Is There A Psychiatric Disorder That Makes People Think They're Victimized By Everyone In Life?

Source

"Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited", by Sam Vaknin, is also available in a Kindle edition.

"Abuser As Victim"

"Is He Or Isn't He?" (A Narcissist)

A Thorough Description Of "Gaslighting"

More To The Point: Is There A Mental Disorder For Which The Primary Symptom Is Believing One Has Been Victimized By Everybody?


The above question was asked in HubPages' "Answers" section, and the phrase, "primary symptom" was used.

The short answer to the question of whether there is a mental-health disorder for which the primary symptom is believing one has been victimized by "everybody" is that I have not, in many years of reading/researching psychiatric disorders or in my research for this particular piece, run into a description of a disorder for which incorrectly believing one has been victimized by most people in his life is a primary symptom.



In Reply To The Above Question, Two Mental-Health Disorders Do Seem To Stand Out

One personality disorder which does include the person's presenting himself as a victim of others is Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which will be addressed in more depth below. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is known for manipulative behavior, but so, too, is Substance Abuse and Dependence (not included with personality disorders, but as a separate disorder) . Because it would be beyond the scope of my research to offer input on whether anyone with any of the other mental-health disorders, particularly personality disorders, would be more prone to incorrectly believing he has been victimized by "everyone", I'd like to reiterate that the two disorders most commonly associated (at least from what I've researched) with a person's presenting himself as a chronic victim of others seem to the two mentioned above.



There's A Difference Between Presenting Oneself/Presenting One's Account And Actually Believing Something One Presents To Others

"Presenting oneself" as a chronic victim, however, can be a very different thing from actually believing that one is that chronic victim. There are many reasons a person may present himself as a chronic victim, none of which necessarily include actually and/or completely believing his own account. Obviously, not everyone who offers an account that involves presenting himself as a chronic victim can possibly have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Neither can everyone who presents himself that way be a substance abuser.

Worth noting is that with a disorder like Narcissistic Personality Disorder, many signs/symptoms are things that most people will exhibit at one time or another and/or to some degree or another; and something like narcissism is described as being on a spectrum that ranges from normal to abnormal. Circumstances, too, can lead perfectly healthy individuals to show what appears to others who don't understand the circumstances to be one of the signs of a mental disorder.

Still, to hear some folks tell it, it would seem just about everyone they've ever run into has victimized them. In a world where most of us have had drummed into us since childhood the idea that we need to take responsibility for our own problems, and that we need to be willing/able to accept blame for problems we've brought on ourselves, it can be natural to wonder whether the person who claims to have been victimized in too many ways is at best immature and unwilling to accept responsibility for his own problems/situations; or at worst mentally ill.

Of course, one important factor is that matter of whether the individual actually believes he's been victimized by "everybody" or whether he doesn't really believe that himself and is just using what is essentially a lie as an excuse, in order, perhaps, to try not to be thought less of by the listener. Another important factor to consider, however, is whether, in fact, the individual has been victimized by a number of people, and whether where the "by everybody" comes in is in the mind of the person hearing his story - not his own. In other words, is the individual a person who knows very well his own, realistic, accurate, life story and knows that he has been unfortunate enough to have been victimized by a handful of key people in his life; and does not think "everybody" has victimized, or will victimize, him. Sometimes it can just seem that way when the other person hears his account, hears how many people he has named, and jump to the conclusion that he thinks it's "everybody".



How Can One Know If The Other Person Actually Believes His Own Account Of Having Been Victimized?

How can a family member or friend tell if a person who presents himself as a victim of seemingly "everyone" actually believes his own account? Since reading the mind of others isn't generally something people can do, one might try asking the other person. Asking someone something like, "Do you actually believe what you're saying?", however, may still not get an honest reply. Why? Because first, if the person is painting what he believes is a more flattering picture of himself there's a good chance that it's because he doesn't want family or friends to think less of him, lecture him, badger him, etc. He isn't likely to admit that he doesn't truly believe what he's saying. Neither is the individual with NPD who needs to paint the picture of himself that he is trying to paint.

People with NPD are said to be very skilled at coming across as very credible. They're known for fooling mental-health professionals, people in the court system, and any number of people in their personal and/or work lives. For that matter, however, many people with substance abuse problems are also able to convince family members or others of what they say - at least for a time.


On the other hand, there are people who have no real mental-health disorder, and aren't substance abusers, who are quite skilled at being verbally/emotionally manipulative of others - sometimes only because they've learned how effective being manipulative can be and/or they've grown up seeing how effective a manipulative parent has been. In other words, not all manipulative behavior is a mental-health disorder.

Because Narcissistic Personality Disorder appears to me to be a disorder that could well be behind a person's inaccurately presenting himself as a victim, I've included three videos presented by Sam Vaknin, author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited". Vaknin has a series of videos on YouTube that I found enlightening and easy to understand. I've selected the three videos that, to me, most seem to apply to this page and/or that are most likely to offer a reader a "mini-course" on Narcissism (again, as it applies to the subject being discussed here).




