October 22, 2017

Note: I'm here slightly opening a window to my life. Just a crack so you, the reader, can get a glimpse of some of the ideas I have. I contradict myself a lot so you are warned. Set your expectations low... This writing is NOT intended as a therapeutic tool or professional service. This is meant strictly as a personal opinion with the expected subjectivity and it is the responsibility of its reader to use it as a form of entertainment and not a professional evidence based statement. Information supported by scientific evidence will be referenced as such. Other than that, these are mere thoughts. If you liked it, please share it and if you didn't, share it too.  :) 



Lately, I feel we have been bombed by the media on a lot of negativity. I guess that's part of the game. Negativity sells. Could you imagine how boring life would be if media only published "good news"? It goes without saying that it is a social responsibility to denounce injustices. We know that's not the reality, though. A capitalist country responds to the capitalist principles but I digress ...I feel compelled to specifically discuss the whole idea of a “victim.” Nowadays this victim concept have been perpetuated in so many different areas that it strikes as an overwhelming label. To my understanding, a victim is someone who has suffered harm at the hands of another subject. Is pretty straight forward if you think about it. Someone is attacked in some sort of way or fashion and that makes them a victim. For some reason it has become and overly complicated idea. It is overly used. It has become and unfortunate mean to a complacent state. Even "South Park" made recently (s21e03) a hilarious social critique mocking those businesses where they claim to find your ancestry percentages. The animated sequence linked the non-white genetic percentage with a victimization (ie., I'm 2.1% Navajo, so I'm 2.1% victim). South Park's point being, that that non-white percent makes you entitled to whatever standards and social norms we adopt for victims. Histrionics aside, the whole statement has so many layers that it felt worth of an entire dissertation. Not today, though. ;)


I have noticed that, like most social constructs, the concept of victim has kept evolving along with the culture. It feels like instead of just been on the wrong side of an unfortunate event, being labeled as a victim has a strong energy investment attached to it. It sets an expectation of hopelessness and helplessness. I have a problem with that. Because, once a person has been “victimized” (yeah I hate that word too), it seems as if that person is now flawed, broken. With that, comes something that I believed is even worst than the victimization. A lot of times that person ends up responding to that social pressure and carries his/her-self as such. No, by no means I'm minimizing, dismissing, or ignoring the pain that person has and is enduring. I strongly believe that it should be an undeniable social responsibility to invest as much resources and efforts we have in our disposal to get that individual back on their feet as good, if not better, than before the harm took place.


So, where is the disjunctive? I understand that this comes from a place we all share and call sympathy. I said SYMPATHY, not EMPATHY (I'm lazy so feel free to google the difference). Sympathy usually hangs out with her bff "pity". That is not a healthy route to recovery. For the last, I don't know... 5-10 years the therapeutic community have established some norms on how to specifically work with victims of trauma. I have to say it is very good stuff but I thought we were all doing that as mental health professionals. “Silly rabbit...” we, as a collective, were not. We had set the standards so low on the outcome of the so called “victim” that we inadvertently keep hurting them. We treat them as if they became somehow unfit. That the event diminished their ability to great things, to have a good quality of life. Even if it is manifested to a pre-conscious state, we pulled out the victim's template approach and we adapt the social cues accordingly while belittling that person's potential. 


I'm one to believe that we are better and bigger than the event that hurt us. An event for all its traumatic qualities, should not define us. Human resiliency is outstanding but we became so addicted to be "good people" (whatever that means) that we go out of our way to give others what we think they need after a distressing situation just so we can comply with the social perception of moral values. The problem is that this often does not translate to something helpful. It's proven that people can and will recover within the right context (Felt like quoting researches properly but I'm typing this while watching a game so cut me some slack. Again, google it). It doesn’t matter if you look at it from a stand point of creative illness, learning process, social expectations, overcompensation or whatever theoretical approach meets your philosophical needs. The one thing that will not help is “Poor you; poor me” stances. These will eventually take us to a progressive deterioration of our mental health.


It’s always easier to take the victim’s stance on life given the popular tendencies. Enduring harm is part of life. We came to this world literally screaming in a devastating manner (A baby in a womb is provided everything to survive. Then, all of a sudden, that baby is forced to use its lungs for the very first time. Think about it.). This is what we do with newborns, we give them everything we scientifically know they need (nothing is left by chance for a newborn in a hospital) and we help them get strong so they can thrive. How come we can't do the same thing with us grown ups?I guess that what I'm trying to say in so many words is that, please don’t act like a victim. We are stronger than that. Be empowered. Take charge. Reach out for professional help. A victim is a stagnant outcome. Do not let society dictate your capabilities just because you went through a tough negative experience. Also when we witness someone struggling, let's start asking "what do you need?" Yes, we listen. Yes, we support them. We give them a voice and we are sensitive to their emotions but we help them move forward as we're drying their tears all the way until they become survivors. Life goes on whether we are hurting or not.



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