Ze Villing Victim

Why do I find it so hard to give up the role of victim?

I hear people proudly ‘refusing to be a victim’, and others have advised me to ‘stop being a victim’.   First of all, it’s not clear that this is something that can be merely switched off.  And secondly, I notice that I am reluctant to do so even if I could simply by willing it.  Why?

I’m reading a book at the moment called ‘Why do I do that? Psychological Defense Mechanisms and the Hidden Ways They Shape Our Lives’.  It’s not a brilliant book and I disagree with the author on almost every page (including about the fact that if anyone disagrees with him it must necessarily be because they are employing a defense mechanism; the idea that he may just be wrong in a given instance seemingly not having occurred to him).

However, it does raise some interesting points.  It seems to start with the premise that how our primary carers (always referred to by him as mother or parents) responded to our infant cries will determine how we react later in life.  Strikes me as pretty uncontroversial.  I’m astonished to find that quite a lot of his described reactions do not seem to me to apply to me at all (he would probably think I am dissembling, and maybe he is right).  One that absolutely did apply, though, was the wanting someone to take care of me; the handwringing and hopelessness.  I’ve identified for many years with the so-called Cinderella Complex.

Where does it come from, this refusal to grow up and knuckle down?  Is this something to do with my earliest childhood?  What was my mother doing with the baby me?  And what is this attitude doing for me, that I cling to it so?

Hm.  Is it because I is a girl?  Can we make a link between victimhood and womanhood, given my mother’s recent reveal?  Please tell me I am not passing this shit onto my children.  By the looks of it, not.  But this stuff is insidious.  Tomorrow: women’s marches worldwide.  This is all going to have to change.

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Florence Feynman

I am a middle aged, middle class woman, thinking.

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