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Letting Go of Victimization

The paradox of victimhood

There’s a real conundrum in trauma therapy. People with unresolved and still resolving complex developmental trauma move toward familiar and undesirable roles as a result of unconscious “programming”—traditionally victim, perpetrator or abuser, and bystander. This isn’t because we want to, but because we are conditioned to, even to take on these roles as a matter of survival.

For example, someone who was routinely abused as a child is likely to have learned to acquiesce to the abuser, and conform her or himself to the expectations of the abuser and the experience of the abuse in ways which were most self-protective—even when that meant possibly seeking out the abuse as a way to predict, control and diminish the impact. The victim may, for example, have learned that to go along with it still meant the bad thing would happen, but maybe not additional bad things. He may have learned to suppress feelings to cry if crying resulted in harsher punishment, leading to adult difficult accessing emotions. She may have learned to believe that she was at fault and deserving of punishment for “doing something wrong”, when that something wrong was essentially ordinary and unavoidable, since children are not adults, and adults aren’t perfect, anyway. People need time to learn. [click below for rest of article]


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