Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Professional Victim

  I made the acquaintance of an individual some time back. We had friends in common. Now, while I would never really consider them a friend, I did look forward to their emails and messages. Their fb posts were enlightening. I did, in time, notice that they seemed to have a very specific point of view on something they felt very strongly about. They would became intense and angry at any perceived slight. As we went along they became much quicker to anger. I was puzzled. This was a very smart person. And while, if I squinted my eyes and tilted my head a certain way, I could almost see their point. Really it just seemed to be their hot button. This last week they posted something that offended them. They were livid. Indignant. And so, I made the mistake of trying to reason with them. I did not see what they did. I could not relate to their issue. In me expressing this, I was unintentionally becoming a lightening rod for their rage. Oh, the anger. The hate and foul language spilling out from this person. I was both shocked and curious. The thing about anger is, we usually pour it out on the wrong person. Rage against a false problem or slight. It is a way to relieve the tension that is felt, without actually working on ourselves. It is a trick. Their words quickly turned abusive. I tried to bring things back to center. To no avail. They were unwilling to either see things in another light or allow another point of view. If you did not see things as they did, you were ignorant, bordering on moronic and you were deserving of them unleashing their hate.

  This was jarring. It was unexpected. And it really left me sad. I suggested if they really felt that they were somehow slighted that they do something about it. Write a letter. Start a petition. Post something on this business's fb page. This was ignored. I asked if there was indeed an issue, what they were saying, then they could use it to become part of the solution. NO. The abuse doubled. I finally withdraw. Sorry that this person that I learned from, had shared niceties with had turned so cruel. And it made me think. I realized that some people do not want a solution. They simply wish to be wronged. They were being slighted. Picked on. And if anyone challenged that, well they were the enemy. In short, I had an encounter with a professional victim. This person spent their life looking for ways that they were being slighted. Everything and anything could escalate their temper and tip them into a rage. Nothing could be done to bring them back from the brink. They actually wanted to be mad.

  While I was still puzzling this, something caught my attention. I was reading a list of traits the abused show. I was doing some research and I perused literature.  And there it was, something that I had seen before. Facts that I had heard over and over in counseling and read in books. But I had not been ready to take it in then. One of the signs of an abused person was the emotional over reacting to situations. I can not tell you how this hit me. I saw not only this person I had tried to offer comfort to, but also, at times myself.

Well, I had to examine this. This was something old and yet new for me. I am no bigger mystery to anyone as much as I am to myself. I hide things from me. I am not always honest with myself. I am a sneak. A sneaky, sneaking, sneaker and I sneak. I try to hold myself accountable. I had just been on this very topic a few days ago. And I had not seen it. I do over react at times. I throw something out there and a few minutes later I am over it. Astonished that I had gotten involved or upset in the first place. This was a revelation. And as soon as I learned it. Accepted that I did indeed do this, I realized I did not have too. I could get on top of this and move forward in a more reasonable way.

  I am no one's victim. Not even my own. I have given up contact with that friend of a friend. They are unwilling to move from the pedestal of blame that they have climbed to and I have no intention of nodding my head and wringing my hands in support of a false sense of self righteous indignation. It is neither healthy nor does it move my little boat forward. It was not my fault. Those things that were done to me. Things I could not control. Someone laid the label victim on me. However it is up to me to rip off that label and live my life outside of that stigma. I am not defined by an act perpetrate on me. I am my actions, my beliefs and my words.


  1. I recently brought up the topic of 'professional victims' on a forum called

    Psychopathfree is largely a victim's only forum for those who have suffered or are suffering at the hands of a psychopath. It's a worthy endeavor and hopefully it has helped those in need.

    After spending a year there as constributor, I do perceive an underlying sense many members of that forum see healing as a lifestyle rather than an objective means to an end. If misery truly loves company, does it ever want it to leave? For the sake of those members who want to heal and move on, as someone outside (I was never victimized) looking in, I hope not.

    I recognize that my points of view may not be shared or are not always expressed in comfortable terms. But, they're always civil and objective. Regardless, several psychopathfree members were very irate when I'd broached the topic of "professional victimhood" despite it's relevancy to the forum.

    To be clear, Professional Victim is an inaccurate and colloquial term to use to describe victims of legitimate suffering. Applying that definition to those at psychopathfree was not my intention. No one in their right mind actually wants to be abused by a psychopath.

    Professional victimhood seems to be loosely and most commonly defined as a person who uses their victim status (whether genuine or self proclaimed) to gain pity, attention or possible advantage from others. Professional Victimhood is portrayed as a form of social status, much like a doctor, professor, dentist or someone with letters (Ph.D) after their names. Think Jane Doe P.V. - *P*rofessional *V*ictim.

    To more fairly describe what I think could be happening to some at psychopathfree, let's coin a more accurate term; amateur victim.

    The amateur can still be just as much a genuine victim as the professional, but unlike the pro, an amateur victim has no impetus to use their status to gain pity or possible advantage from others. They didn't ask to be put in the way of emotional harm and the suffering is sincere.

    However, what if the amateur chooses to remain in victim-mode? What if she chooses to continually convince herself she is a victim in order to gain favour with her own peace of mind?

    Mentally re-visiting and confronting the cause of the trauma is essential for self-discovery and healing but it's so painful she chooses to sequester and avoid those experiences and recovery processes. This repression can invade the sub-conscious and manifest into a psychologically downward spiral.

    By remaining in the "emotionally safer" psychologically protective loop of victim mindedness, the amateur runs the risk of re-developmental stagnancy, a self-elusive state that overlooks the neccessary but painful personal responsibilities of charting the course of ones post-traumatic life.

    It's obvious that remaining there is self-destructive.

    Whether or not the amateur sees, or continues to see, herself as a victim is up to her and no one else. It's a choice, but those conscious choices tend to re-affirm the position, whether positive or negative, in the amateurs' sub-conscious and it is the sub-conscious which ultimately influences the outcomes of that persons' life (part of the science of epigenetics - see video).

    Dr. Bruce Lipton on Epigenetics:

    Thomas Sheridan on victim mentality:

    Does V stand for victory, or victim? It's up to the individual.

  2. In this particular blog, I am sharing an experience with someone who is always perceiving that something is being "done" to them. That they have no control or means to rectify their imagined slight. That is choosing to be a victim. Hence the title Professional Victim. Bad things happen. Process those things as you must and move on. Do not allow someone else steal your life. Also, being more comfortable having others feel sorry for them rather than loving or respecting them. We all make choices. Good luck with your endeavors.