How’s the responsibility going? I am assuming that you’ve read the last letter. Forgive me if I’m getting ahead of myself. My bad.
Once again our letter found its way into the hands of many others. The mystery of the postal system continues.
Listen. After I wrote the last letter I got into conversation with several other people and I came away feeling affirmed in my thoughts that there exists a type of person who lives secure and at ease in their victimhood. I’d go even further and suggest that it gives their life meaning and they define and justify what they do from this basis. I’ve even come across people with a degree of pride in the fact they’ve been a victim. Crazy or what?
Then I came across a new blog written by someone with PTSD and I knew I’d come across a victim, a real pain filled victim who is currently struggling to walk away from their history. I was caught up and read through all the posts and followed the entire journey to date. And I realised there are two types of victim (there are probably many more but two will do for this letter). There is the person who has made a lifestyle from being a victim, who has taken this on as their identity. Who, I am going to offer, is more secure in the identity, more secure playing the role than they feel they could be should they walk away from it. Then there is the victim who refuses to accept what is all around them, is ashamed at what has been done to them and doggedly walks away, limps away even, seeking a better day.
Some people love being victims because they love being able to blame someone else. Accountability is too much for them. They don’t like being responsible for who’ve they become or where they are in life.Anon
The first type has a dialogue built around their situation and can dismiss any wrong doing on their part, any errant behaviour, with a well scripted reference to the past. Who will plea, “I am like this because…it’s not my fault”, and feel within that there is sufficient rationale to wipe away any thoughts of responsibility.
I know some of these people. They invariably consume large amounts of attention. Well wouldn’t you if you were a victim? They’ll tell you that few people can conceivably have had life as hard as they have so they’re deserving of attention. Know the type? They live in a self perpetuating circle. Their behaviour alienates many reasonable people or restricts the time these people will give. So their tally up the numbers of those who depart and add it to their victimhood in a “woe is me” sort of way. Make sense? No one can conceivably have had things as bad as their have.
The other type of victim would do anything to shed that skin. They won’t appeal to the things gone before because they’re past and that’s where they want them to stay. They’ll walk the long way home to avoid a reminder of an incident or person that would act as a trigger to a painful memory. This sort of person is often trying to build a life that you and I are lucky enough to consider normal. And they need help .
You’re not a victim for sharing your story. You are a survivor setting the world on fire with your truth. And you never know who needs your light, your warmth, and raging courage.Alex Elle
Why? Why can’t they just tough it out and leave the past behind, one step at a time? Because Pogue, they need love and they need acceptance and someone has to be their to tell them that it’s not their fault. They need to be loved even though they may have very limited mechanism for accepting this. What has previously been handed out in the name of love, by those tasked with their care, may be so far removed from reality as to be unrecognisable by you and me. So they can be forgiven for fearing love..
Acceptance? Well often acceptance for who or what they are has been absent for years. Some have been raised under a litany of failure and belittlement. Soul crippling stuff. Stuff that you and I would find so abhorrent that we would be compelled to act.
As you know Pogue, I have a WordPress blog. Believe me if I tell you you’d be shocked by the number of people who post from a history of pain, who’s past we need to hear in order that we can have any understanding of the world of the victim. Post’s coloured by pain, shame that demands that we act to tell them there is another way and as said, it’s not their fault. Tell me, how do we give such people hope and strength when all we have is our letters and our writing?
I’m thinking that we have to have a preparedness to walk beside them when called on and to model a better way. Plus, it could be a long walk as we confront years of learnt attitudes and wrong beliefs that have to be dismantled. There will be relapses triggered by things we consider “everyday”. Incidents that need to be spoken out in order that their power can be broken but, the pain of memories attached to these will mean the need for great patience and understanding.
Then we need to be detached from outcome. It is not for you and I to predetermine what the future, the new life will look like. Neither is it for us to judge the protagonists in this story. We are not professionals. No, our place is to bring love and everything that comes with it. We facilitate and support. We smile and sometimes tears will well up in our eyes. We will hold a hand when needed and we will point the direction and stand aside if required. That’s the action of love.
Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside of you that is greater than any obstacle.Christian D Larson
Let’s close this by saying to all victims, we don’t necessarily know anything about your pain. We don’t know the darkness that invades your world or the place your soul has retreated to in order that it survive. But we do know, without a doubt, that a better day is possible. It will require you to take a step in that direction. It will need you to find a voice, maybe a voice silenced for years, and ask for help. It will need you to believe that, despite everything to this point in time, that you are worth a future and things can change. Maybe not immediately, maybe there will be a way to go first, but change is possible and you have the power.
Pogue, never think that what is normal for you is normal for others. For some, that day when you thought you’d like to start over, that day you wrote off, that day is a dream waiting to be fulfilled for some.
Yours, sitting very quietly,