Below I'll address the possibility that the individual who claims to have been victimized by a number of key people and/or others in his life may actually have been every bit as victimized as he describes.

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How Realistic Can It Possibly Be That One Person Be Victimized In So Many Ways By So Many People?


While it can certainly be hard to believe that one person might have been victimized by enough other people that it seems he has been victimized by "everyone", the fact is it's a lot easier than one who doesn't know better might image for one person to be victimized many ways and/or multiple times.


A Few "Key People" Can Cause A Lot Of Victimization And "Spin-Off" Victimization

A simple example might be the person who was victimized by one or more family members as a child, who grew up gravitating toward people with whom he felt most comfortable (people like those in his childhood family), married someone whose behavior/attitude was similar to those of family members, became victimized as a spouse, and - like so many other divorcing people - became victimized by the court system if the need for divorce arose. It is not uncommon for the court system to be abusive toward people going through any number of kinds of legal cases, including divorces, custody cases, cases involving parental neglect or abuse, or even non-family-related civil cases.


"Legal Abuse" And Other Poor Treatment By The Court System

Included on this page are videos that provide information about what has now been called, "legal abuse", and what is now understood to result in PTSD for people who have been the targets of it.

Legal abuse aside, and for lack of more refined wording, the court system is also known for "kicking people to the curb". It is, therefore, not difficult to understand that any person who has found himself in court (particularly, perhaps, over family matters, which are particularly emotional and crucial in the lives of those involved) to find himself having been victimized whether or not he's someone who would prefer to use the word, "victim", in describing himself.

If you think of the number of people who have been involved with court cases, particularly cases in family courts; it's easy to see how a whole lot of people have been at risk of being victimized by the court system; and if not the court system, then the circumstances and people at the heart of a case.

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Emotional Abuse Is Far More Common Than Many Realize Or Recognize

Not all targets of abuse (whether in the family, in a marriage, or in the workplace) are victims of obvious, "dramatic", abuse. While physical battering and sexual abuse are certainly and unfortunately very common, emotional and verbal abuse is more insidious and far less easy (even for the target sometimes) to recognize and every bit as, if not more, common as physical and/or sexual abuse. In fact, at least two well known authors specializing in the subject of verbal/emotional abuse (Beverly Engel, "The Emotionally Abusive Relationship"; and Patricia Evans, "Controlling People") have stated that the problem of emotional abuse is alarmingly widespread. Although it can be, not all emotional abuse is intentional. Engel points out that most people can discover that they've been emotionally abusive to someone at one time or another. Both authors point out that emotionally abusive individuals don't see the target of abuse as separate and/or equally human people

Without getting into all the dynamics of emotionally/verbally abusive relationships, the point is that someone who understands how widespread, insidious, and difficult-to-recognize the problem is can also easily see how believable it is that one person could be victimized in many ways and/or by several people in his life. One might assume that, say, the victim of an abusive father "ought to know better than to marry a guy like her father". Again, though, emotional abuse isn't always something the target recognizes. Further, while one person may have had at least one emotionally abusive parent and may even have recognized it, the ways in which controlling people attempt to manipulate and exercise control over others can be different. In fact, for example, a woman may have had a fairly overtly emotionally abusive father who belittled her but a mother whose behavior included, for example, being manipulative and yet generally/otherwise kind. Such a woman may know well enough to stay away from people who belittle her the way her father did, but she may not recognize different types of manipulative behaviors in a future husband because she may not have recognized them in her mother.

The two books I mentioned (as well as some other books by Patricia Evans) are like mini-courses in the dynamics of emotionally abusive relationships. In order to understand “how it all can work”, but also that strong people who aren’t “willing” to be victims can be targets of controlling others, it would probably require reading at least one of those books; or else other books on the subject that are equally enlightening and informative.

The point is that emotional abuse (as well as other forms of abuse, of course) is everywhere. Some people can have a kind of “perfect storm” of traits, characteristics, or circumstances that come together and amount to one person’s finding himself a victim in a number of ways, or of a number of different people. The “kick-a-person-when-he’s-down phenomenon” can kind of “kick in” once a person has been victimized even in one substantial way; and sometimes even people who try to be supportive can essentially contribute to emotional abuse by not recognizing/understanding, exactly, what the other person has experienced or continues to experience.


Time, Circumstances, and "Kicks" Don't Help A Person Avoid Further Victimization. In Fact, They May Place Him At Increased Risk Of Yet More Of The Same

As time, circumstances, and “kicks” continue to add up the individual who has been victimized can be at a financial and/or emotional disadvantage; which, when combined with what may be either emotional “exhaustion” and/or diminished self-confidence and sense of sureness; individual can either feel suffocated or else as if he’s in quicksand.

It can take tremendous courage for a person to even try to discuss what has gone on in his life, and he can have the need to do that not because he’s looking for sympathy, or even help, from anyone else; but because he may feel as if he’s suffocating because he’s in the world completely alone, and apparently invisible. In the meantime, he may well be being treated without compassion by just about anyone he runs into. Even though he may know people truly want to be compassionate, when they don’t understand the reality of his situation they will offer him suggestions, help, lectures, or whatever else they deem appropriate for a situation they don’t see because a. they won’t listen to the victim, or b. they’ve drawn conclusions based on something other than what the victim has tried to tell them.


