Just read a CNN piece on whether or not we should call Huma Abedin a victim or not (Rep. Anthony Weiner’s wife). The author says we ought not to, that only she gets to decide if she is a victim. The author quotes from Laura Munson’s book (This is not the Story You Think it is) and suggests that when one decides to be happy (and to be responsible to find happiness), one stops being a victim.
Seems to me that we ought to differ between being a victim and having a victim mentality.
Huma is a victim of her husband’s behavior. When someone is harmed by the behaviors of others, that person is a victim. Now, a victim commonly has various emotional experiences associated with being helpless to stop harmful behaviors. But, being a victim is not the same thing as being helpless in all things. One may indeed be helpless to stop a car accident or infidelity. But, one is not helpless to decide what they want to do about it.
How do you respond to the word “victim?” Do you hear it as helpless? Completely unable to make choices? Devoid of happiness?
At the end of the article, the author lists several helpful responses to being subjected to harmful behaviors by others (nonviolent that is). Her recommendations are below and besides a few tweaks, I don’t disagree. However, I think she gives the impression that feeling hurt, anger, and confusion are somehow signs of weakness. They are not.
1. Wait to make big decisions
2. Focus on the present moment
3. Create something now
4. Give up on the dream (your personal myth)
5. Look for your truth
6. Choose your own feelings
7. Do not play the victim