would ever utter something so stupid.

What I've discovered, in my dealings with these victims of whatever ailment they believe has wronged them, is that they had some tragedy in life and now they blame all the bad decisions they make on it.  The only people who buy it?  Other so-called victims.  The survivors see through that shit like it is the finest crystal. 

Victimhood isn't a get out of jail free card.  It is a stepping stone to how you are going to live the rest of your life.  You'll either be a survivor of whatever life has dealt you, or you'll be a victim of it forever.  It will be your call and your call only.  

And lest anyone think I am downplaying real tragedy (or even perceived tragedy, because in the end, all that really matters is the perception), I'm not.  I understand that bad shit happens.  People are dealt rotten deals, and it can be crippling.  I'm attacking the idea that people should continue to embrace these things and give them power.  What they should do is conquer them and destroy them.  If you don't get that ... well, you may be a victim.


Tina said...

I agree. I am not heartless either but I just can't stand people complaining - if that's all they resort to.

Leaving behind an abusive "dad" I swore to myself I won't ever be victimised again.

Being a (proud) single mum implies even more work than most of the time, but I manage and I rarely bitch about things.

However I met an astonishing woman in the country side a couple of years ago. She's lost her home twice or 3 times due to natural disasters. Her husband set one of their daughters on fire, killing her and ending up in prison. That woman was still standing; proud, hard working, baking cookies for a local shop since 4 am and doing house work all day, new partner, new baby and new life going on.

I thought, if she could go through so much hell and somehow make it, so can I. And so could so many of those so called "victims".

-Doug Brunell "America's Favorite Son" said...

You know, in America, victimhood is used as an excuse and an "honor." I know plenty of people who can wear that badge due to sexual abuse, abusive men, very rough circumstances in life, abusive parents, disabilities --whatever -- yet they choose not to define themselves that way. That is amazing to me, because it seems that most people would think the victimhood badge is easier to wear (I think it takes too much work).

It's good to know others agree, too.