Narcissists Sometimes Attempt To Control "By Proxy"

One other thing to keep in mind is that when a victim is dealing with, or has dealt with, someone with at least some narcissistic thinking; that victim may also be dealing with/having dealt with being victimized by others “recruited” by the narcissist as a way of “controlling by proxy”. The fact, alone, that narcissists may do this “recruiting” should readily make it clear how easy it is for one person dealing with one narcissist, or one narcissistic individual, to find himself victimized by several individuals.


No Matter How Many Times People See How The Court System Can Fail, There's Still A Tendency For Many People To Automatically Believe Lies That Have Been Presented In The Court System

Another thing to keep in mind is that when mistakes or lies take hold in something like a legal case, and when times goes on and damages go up, there will be more and more incentive for anyone involved with “contributing” to that case to dig in his heels in order to preserve his own self-respect, or even professional license/reputation.




Another Major Factor When One Person Has Been Victimized Many Times

Whether a person has ever been the target of emotional abuse by one or more people, and whether he has ever been involved with any court case at all; when people find themselves in financial trouble or without income it's easy for them to become victimized, no matter how hard they try to do the right thing and get, or keep, themselves out of financial trouble. It is beyond the scope of this page to get into the ways in which perfectly hard-working, responsible, conscientious, intelligent, people can find themselves victimized once they find themselves among the ranks of the financially disadvantaged.

In fact, all the ways in which one individual can be victimized are well beyond the scope of this page. It's worth noting, however, that even the most amazingly strong and responsible people will eventually find themselves emotionally and physically compromised and less and less able to withstand yet more victimization. Also, if an individual must stand by and see his children and/or other family members hurt or damaged that person's victimization is made far worse than if he were the only one he had to worry about.

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The Automatic Assumption That The Apparent "Chronic Victim" Is The "Guilty Party"


It is both a realistic and unfortunate thing that upon reading the title question, or considering this subject, many people will automatically either call upon memory or references to come up with the assessment that the person who tries to come across as a victim may be a controlling, attention-seeking, drama-loving, individual and possibly narcissist. That's true.

On the other hand, there are perfectly normal, responsible, conscientious, well adjusted people who are far from willing to be victims - at least when the game is played fairly - and who encounter "deaf ears", possibly suspicion, maybe even hostility; or at best, perhaps condescending words or lectures about taking the responsibility and blame for one's own problems. I would assess the process of multiple victimizations as involving nothing more than person or two in an individual's life who opens the door to another few people from outside the family and therefore opens a door to possible additional victimization. In at least this type of situation - and, of course, there are others that I'm not covering here - once the initial "breakdown of boundaries" has taken place then yet more doors are open to other forms of what I'll call "secondary victimization".

When the victimization includes children and/or other close family members one might say that there is also "shared-yet-individual" victimization.

The frightening and disgusting part of this is that the individual who tries to explain how one person can easily become victimized by more than one is that just by trying to explain it, one can appear to "be paranoid".

One reason I've included, and recommend, the book and video of Sam Vaknin, books and YouTube videos of Patricia Evans, videos of Karin Huffer, and book by Beverly Engel is to highlight the fact that victimization is not a matter of one person having horrible luck and running into a number of different situations; but is, instead, something very calculated on the part of the victimizer, with the victim as the clear and often sometimes only target.


When Being Victimized By A Number Of People Happens To Young/Middle-Aged Adults It's Bad Enough, But How Can Children Or Elderly Adults Withstand It And Stay Whole? I'm Not Sure They Always Can.

A sickening thing to think of is that whether young or middle-aged adult, child, or elderly adult; the individual who finds himself without support from anyone within his own circle and/or within The System is at even higher risk of being yet further victimized. All those people are people I just mentioned are people that I think of and worry about. They're also the people for whom I hope this page has spoken.

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About "Everybody"


Who Is "Everybody"? Sometimes "Everybody" Doesn't Even Include The Court System, And Not Everybody Has A True, "Abnormal-End-Of-The-Narcissistic-Thinking/Behavior Scale", Narcissist In His Personal Life


Is the individual really saying he's been victimized by "everybody", or does the "everybody" really come from the listener who hears the victimized individual mention more than one guilty party and make the jump, on his own, to the word, "everybody"?

If the victmized individual were asked, "Have you been victimized by EVERYBODY," might he say something like, "No. Not everybody, just - now wait until I count - eleven people."?

Again, a large number of people can seem extreme to someone who doesn't understand how one individual can be victimized over and over again. If you think about it, though; and if you don't consider someone's becoming the victim of crime committed by a stranger, people's "personal worlds" of others who would have the opportunity to victimize them are most often fairly small, no matter how big someone's "personal world" or social circles may be. Friends and neighbors, by virtue of having SOME place in a person's world, could certainly victimize someone; but the most common/serious kinds of victimization most often involve someone who has some "legitimate" power/impact in the individual's "personal world".

