Victims. Innocents.

Friday

Moderator
I ran across the phrase recently… “Killers, rapists, slavers; they leave behind victims, innocents.”

It had never really occurred to me how much I equate victim with innocent, before.

But I do.

I take faaaaar less issue with the word victim, than survivor. Off the cuff? Victim is temporary, but survivor is forever. Sure, I WAS a victim… of many things… but a I’m not, now. But survivor? That lasts until you’re dead. That’s got legs. And it’s pretty damn meaningless in my book. Ooooooh I’m an appendix survivor. Oooooooh I’m a whatever the f*ck could’ve kllled me but didn’t, survivor. It’s not like it’s a short list. Snort. And most of those? Are f*cking normal life, bullshit. I’m a rope swing ver a river survivor whoop-da-dee. DGAF self important nonsense to take LIVING, and being as lucky as to live in a land with surgeons and sturdy ropes, as something to be distressed about, rather than grateful for.

But I still take issue with it. I simply cover it under not as much issue as I take with other words.

This phrase? (Victims, innocents.) Knocked over a pin.

Oh.

Oh that’s, WHY.

I equate victims with innocents.

Which I’m not. In any sense of the word.

And? Which is almooooost as needing of protection as a child. Not because naïveté, nor stupidity, nor unequal to the tasks of adulthood. But because they aren’t in the “game”. Like targeting civilians instead of military targets. They’ve done no wrong. They don’t rate this kind of fallout in their lives. (Nor, if they’re special, will it slow them down rather than rise them up.). Innocents? Are special. If common. They’re the people, good people, who rate saving. Not that idiots don’t. Not that the naïve don’t. The opposite. They do. Everyone understands the risk of driving a car. Everyone rates being pulled out of wreckage. Because people. Whether victim or not. Save a life when you can. If they’re an evil f*ck? They rate dying for what they’ve done, not for nonsense. Shrug.

IDFK. It’s blowing my mind, just a little bit.

Victims. Innocence.

I’m not an innocent. Therefore. I’m not a victim. I was not a victim.

Thoughts?
 
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Sideways

Moderator
Ooooooh I’m an appendix survivor. Oooooooh I’m a whatever the f*ck could’ve kllled me but didn’t, survivor. It’s not like it’s a short list. Snort. And most of those? Are f*cking normal life, bullshit. I’m a rope swing ver a river survivor whoop-da-dee.
Wowsers! That word packs a real emotional punch for you! For me, I don't think I've ever heard someone call themselves a survivor in reference to anything small (except, oddly enough, on this forum! No judgment, just an observation) It's usually something like cancer, and most often, I think people use it in preference to 'victim' because it has less of the 'helpless' vibe attached to it.

I used to prefer survivor over victim when thinking about which word I'd use for myself - CSA victim, or CSA survivor? The second won hands down because it makes it sound like I've smacked the crap outta what happened to me and I've moved on to better things with myself.

Victim on the other hand? I have (very often) heard that used in less empowering ways, and in relation to waaaay more mediocre stuff, like victims of: online scams, 'love-bombing', their own stupidity...

But, that was then.

I did this exercise in therapy at some point. And it was helpful for me. Insightful. Because actually, victim/survivor and vice versa...? I'm both. Innocent, helpless, stupid, empowered...they're all judgments I liked to tack on. But the truth is, I'm both.

I didn't much like the idea of being helpless, and don't buy for a second that I'm innocent (whatever the hell that means). So victim? Barf. Survivor? Hooray!

That's more about what was going on in my head at the time than about the actual words though.

So, I'm thinking that while 'victim' may be the catalyst for the internal discomfort? It's potentially not the problem here. Just a signal of the deeper issue. Which is with the judgments you're attaching to the words themselves, and the discomfort (and possibly cognitive dissonance, but very likely at least cognitive distortion) about how those judgments apply to you, and what they say about you. The words themselves are actually non-judgental. They're reasonably factual: this happened to me...ergo, I was a 'victim' of it, and I 'survived' it. Both are equally true.

The judgments I attach to those words are the very definition of subjective. And that's where the internal discomfort usually lies...IME.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
Not sure if it's helpful, 100% agree with your thoughts on survivor @Friday :

survivor? That lasts until you’re dead. That’s got legs. And it’s pretty damn meaningless in my book

I’m a whatever the f*ck could’ve kllled me but didn’t, survivor.
Feel the same about the whole post part. Like, for even small example, if you have something in your family, it becomes the norm to deal with, or considered probably unavoidable. Not 'cancer survivor', etc. It's likely coming, or you've got it, or you likely will, then you deal with it, and die sooner or later. Though it affects decisions, and others don't get that.

In terms of innocent(s):
Which I’m not. In any sense of the word.
and by definition:
They’ve done no wrong. They don’t rate this kind of fallout in their lives. (Nor, if they’re special, will it slow them down rather than rise them up.). Innocents? Are special. If common. They’re the people, good people, who rate saving
^^ I have never heard a clearer definition of 'you' than that one. Going in eyes wide open but seeing nothing (no way does anyone ever anticipate that is going to be the price to pay, signing on); putting your son ahead of yourself at all costs despite the fact it's brutal; supporting people here and often I'm sure having to take a big gulp of patience for the relative paltriness of some stuff expressed- that is my definition of innocent, and good people. I think at times we are all innocent at the hands of decisions of others, and at times we are the ones whose decisions hurt others. It's interwoven. Nothing- nothing-justified what you went through. JMHO.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
When I chose my profile name, I was proud to call myself a survivor. For me personally it shows strength and resilience that despite all odds I made it and didn't die. Felt pretty f*cked up and was left with some pretty serious issues but didn't die. I don't know, I don't like over analysing it.
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
I ran across the phrase recently… “Killers, rapists, slavers; they leave behind victims, innocents.”

