If someone was to hear the words ‘victim’ and ‘perpetrator’, they might have a good idea about what these words mean. Perhaps one of their friends has been in a relationship where they were victimised, for instance.
Closer to Home
Then again, they might know someone who has victimised others in the past, and continues to do so to this day. In addition to this, they may have been in at least one relationship where they were treated unfairly.
It could be far worse, though, as one could be in a relationship with someone who treats them badly. However, if even if one can’t recall a time in their life when they have been with anyone like this and neither have any of their friends, it doesn’t mean that they won’t have heard about people who have.
For example, one may have had conversations with people who were with someone who was abusive. It could be said that this comes down to the fact that it is not uncommon for another person who be in a relationship that is abusive.
Along with what one will have heard in the real world, there can also be what they have come across online. And in today’s world, there are plenty of people online who portray themselves as victims.
When this takes place, someone can say that they are being victimised by other uses online, and they can say that this is what happens when they are offline. At the same time, if one can relate to this, they will probably see themselves as a victim.
Therefore, it is not just that they are treated badly by others; it is that they are completely defenceless and helpless. The people ‘out there’ are then going to have it in for them, and there is absolutely nothing that they can do about it.
Other people are then going to have the power to do whatever they want to them, and it is then going to be perfectly normal for them to feel powerless. But if one doesn’t believe that this relates to just about everyone and that it only relates to certain people, it could show that they have bought into ‘identity politics’.
If this is the case, not only will one see themselves as being completely powerless; they will also have the moral high ground. This is likely to show that one is a woman, or they could see themselves as being part of a minority.
Black and White
The reason for this is that when one has bought into ‘identity politics’, they are likely to believe that white men are the perpetrators. As a result of this, the people who belong to other groups are the victims.
So, as all white men have all the power and one is victimised by them, they are going to be morally superior for not behaving in the same way. With this in mind, it is one’s status as a victim that allows them to experience a sense of control over their life.
An Indirect Approach
Now, clearly this is not going to allow them to live a truly empowered life, but what it will do is allow them to receive attention, approval and resources from others. One is then receiving things without giving anything in return.
Yet, as they are helpless victims who have no control over their life, it is only fair that the people who are 'keeping them down' give them what they need. Due to how someone like this sees themselves and how they present themselves to the world, it could be easy to say that this is something that is black and white.
A Closer Look
Nevertheless, regardless of whether one buys into ‘identity politics’ or not, it doesn’t mean that they will always act in this manner. There could be other moments when they swap roles and come across as a perpetrator.
And if someone pays attention to the people who see themselves as victims online; they may find that there are moments when they are only too happy to harm another person. Still, they can justify this behaviour, by saying that they are getting their own back.
The Real World
If one has the tendency to end up with people who are abusive, there could also be moments when they come across as abusive. It can then seem as though they only have two ways or behaving: acting like a victim or acting like a perpetrator.
The fact that there is another way for them to experience life might not even occur to them; this could be how they have behaved for as long as they can remember. In order for one to change their behaviour, it might be necessary for them to look into what took place when they were younger.
A Deeper Look
This may have been a time when they were brought up by at least one person who was abusive. One would then have been a victim and they would have been around someone who was a perpetrator.
Consequently, this may have set them up to believe that they only have two options; to either be a victim or to victimise others. The former would make them feel powerless, but the latter would allow them to feel powerful.
But no matter if they indentify with the part of themselves that feels like a victim or the part of them that wants to victimise others, they are still caught up in their own trauma. Their true-self, the part of them that doesn’t feel powerless, has not been able to see the light of day.
Ultimately, behaving like a victim is likely to be what feels safe at a deeper level and, until this changes, their behaviour is unlikely to change. The trauma within them will create a certain resonance that draws to them the kind of experiences that match up with how they felt as a child.
What this emphasises is how important it is for someone to be able to step back and to reflect on what is taking place within them. Through doing this, they will have the ability to see how their external world is a reflection of their inner world.
In the short-term, it can be extremely painful for someone to face up to the effect that they are having on their reality. In the long-term, it will give them the ability to heal the pain that is within them and to transform their life.
If one can relate to this, and they want to change their life, it might be a good idea for them to work with a therapist or a healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.