For the most part, that's generally family and a fairly limited number of outsiders whose role includes some degree of potential to adversely impact an individual's life/well-being. Most of the time the impact most outsiders have on someone's life is either neutral or positive. Only in some cases it is negative, and in even fewer instances is it extremely negative to the point of amounting to "victimization". Worth noting, too, is that most of the time when someone from a person's "immediate outer circle" does something that victimizes the individual, it's a matter of either someone who doesn't know any better causing unntentional problems/victimization, or else it may be a matter of something like corporate/government indifference toward customers/citizens.

The bigger and more important a role someone/something plays in a person's personal world, the more emotion and ego tend to become involved.

Here is a breakdown of the main, "immediate outer circle", places/situations where potentially abusive people might be found in anyone's life, but also where there can be kind and caring people who mean well but do things that amount to victimizing someone else out of ignorance and/or ego.




Domestic Victimization Of One Type Or Another, Intentional Or Unintentional - The Home/Inner-Circle

Childhood Family - Living and/or Deceased, Immediate or Extended

Spouse/Partner

Adulthood Family - Children, Step-Children, In-Laws, Others Considered "Family"

Other Adult Relationships




Non-Domestic, "Personal-Life/Business" Settings/Situations - The Immediate Outer Circle


School

The Work Setting

The Court System

Government Authorities

Social Programs/Support

Financial Institutions, Large Corporations, Other Businesses

The Health-Care System




Children

Obviously, children and adults don't always have the same mix in their "immediate, outer, personal-life, circles. For children, adults in their most immediate "personal circle" can essentially, for good and/or ill, form a kind of firewall that can separate children from their personal little world from the outer world. Adults most often choose when to open a port in that "firewall"; and no matter how much parents work hard to try to make sure their child is part of the larger world, children generally very much remain behind that firewall - some children more than others.

Adults Who Used To Be Children - In Other Words, When Aspects Of The Childhood Family Rear Their Heads In Adulthood

As for adults, some of what takes hold in the individual and/or in the family gets it roots in childhood and can be brought into adulthood. So, depending on what adults bring into childhood, some dynamics from the childhood family can remain - and sometimes through no fault of the individual, but, instead, through the fault of someone, for example, who isn't willing, able, or knowledgeable enough to let go of childhood roles and imagined roles and instead see the adult individual as the capable, decent, strong, adult that he is.

Parents of grown kids tend to struggle often with realizing that their child has grown into a capable, strong, good, adult. Some parents struggle more than others, of course. Some can be quite skilled at winning that struggle most of the time. On the other hand, many parents don't ever seem to even be aware that they should even trying to struggle. Instead, they can't/won't seem to let go of the idea that the individual they raised is not the same as the baby and child he once was. Siblings, even cousins, too can can view an individual in ways that aren't accurate; and that's often because parents act as that "firewall" and decide what "version of the presentation" of the child and events will get past it, and what won't. It's not always that parents present an inaccurate version out of dishonesty. Sometimes, in the forest-for-the-trees situation, as well as without the ability to read the mind of their child, parents unintentionally - although sometimes quite intentionally - skew the presentation of who/what the child is, events, and facts that gets through that firewall.

In varying degrees, events and/or inaccurate presentations from childhood do follow people into adulthood. Under the most ideal circumstances there won't be a whole lot of those inaccurate presentations, so there aren't a lot of problems. Under the better of circumstances, the seemingly minor issues in childhood families seem to be outgrown or forgotten. The individual and family grows into maturity knowing that the family was "close to ideal", and it is sometimes only when a big family crisis/concern arises that brings out/highlights inaccurate beliefs from the childhood family and causes family members to view others through "old lenses", but lenses that were distorted in childhood.

Adults - Separate From Whether They Do Or Don't Have Much Of Anything By Way Of Family Distortions Factoring Into Their Present Situation

While some elements of a child's immediate outer circle can certainly impact the child and/or his life at times, it is the elements that have been given/taken power in a child's life that have the opportunity to victimize the child in the way being discussed here - in other words, in ways not related to out-and-out crimes, major or minor. Looking at the lists above, you'll note that children have pretty much no "regular" immediate, outer circle of their own because of the "firewall" aspect in a child's life. Children generally have school and health care in that immediate outer circle. Some have the court system, government agences, or programs. For the most part, regardless of what is in a child's immediate outer circle, children's outer circles include the input and screening of parents and/other adults.

Adults, on the other hand, can have completely immediate outer circles that are completely independent of family and/or the input of anyone other than the adult, himself. An immediate outer circle including school is usually either non-existent for adults who have finished schooling, or else can have less potential of victimizing the person and harming his personal well-being once people are grown/mature. Adults often, of course, have a "work circle". People can certainly be victimized at work, but when they are that's usually a matter of an isolated situation occurring for one person in one workplace. In other words, the workplace usually only has limited power to victimize "the whole person" or "his whole life"; although, of course, being laid off, while not being intentional victimization, can lead to a person's life turning into a mess through no fault of his own.

