virtuous victimhood correlated with dark triad personality

internal

MyPTSD Pro
Something one of the article mentions is that a person who identifies with victimhood might exaggerate their experience if it will get them sympathy and get them off the hook or whatever.
one thing i would be wary of is that the self reporting of these events in someone with an abuse history may be disroted. i often feel like i am exaggerating my experences for sympathy. i do not know if that is true but because my abuser went to prison i do have an objective standerd to compare it to-even if they din't get everything "right" (because i was saying things there was no accepted proof for-

they could not identify certan people, the images were blurred, and what not.) the measure of objectevevty still shows that that was what happened. and yet i may come here or talk of i and then i go "well that's me too. i think i'm a victim and horrible. and i exegerate for sympathy." so you need to be careful of whether or not this is a real thing for you-

that you are exaggerated for sympethy. or whether or not you are just saying your experences and then minemizing them after ward. oviously that you are reflecting upon your behavhier is a good thing. no matter whether you were doing this or not-but be careful with this not to allow it to influence your actual truth.

my self being cluster b it is often so easy of me to insist that every thing is just a product of my pathology and i am actually evil and bad. and i have "proof" because i have a diagnosis of a "difficult" persenality disorder. but how much of that is what i report as that i am being a victim and being looking for attention and things.

and of course comparing this to the simple fact that: (and this is hard for many people) wanting attention itself is not inherently negetive. it is how you go about identefying this need and achieving that goal in posetive ways. that you do not demand and manipulete and exaggerate and what not. but wanting attention it self is not bad because all human beings want attention.

we are social animals, that is what our brains are meant to be doing: connecting. talking. listening. existing together.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
I think my problem in taking generic studies, then applying them to people who have underlying pathology from complex trauma...doesn't work.

Because, when you're the victim of complex trauma (you are, whether you like the language or not), there's nothing much more than honesty and self awareness happening when you say "I'm the victim of complex trauma".

For the general population who aren't victims of complex trauma? Yeah, it's probably interesting to psychologists why someone who isn't a victim of something decides to invest a whole lot of energy in telling anyone who will listen "I'm such a victim of...". Why are they doing that if they're not really a victim?

But, when you actually are a victim of complex trauma? All that becomes irrelevant. Announcing "I'm a victim of complex trauma", when you are a victim of complex trauma? Is honesty. Nothing dark and sinister about it, it's just the truth.
@Sideways I totally agree.....and after having spent most of my life running away from the concept of being a victim multiple times.....it was a hard truth.....I think once I acknowledged that truth straight-on, then I found myself rethinking my family, their roles, remembering things I had put away long ago.........that I had spent a lifetime downplaying or ignoring/forgetting. The flip side to that is that once I accepted that I had been victimized while relieved in a sense because I could blame someone....and raging over it at the same time, with having been given multiple labels....like CPTSD/TBI/etc.......I resist head on using my own victimization today.....as an excuse to continue to remain in the role of the victim....We were a victim in the past- but we do not have to allow those past feelings to keep us chained as a life-long victim to our past trauma which keeps us weak and vulnerable.....and not so functional, either. As far as the article goes, interesting subject but it was not credible due to lack of rigor in sample size and methodology.
 

Sideways

Moderator
I might later feel justified because things were unfair or because I have more suffering, etc., but how often am I justifying my behaviors? This is what I'm reflecting on.
The level of personal insight here is going to be huge. And really subjective.

For example, I've absolutely been in situations where I've told someone "I have a history of csa". This place and medical professionals are 2 obvious examples that come to mind. The motivations for sharing that, vary from one situation to the next.

There's been situations where I've shared it to get sympathy, too. For example, sith my dad, when he was treating me like crap and had his head up his a*** about a range of "poor him" issues, I bluntly (and, it turned out, rather pointlessly) reminded him of my victim status.

Not in the least bit worried about whether it was justified or not, though. Because, if I'm looking at my own behavioural patterns, the examples of where I've done that are (1) pretty reasonable; and I think more importantly (2) balanced against my norm. My norm is to go around without my Victim hat on, taking people as they come, keeping my personal stuff close to my chest.

So, in self-examination, it's helpful to look at the criteria for possible pathology, sure. Do I meet those criteria? Do I have objective examples of my own behaviour that objectively meet those criteria?

But, equally, is that balanced against (or, in fact, outweighed by) examples where I go in the opposite direction? Where I could quite reasonably play the victim card, but don't? And if the answer to that question is also yes? Then no, that pathology isn't part of my problem.

Idk if that makes sense?
 

PreciousChild

MyPTSD Pro
These are really helpful and nuanced points that I think are good counterpoints and additions to what the articles contain. @TruthSeeker, exactly. In order to heal and grow, we definitely need to embrace fully that we were victimized. And as we know well, I'm sure, it takes time to heal, and I accept that I may never fully heal.

