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A Druidic View: Playing The Victim

Druidry: The Call for Peace

It’s an accusation that always worries me, and one I think we need to be wary of. It’s such an easy way to invalidate a person and so tempting when you find them difficult, but it’s seldom a fair assessment.

Bullies and abusers will often accuse their victims of playing the victim because that helps hide what’s really going on. It is also the case that bullies and abusers will often try to present themselves as  the victim and their victim as the bully. This is a massive minefield and not something to casually support. If you want to avoid supporting and enabling harm you have to look at these situations carefully.  My advice is to look for the balance of power and to work for safety rather than punishment.

I’ve seen plenty of privileged new age types accuse others of playing the victim by refusing to heal. Not being positive enough in face of cancer, not curing MS with yoga and so forth. This is incredibly cruel. Depressed people cannot heal themselves with positive thinking, either. If it was that simple, we’d just do it. Accusing other people of playing the victim can be a manifestation of privilege. Don’t go along with it.

Accusations of playing the victim often go alongside accusations of being dramatic and attention seeking. You never know what’s going on in a person’s life and if they’re howling over something apparently minor because something major you don’t know about is tearing them apart. The need for attention is a very human thing and some of us learn some really unhelpful ways of seeking it, but that doesn’t necessarily make them awful people. Internet trolls are often lonely, hurting and desperate to be noticed, as a case in point. Drama can be a manifestation of distress and unmet need.

At the same time, we are all allowed to have boundaries. It’s ok to quietly step back from something you can’t deal with. Some people need professional support – or at least more experienced and better resourced support. If you can’t do that for them, it’s ok to step back. If dealing with someone is harmful to you, then it is not on you to rescue them. We can hold those lines gently and quietly, without having to knock down the person we find difficult.

If you are inclined to draw attention to how difficult someone else is, what a drama llama they are etc., then consider that you might be doing similar things. Pointing at someone else and making a lot of noise about them playing the victim is also attention seeking and validation seeking, and it’s worth looking carefully at your own feelings and needs if you feel inclined to behave that way. It can come from places of needing to feel superior. Once we start doing martyrdom as a public performance in response to someone else, we’re also potentially inviting the label of playing the victim.

There are people who will cast themselves in the victim role as a manipulation technique. They can be understated about it and may not put it where most people can even see it. It can be a way of dodging responsibility or making someone else carry more than their fair share of emotional labour. It can be a way of shutting someone down to stop them expressing their own needs. If you respond to anything even slightly negative like you’re being attacked, it’s a form of gaslighting that will harm those dealing with you. Acting like a victim any time you make a mistake and get called on it, is a really harmful choice. It’s one we all need to be alert to if being called out around privilege and inadvertent bigotry.

There are many reasons for people behaving in ways that appear to be ‘playing the victim’. Including genuinely being a victim and being in need of care and support. Its best not to be quick to judge, blame, or shame. Patience and compassion get a lot done. If someone is acting in a way that harms you, then moving away for your own wellbeing can be necessary. If you’re just annoyed and feel entitled to cause someone hurt or shame, that really isn’t a good choice.

Credit

druid life

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings.
Credit: druidlife.wordpress.com
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