The point is that school and work aren't ordinarily the biggest problems when it comes to an adult who finds himself have been victimized over and over again. Both can be isolated situations of victimization at times, and they can be yet one more instance of it to be added to the list of the person who has found himself victimized in a number of different ways or times in his life; but they aren't usually the "main contributors".

The "Main Contributors" For Adults

The "main contributors" to major, repeat and/or long-term victimizations of one individual seem to be - as far as I've been able to determine through personal experience and research - the government and court system, financial institutions, occasionally other businesses, and the health-care system.

Sometimes these "main contributors" are independent of one another with regard to impact and potential to victimize an individual. In other instances they begin to be connected. Either way, these non-family immediate outer circles of adults can often include staff who aren't as skilled, fair, or honest as they should be; or they include situations that amount to a matter of "garbage-in/garbage-out" in files. They can also include situations in which it is clear the individual has been the victim of a mistake or mistreatment, but in which nothing is in place for such victims to have their concerns, complaints, and even clear and obvious mistreatment/injustices at least reviewed, and ideally addressed.



To Put All This Quite Bluntly......

It doesn't take a whole lot of screw-ups in someone's outer circle for his situation to contribute a substantial element to a "perfect storm" that will invite victimization into the life of an individual who is perfectly sound and well adjusted, mature, willing to work hard, willing to take responsibility for his own actions, and essentially all the things that a normal, healthy, decent, capable, individual is supposed to be.







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Comments 15 comments

Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 2 years ago from Massachusetts Author

Hi, Marisa. I just saw this comment you made six months ago. Sorry I missed it, and I'm not sure there's even much point replying; but there's no doubt that there are people who do think "everyone's after them" (or that type of thing) when "everyone" just isn't; and the person does have a mental disorder. I think a big problem for those who have been "legitimately" victimized (maybe just in a small circle, such as family or one work-place setting) is a) that they can run into such aggressive reactions to their trying to point out what is reality that they (already beaten up) can feel too worn out to keep trying - so they shut up; and b) that too many people feel silenced, so a good percentage of the louder voices may actually come from those who are either very immature or else actually do have mental disorders.


Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 2 years ago from Massachusetts Author

no ones daughter no ones mother,

First, thank you for sharing your own situation here. Although the individual situation of any individual may be as - well, again - individual as people are; I have no doubt that there are many, many, people who find themselves pretty much feeling alone in one way or another (sometimes completely) and in varying degrees with regard to how much having no support has affected them and/or their life.

What may be (probably is) most difficult for the person who really has been victimized (emotional/verbal abuse can be intention, unintentional, or both) is that others who haven't seen how things have gone on and led to a situation just couldn't imagine it; and therefore just automatically assume that the person who even tries to speak up/speak for himself "just thinks everyone is out to get him" (or something like that). Of course, there actually are people who think they're victims when they really aren't; so that doesn't help. As I consider this subject, however, I really think one problem is that while the truly mentally ill ("paranoid personality disorder" etc.) can be quite free to speak up and complain about how "others have victimized them", those people who, in fact, have truly been victimized (intentionally or unintentionally, and by one or more people - and it doesn't take too many in an inner circle to cause some real problems) have learned not to dare to even try to speak up. Also, however, even those who would otherwise speak up may not because they're either humiliated, don't want to "make a big public deal" out of "mistakes" a family member has made, or are simply so beaten down and/or exhausted that they stop trying (if they ever tried in the first place).

The fact that you've mentioned physical/sexual abuse makes me hope you have been able to find the kind of support you need in a professional therapist - at least as a starting point. Many people who have been victimized by narcissists (or even just by "mostly OK others" who engage in more narcissistic thinking toward them than is healthy) have not been physically/sexually abused. That adds a whole additional element to the mix, and I really think addressing that with a professional is a place to start (if you haven't already). I do know, however, that the person who has not been believed and/or who has been essentially controlled (in one way or another) by an aggressor can either be sick of trying to get someone to listen or else can worry that someone like a professional "will only drag in" the very person/people who are the problem.

One reason that I haven't written more about this problem and the kind of related issues it can bring is that I haven't really known how to start approaching it. (Online writers have a whole set of challenges with regard to to how to approach some subjects with credibility, particularly if they're not an expert in the field and don't want to mislead any readers.) Your comment here has made me realize that those of us who have familiarity with some of the ways some things can go on need to stop worrying about "how to approach" what they write, and just write what they've seen for themselves about a subject like this. So, I think may write some more Hubs related to this subject.

If you haven't already done this, I wonder if a place for you to start might be to open an account with a site where personal writing is welcomed (use a fake name so you can write freely), and start telling your own story. If nothing else, there's the chance that some other folks who have gone through something similar will share their own on your page. People online can't, of course, do much about your offline situation; but it may help you build confidence in your own perception of reality to have others "back you up" in your observations. Also, the person who doesn't have anyone around him to acknowledge what he's been through and experienced for himself can need to feel like he's "helping to establish reality" by putting it into writing, rather than feeling like his own thoughts/feelings (abstract, of course) may be over-powered by some of the less abstract realities "established" by others who simply don't know what the individual's actual experiences have been.