It had never really occurred to me how much I equate victim with innocent, before.

But I do.
I think it probably depends on how you define "innocent", like if people are only victims (the legal definition, not opinion) if they're innocent, then that excludes the vast majority of people. Like uh, basically all adults really, depending on your (plural) definition of innocent.
Like targeting civilians instead of military targets. They’ve done no wrong
I think civilian doesnt necessarily equal innocent, just as a cool news story. Like 18yo military dude killed (military target) or 50yo douchebag of a dude who works in an office (innocent civilian). I amn't sure people can be simplified that far tbh.

Personally, I don't really relate to either, cos they both are words I have issues with. Like both are words that people use as part of their identity, and my shit is just things that happened that I'm trying to deal with. Like if it helps people to identify with either, that's cool, but for me, it's just not a thing I identify with. Victim reads as helpless, and survivor reads uh off to me.

Yeah, JMO
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
Thank you for posting this loaded post @Friday.

This is one of my petpeeves in therapy for a long time.
I think aside the limit of words and language of these two words, I would like to express how I see it myself today.

Victim is what bring most people to this site: something happened that "harmed" or "injured" us. Most likely this injury was done by another human not animal or event (though that can happen). Momentarily as victim we had no power to offset the forces harming or injuring us enough to damage temporal aspect of our consciousness - this is ultimately what Ptsd is to me.

Innocent means to me mostly a developing state of mind - the power of harming has the ability to change the person's core personality like a parent or authority figure. I heard the other day something along the lines that all babies are born fragmented and it is up to the parent to integrate or keep and empower the fragmentation. That was an eye opening. Basically innocents and childhood is delayed, destroyed or delayed or all. I think when ptsd happens to an adult - one major experience like war or accident or even domestic abuse - it may reset the person to a point of developmental that is lacking. This is I feel one reason some people have ptsd and may not have developmental - like their issue started at 18yrs old etc. for me I breakdown to like one month old! blind and paralysis.

For me today, I am not victim or yearning for my innocence or even a survivor in my mind, I am a full human with experience of all those but those experience are not more or less than my other experience of empowering, confidence, pro-sociality, and belonging etc. But I know in therapy for example, if I do not play out being a victim - embody the victimhood - it means to the witness - the therapist as if I am not allowing it. And that difference of consciousness is really important to me. I do not feel victim now - this is my reality (I have memory of being harmed and injured yes). My therapist may want me to embody that - that is their reality of me. Which reality is beneficial for me? and this is a struggle and one I have to hold to say both perceptions are true but I take my POV over the other.

I think the question is ultimately who you are when you are alone in your mind - is you (some people carry a narrative). When in the presence of others, others will definitely give us version of their perception of us - to be conscious. to be aware. and to differentiate their perception of us and our perception of us - is a hard moment to keep up for a long time - but good enough to strive for.

I am often the type that asks why repulse or react strongly to something ? My own reaction to your post tells me there is more to know. am I now and here, or am I there and then? This weighs on my reaction. I feel (though cannot guarantee) I am sort of here and now today. 🙏

Now I reacted and responded because I do feel often the gap of my own growth and the absence of some in my past...I see the gap - sometimes painfully reminds me how victimized I have been and loss of my innocence but then I realize this is what gives me the strength I have today. I could not be this strong without experiencing enormous weakness and helplessness that I survived!

editing to clarify - the narrative in your mind (IMHO) is you or a programmed part you carry or both ---long winded sentence..sorry.
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
That was a pretty interesting post! I really don't think it had ever occurred to me that there might be a positive way to look at being a "victim". Going to have to think on that a bit.

I don't like being called "a victim". But then I don't like "sympathy" much either. I've always been ok with "survivor" because, well, I'm still here. Not much else you can say about that really, just like you said. I don't think I deserve any particular credit for it, it's just the way things worked out. There are plenty of people who deserve to survive and don't and that's got nothing to do with anything.

"Innocent"? Kids are innocent, I guess. And dogs. And horses. And kittens...... People? Adult people of normal intellectual ability? I don't know about that. I don't think I see the same distinction you do between military and civilian. Yes, the military sign up for it (at least HERE they do). But I rather doubt many of them realize what they're potentially signing up for when they do it. (Which might make them "innocent"?) I don't think you get a special dispensation in life because you're "a civilian". Depending on the situation, you might have helped elect the idiot that started the war.

So, if you're not a victim because you're weren't (aren't?) innocent, and you're not dead yet, doesn't that make you a survivor? I still like that better than the alternative.
 

enough

MyPTSD Pro
I don't even think about being a survivor of the ten thousand things i did cause I was stupid or seeking sex or just trying to stay awake. Sure they happened but it isn't a small club of survivors so it is kind of like saying I am a survivor of doing the things that most unfettered young males with the ability to do, do. Why even verbalize it? I survived youth and all of it's danger. Beats the alternative.

Was I an innocent victim of my own lack of knowing any better or not caring if I did? Oh hell no. guilty survivor. beats the alternative and thats the bottom line for me.

That other shit that happened just because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time? survivor. innocent. (wrong place, wrong time? In my parents house, between 1973 and the day I left in '76 at 14 and a whole lot of the places I was after that when I should have been at home)

Biiig difference. easily spotted and identifiable.
 
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