The Victim

Fred M. Fariss

Ever since human beings have been upon the planet Earth, they have perceived and experienced themselves to be victims. So humans are very familiar and knowledgeable about the idea and experience of seeing themselves as victims. To see oneself as a victim is as natural as to breathe. It is all a part of an ongoing soap opera. The conditioning to act out the position of victim has become a role in the drama of man's destiny for living. Everyone feels the pain of being a victim.

The role of victim applies to humans in two ways. First in a general sense, everyone believes and feels there is something faulty about him as a human being and a person. This is deeply rooted into the knowledge and experience of the person since the day he was born. Often, when a person makes a mistake, he will say: "What is wrong with me?" In some way and to some degree, when a person is in one of those moments of self doubt, he will sense that he is broken, sick or crazy. This negative perception of himself will influence his experience of his world view of life.

The second way that a person sees himself as a victim is when something happens around him or to him. He may be diagnosed with cancer, or he may be in an automobile accident. His marriage could fall apart. Furthermore, he could be a part of a social disaster like a riot, tornado or homicide. In all of these situations, he will see and experience himself as a victim. Even though there might be no physical injury in any of the above incidences, he will use a peculiar language to describe his experience as a victim. Words and phrases like "I feel heart broken." "The pain of my hurt is more than I can bear." "It will take a long time for me to heal from this wound." "What did I do to deserve this?"

A word that has become popular today is the word "closure," when speaking about dealing with the consequences of something that has happen to a person. The "closure" is always predicated upon certain conditions that must occur before the person can feel anything else than what they are feeling about a given event that has happened in their life. The "closure" is limited to something or someone outside of the person who says he needs closure. "Closure" is a misnomer for what the person needs to do in order to bring balance and contact with himself as a human being to be the person that he is. The common language that is used by the person who sees and feels himself to be a victim is the language of fragmentation. He has lost contact with the cohesion of the integrity of his being. What the person needs is to make contact with the cohesion of his being. This is not "closure", but "letting go." This is the dynamic of grief. Grief is not the function of a victim but the function of a human being. Grief does not occur only with great disastrous events, but is an every day ongoing process called living. To stay in the now, where one experiences the liveliness of the process, necessitates being in a state of "letting go" of the past and the future. "Letting go" is an internal process of choice that occurs when a person decides it is time to "let go" and not use the occasion to capitalize upon making contact with the general perception of seeing himself as a victim and use that experience to further his experience of fragmentation around whatever has happened to him. Many people never get "closure" because they are not willing to let go of the abiding incident that occurred. In this state of mind they can feel the general attitude of being a victim more so to keep themselves miserable and defeated.

In the social order of things, certain elements must be present for one to experience himself as a victim, both in a general and specific sense of the word. The role of a victim can only be maintained with the presence of the role of a persecutor, imagined or real. The drama can only be carried out with the presence of these two roles. The persecutor role carries with it an embedded victim role. So the persecutor is projecting upon the external "victim" the perception and feelings of his internal victimization. When the "victim" steps out of the victim role by "letting go" of the object for his believing and feeling he is a "victim", he will then make contact with his essential self. This will set him free from the paralyzing affect of his "victim experience." Consequently, for the persecutor, unless he can find another external victim, he will go out of his "persecutor's role" and go into his own "internal victim role."

There is one other role in this drama of pretension. It is the counter-part of the persecutor role - the rescuer role. The rescuer is also invested with a victim internally and takes care of his victim by rescuing the external victims of other people. Whenever the other person frees himself from the victim role by "letting go", then the rescuer will be forced into either becoming a victim or finding someone else to rescue. Rescuers can have great empathy for other people because they are able to via their victim experience to identify with the external victim. Because of this, there is no end to which some rescuers will go to rescue the victim, even sometime to their own detriment. The trinity of the persecutor, rescuer and victim is a powerful drama to support and promote denial in human beings and between human beings. Sad to say, much of the activity of this trinity is the root for co-dependency and a false definition of love.

The outstanding emotion that drives persecutors is anger. The outstanding emotion that drives rescuers is sympathetic love. The outstanding emotions that drives victims are hurt, rejection and loss.

The experience of the pretentious trinity of persecutor, rescuer and victim is so common place that most people are not aware that when they are in one of these roles that they are acting out the roles as a reaction to their own internal programming. For example, being persecuted and feeling persecuted are not the same thing. Being diagnosed with cancer, one can choose to see and feel himself to be victimized. There are other alternatives one can choose to be. In every day common experiences, it is not having to deal with great issues like cancer, etc. What most people deal with every day is relational experiences in social roles of husband/wife, parents/children, teacher/student, man/woman and employer/employee. The intensity of the investment in the roles of persecutor, rescuer or victim depends upon conditional behavior. For example, if a national calamity were to occur, it is expected that those who experienced some kind of loss will talk about that experience as though they were victims. Typically, in a divorce or marital separation, one of the spouses will see and feel himself to be a victim. It would seem like a foreign idea for most people, to see themselves outside of the roles of persecutor, rescuer or victim, in most social, conflicting encounters.

In the drama of the roles of persecutor, rescuer and victim, the real issue at hand is power and control. Of the three roles, the victim is the most powerful. For the victim to react and get revenge, he will have to change roles, in this case, he will have to move into the persecutor role. To get his needs met, he will have to acquire a rescuer. If he were to become aware of someone else acting out the victim role, and he wants to "help him", he will have to go into the rescuer role. There is no revenge like the revenge of a victim who has become a persecutor. The victim has been out on the playing field so to speak. He has felt the hurt and rejection. He believes in social equal opportunity. In his revenge, he wants his persecutor to "feel the pain." From this, he says he will get closure. His only closure will be "an eye for an eye." For the rest of his life, he will carry the burden of the pain of hurt and because he has not let go of the experience, he can only equalized it. The word "closure" is not equated with "letting go." To "let go" one would need to step out of the roles of persecutor, rescuer or victim. This involves two relationships. First toward one's self. Many people continuously carry on an internal dialogue, in which there is a conversation going on with the "parts" of themselves with other "parts" operating out of the roles of persecutor, rescuer and victim. Secondly, this internal experience is projected onto the situations around them to cultivate the same kind of relationships as one is experiencing within. This is the kind of world most people live in and promote. Let some social disaster break out and many people will have a heyday using it to promote their own personal agenda.

(C)2001 Fred M. Fariss All Rights Reserved