I don't know the details of your present situation, but it seems to me that even though you don't feel like you have any support right now (and that may certainly be accurate), if you start now to find people who can be the right kind of support rather than undermine you (and worse), you'll be better off in the long run.

Stay strong, and again thanks for sharing your own thoughts here.


no ones daughter no ones mother 2 years ago

The last part of this is what is currently happening in my life. My mother is a malignant narcissist. I am sick with guilt over the life long deep denial i was in for my entire life when it came to facing and acknowledging the abuse. My mom inflicted physical, emotional and sexual abuse on me and my siblings which I remember as the bad times of my childhood and the good times is when she merely treated us kids with simple "indifference" like we weren't there at all. But there's nothing good about a mother who is indifferent towards her children.

Now I am fifty years old....and I only came to realize the magnitude of my life long troubles...my moment of awakening happened six months ago. To be specific I was witnessing my mom in the midst of one of her rages...

Something she only did when she was alone with me....and even though I'd witness seen her throwing a tantrum numerous times in the past this time was the first time it was enough to awaken me from the denial. Since that day my mom has kicked me out of her house and has turned my family and even my own kids against.

I guess she had been underminding me for so long that all she had to do to get everyone to disown me was simply dis own me herself then like the lemmings everyone followed suit.

I am without anyone....no one wants to talk to me and I am furious how stupid I was to allow my mom to manipulate me into somehow thinking she merely made a couple mistakes many years ago but that she didnt mean it and she'd changed.

Now I find myself with no support system. I have lost everyone and it only seems like it happened over night but I now realize its been in the works for many many years. Omg!!!


Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 3 years ago from Massachusetts Author

ChristinS, thank you for your input and also, though, for the idea for a Hub. Whether in the Hub or somewhere else, like the "Answers", section; none of what I've presented on this subject is intended to imply or suggest that there's no such thing as the kind of person you describe; or that the person you describe isn't the kind of person you describe her as - or the same applies to what Lisa K describes.

My "enthusiasm" for this subject isn't just because I've seen what I have in my own life, but because I'm seriously concerned on behalf of other people, particular children and very elderly people, who may not either be as strong or as sure of themselves "on the inside" as I'm fortunate enough to be. I've never seen myself as a victim, and experts specializing in things like emotional abuse, for example, say that most people who have experienced that particular thing prefer the word, "target", be used. Either way, though, whether I know I'm strong and sure of my own situation/experience or not, it's very difficult to "stay oneself" without the support or acknowledgement from others. In other words, to pretty much feel like the only one aware of what one's own "reality" is - because, of course, we all know what people think of anyone who insists what he knows is his own reality, and that it that besides automatically assuming the person likes presenting himself as a helpless victim in own life, the person has crossed over into out-and-out mental illness. Once a person becomes thought of as mentally ill, or showing signs of it; or even just "having emotional issues"; it's almost a guarantee that almost nobody will listen to what that person has to say. Spinning off from that, then, can be that the individual who has been victimized feels alone, angry, betrayed and misunderstood. He is faced with either trying to stand up for himself, or remaining silent. Trying to stand up for himself by trying to explain is futile and tends to bring on more judgment. Remaining silent is unsatisfactory to the person who a. still has the energy to want the truth acknowledged or mistakes corrected, and b. to the person who feels like he's living in some bizarre Twilight Zone and would prefer not to be the only one who truly understands his own situation.

Although I had a useful combination of a solid, loving, childhood but enough traumatic things in it that I learned coping skills; I've always had "power" since I've been an adult. I didn't give it away to anyone, and I've never been willing to give it away. I was robbed of it because a few people who didn't even mean me any harm whatsoever, and maybe one or two who were angry and did at the time, took it away from me by telling a few key people lies/misinterpretations of what I did/didn't do - enough to at least get my mental health questioned, even though I was only questioned for a few hours. That's when "The System" came in and did the dirty work for anyone angry at me, or believing he should have some control in my life; because although I was allowed to go, nobody ever out-and-out said that there was clearly not a single thing wrong with me. It got left up in the air, and it got left in files; and once that kind of thing gets in a person's files or in the minds of people who already have their opinions about what one does/is; it's pretty hard not to come across as "off" when one either tries to defend himself, or just mind his business and hope people realize they got things wrong.

As someone who was always fairly well liked, and had people who cared very much about me; I got the "who would mistreat you?" thing, and the "she's always angry about nothing" thing. When I've tried to point out that I'm not angry "about nothing", and any other normal person would be angry as well; that's when I get the looks and remarks that suggest people are sick of hearing me complain or "bring up ancient history".

What's presented here, particular in the books about controlling people, relationships, and emotional abuse; as well as in Sam Vaknin's videos and book, aren't my perspective. The problem of emotional abuse can be the root of a situation that then leads to other victimization in other, seemingly unrelated, ways.

My main reason for writing this, and the Hub that I'm about to write, is to make the point that SOME people who may not look like victims to others, or who have truly been victims and dare to seek support, understanding, or at least refraining from judgment of others; will not only find themselves without any of what they hope to get in terms of emotional support, but may find themselves being further criticized, doubted, disliked, and any number of other hostile and misguided things that make the person more isolated, more victimized, and more likely to find himself either questioning his own perceptions of what has happened to him, if he's unsure of himself; or else find himself angrier and more in need of trying to get someone else to acknowledge the truth he has presented by more and more explaining and trying to point out those times and ways in which he has been somehow "victimized".


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 3 years ago from Midwest

Definitely an interesting hub and I am glad to see your perspective and the perspectives of the other comments. My situation that prompted me to ask the question was similar to LisaKoski's situation - someone I know very well so I am familiar with what they have experienced and sometimes I think it is about control for this person. That in no way means that I assume everyone who has had a lot of bad experiences is a chronic victim. If I told a lot of my childhood stories, I'm pretty sure some would say the same about me. However, I made the choice to stop giving power away to those who mistreated me. In doing so, I found my own strength and the past holds no power over me now. Others, who did not go through the same kinds of things - seem to thrive on drama and I never understood that because to me, having experienced actual trauma in my life at several points - I can't understand why anyone would want to be in that situation or pretend to be. It is perplexing to me. Anyway, thanks so much for the awesome hub and different perspectives - it's sure been a learning experience :).


Billie Kelpin profile image

Billie Kelpin 3 years ago from Newport Beach

The ironic part is that victims often are further victimized by those who can't see that they actually ARE a victim. We like to assume that given the same circumstances we would behave differently, when in reality, we might not be able to cope as well as those whom we perceive as self-inflicting their victim-hood. There is not one person I know who sees himself or herself as a victim without cause. It's the judgment of people trying to cope and our own lack of empathy for their plight that can create further victimization. I love the old hilarious Melanie song, "Psychotherapy" that makes light of all our mental struggles as she sings:

"There was a man who thought his friends to him were all superior

And this complex he imagined made life drearier and drearier

Till his analyst assured him that he REALLY WAS INFERIOR

As the id goes marching on." All of us who "feel sorry for ourselves" can relate to the humor of this irreverent song.

Billie, a hopeless crier whine-er


Kathleen Kerswig 3 years ago

You are right. Some of my patients were given drugs from their parents when they were too young to know better and now they cannot break the cycle. My approach is to show support and get them to see where they have the power of choice. If they can stop putting themselves in dangerous situations then they might have a chance to get away from being a victim all of the time. Good suggestion. Thanks!


Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 3 years ago from Massachusetts Author

SandCastles, you're so right, and you're, I think, in the minority of people who will even consider the possibility that the person who says someone else has treated him poorly, or else caused problems in his life, just may be being accurate.

The problem I've run into personally is that first, in general, people I know think I'm a pleasant, friendly, person to be around; so when I've said someone has "done me wrong" I've more than once got this kind of thing, "Oh.... Who would ever want to do anything to cause problems for you?" Also, I'm a strong person but secure enough that I am that I don't go around acting like a "big mouth" or otherwise acting "all puffed up and ready for a fight". I come across like a "nice little lady" - and that's me too. A person can be nice AND strong. The trouble is, though, that my appearance is more a matter of being stereotyped as nice, so if/when I show my stronger, maybe angry, side other people interpret that as "out of character" or "being emotional". Worse, whether one verbally or "legally"tries to stand up for herself to either "emotional bullies", "verbal bullies", or professionals who didn't quite get things right the first time; none of those people have any emotional, financial, intellectual, and/or professional incentive to admit that something like a legal case is a matter of "garbage in/garbage out" and needs to be re-looked at. In fact, companies and institutions can have policies that nobody should ever admit having made a mistake. And, regardless of who/what caused the mistake/mix-up, as time goes on and consequences/damages continue to grow; people have even less "incentive" to clear things up.


Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 3 years ago from Massachusetts Author

Marisa, thanks for mentioning that term. I imagine it's one that's used by a lot of people when referring to someone they believe incorrectly believes he's always a victim. One of the medical dictionary terms for "persecution complex" include the person's believing others are actually out to harm him.

I think the term may better be described as a symptom of other mental health diagnoses, though - if it's actually used in psychiatric circles at all, which I'm not sure about; it may be a more "popular" type of term. In any case, I couldn't happen to find it in the The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which breaks down psychiatric disorders into a handful of categories such as "mood disorders", "personality disorders", etc.

Either way, though, from what I've found, there's not really an "official" psychiatric disorder for which believing one is a "always a victim of everybody" is the PRIMARY symptom.


SandCastles 3 years ago

I think some people can be paranoid and sometimes with good reason. What it comes down to is not being afraid to point out when someone is violating your rights. Sometimes when you speak up, people will call you a trouble maker. A common argument is, "nobody else is complaining". Often people don't speak up because they don't want to be labelled. There are a lot of cons out there and nasty people. Don't ever feel that you have to be open and trusting to prove that you are not a paranoid weirdo who thinks everybody is out to get them. Get to know people. And basically learn to accept yourself. Some people are less trusting and that's okay too. A person who acknowledges that there are bad out there does not mean that they think everyone is bad.

It is important not to blame someone who is being victimized. Sometimes a person does choose unhealthy people and other times they are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is easy for many to play judge when someone has a valid concern and it is so common for someone to say, "always'' when a person brings up an issue once and awhile. Never feel you can't ask for help. Never feel you can't complain. Just be aware of who you can turn to for help. Some people will turn on you when you need help and those are not the people to go to. The ones that say, "Oh, what is it now".


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 3 years ago from Sydney

This is very interesting. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has heard of someone having a "persecution complex" and thinking that meant they believed they were being victimized by everyone. Assuming that term is a proper psychiatric term in the first place, it sounds like it doesn't mean what i thought it meant!


Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 3 years ago from Massachusetts Author

Katherleen Kerwig, thank you for your input here. I can see why someone in your line of work wouldn't have the time to sort out that kind of thing. I guess what I'd hope for people who are, for example, substance abusers; is that others simply at least consider the possibility that some people actually have been victimized/mistreated - sometimes intentionally, sometimes not intentionally - multiple times, or else over a long period of time; rather than automatically "shoot the person down" the minute he tries to explain what he's gone through/living with. :


Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 3 years ago from Massachusetts Author

LisaKoski, thank you for sharing your own input here. Absolutely no need, as far as I'm ever concerned, for anyone to ever apologize for long comments; because, to me, people like you add more experience, insight, opinion, etc., to whatever is on any Hub. To me, also, Hubs with particularly serious subjects need as much input from as many sincere people as anyone is willing to offer.

I know there are people, often immature and/or insecure people, who will be responsible for their own problems and refuse to admit, or be apparently be incapable of recognizing, that they brought something on themselves. On the other hand, though, I know from both first-hand experience and just from knowing a certain amount of people in difficult situations and how they've happened into them, as well as how others often think of them; that there is also such a thing a person who actually is repeatedly victimized, or at least kind of mistreated/misunderstood - enough, sometimes intentionally/sometimes not intentionally - that others' picture of what someone else lives with can be incomplete.

It's not for me to guess about other people, because - boy - I've had situations in which someone else has been solely and directly responsible for some problem I have in my life, when I've met a world that automatically assumes I'm "just not taking responsibility for what I've brought on myself", whether or not the fact is that I've brought it on myself. I'm an objective and mature and secure person. When I bring on some problem myself I have no problem knowing, right from the beginning, that's what I did. By the way, I'm not one to have a lot of drama and disagreements in my life, so I REALLY wouldn't dare to even sort of try to guess about your sister.

So, while I can't guess about which "apparent victims" out there may be real victims or which ones only see themselves/present themselves that way, my main hope is to encourage at least a few people to consider the possibility that someone who claims to be a victim - although true victims most often don't apply that word to themselves, I don't think; and it's often a word others apply to them instead - may actually not be completely, or in some cases even partially, responsible for some of the things others are blaming him/her for.

I guess, when all is said and done, maybe all people in a family can really do is agree to truly listen to, and take seriously, what the others have to say; and ideally, if all involved can agree to dial-back judgment of the others - and that includes the "alleged victim" as well : - maybe at least SOME misunderstandings can be eliminated or cleared up. :


Kathleen Kerswig 3 years ago

I currently work in a substance dependency treatment program and I will say that most of the patients that come through this program believe they have been victimized by most of the people in their lives. It may or may not be true - that is something that I don't have time to get into with them since they are only there for 28 days. So, my job is about helping them see where they may have put themselves in a position to be hurt. Many times they will grasp this concept and progress can be made.

This is a fascinating topic and I appreciate your in-depth Hub about the subject. Thank you so much for sharing.


LisaKoski profile image

LisaKoski 3 years ago from WA

Unfortunately, I have a twin sister who falls under the category of one of those people who feel that they are victimized by everyone else. For her, I think it's more an issue of control. If things don't go her way, she will come up with some way that she has been victimized that usually doesn't make any logical sense but she seems to believe it so strongly she will hold it against someone until she gets an apology.

I believe it's a control issue because there is a system when it comes to these instances (which occur more and more frequently to the point where the entire family is currently keeping their distance to avoid any more problems with her). It begins with her not speaking to someone, then accusing them of something that either they did (but has now been exaggerated) or actually didn't do. Then she will gossip to mutual friends and other family members and continue to do whatever she can to punish the wrong doer until the person apologizes. It takes 3-5 apologies before she will let it go, with each apology becoming more and more dramatic, and the list of what is being apologized for becoming longer and longer. Once this process is over, there will be a brief time of about a month to two months of peace before something new comes up to apologize for.

She admits to being a bit OCD (visiting her house is almost stressful because everything has to be perfect and you are almost guaranteed to do something wrong like drink out of the wrong cup). Whenever she goes through her victimization rants, it feels like a way for her to assert power over us, especially since we always apologize for something that most of the time never actually occurred.

I'm sorry for the long comment. I found your hub fascinating and thought I'd share my own theory based on my personal experience. I think that you've made some wonderful points here and that this is an insightful read.

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