@grief, that's such a good point.

one thing i would be wary of is that the self reporting of these events in someone with an abuse history may be disroted. i often feel like i am exaggerating my experences for sympathy. i do not know if that is true but because my abuser went to prison i do have an objective standerd to compare it to-even if they din't get everything "right" (because i was saying things there was no accepted proof for-

I would be devastated if I was accused of exaggerating my authentic experience of abuse, and I relate to what you're saying about not having to get everything right and offering proof. I already grew up with a sense of not mattering and not being believed, so part of my healing has been to unapologetically embrace those memories of what happened to me against my will, whether my siblings or parents acknowledged them or not. I also agree that wanting attention is not a bad thing. It is our god-given right, as far as I'm concerned. But I also think that we need to keep those impulses that are maladapted in check. For example, trying to parentify a child to get attention would not be okay even if that need is understandable. I think these new studies are more about adopting victimhood as a way of life, and I think it's probably adopted unconsciously because of our past and also because it's simply effective. The authors talk about how cued in people are to being giving and being generous to those who are virtuous and victimized. If you're attacked while on the way to volunteering at an orphanage, people will pour gallons of money into your gofundme page. But if you're attacked just because you were at the wrong place at the wrong time, not as much.

resist head on using my own victimization today.....as an excuse to continue to remain in the role of the victim....We were a victim in the past- but we do not have to allow those past feelings to keep us chained as a life-long victim to our past trauma which keeps us weak and vulnerable
I think this is the distinction that the studies are making too. What you're saying isn't easy to accomplish. I feel like the only way I can even entertain these ideas is after decades of slow healing. But I think that is aspirational.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
i think like most things, balance is key. Exploring one's fault (or another's) in balance. If looking obsessively for reasons to find yourself at fault, it may be to control the environment in the future, or to not allow yourself to blame another, or to minimize your experience. etc.

I think the saying, "hurt people hurt people" could apply here, or in situations of suffering. One generally turns inward. Many have said even with a cancer diagnosis for example, ~why doesn't the world stop, or everyone take notice of this.

Idk about a dark triad, but self-reports are extremely unreliable, since if nothing else many are not self aware. (What is more reliable is apparently self-reports plus other's reports, combined). I do think everyone has a dark/ light heart, or as some call a shadow self, or the capacity for great good or evil. Just human nature. Most people have a conscience, but not all have one or a well-developed one.

I have been around (some) sociopathy/ psychopathy, and the best explanation I heard was this: the following question was aked, over 95% (if I'm not mistaken) of individuals diagnosed with psychopathy got the 'right' answer:
'A woman goes to the funeral of her mother, and meets a good looking stranger. She does not ask for his number and he leaves. Two days later she kills her sister. Why?'
-> The answer is, 'She's hoping he'll show up at the funeral'. (Gross. )

So I think that manifestations of PD's or other diagnoses may sound familiar or having overlapping characteristics, but the brutal truth is they can be quite extreme or pronounced, comparatively speaking. (Much as the term narcicism is used frequently nowadays, but likely over-represented in terms of actual diagnostic criteria.) I think most of us could all choose to just be self-centered in a heartbeat. But as humans we usually have external or internal reasons or motivations to reduce that. Not as a pathology, just human nature.

"Victim " is a strange word, with many preconceived connotations. I think it should be renamed. Sympathy often fills a need, as does pity. Empathy needs to be learned, I believe they say, and a lack of self-compassion can interfere with it. But it can be taught according to Paul (x- I can't recall his name, Gilbert I think? Who coined Compassion Focused Therapy- learning compassion for yourself).

Forgive me if I've got the gist of the topic all wrong! 🙄

ETA, I think we're in a culture used to labels, but from what I understand (with or without one) we look for esplanations and presictability- even predicting negative behaviour brings relief in that it's predictable. Suppossedly most of what everyone does is to get needs met, and about 95% of that is subconscious. But many people will resort to any length for that, no matter whether true and authentic or not, from what I've seen. As per the article, narcissictic men would also be intermittently-reinforcing men. And Batman has better muscles than say, Spiderman! 😀
 
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TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
These are really helpful and nuanced points that I think are good counterpoints and additions to what the articles contain. @TruthSeeker, exactly. In order to heal and grow, we definitely need to embrace fully that we were victimized. And as we know well, I'm sure, it takes time to heal, and I accept that I may never fully heal.

@grief, that's such a good point.



I would be devastated if I was accused of exaggerating my authentic experience of abuse, and I relate to what you're saying about not having to get everything right and offering proof. I already grew up with a sense of not mattering and not being believed, so part of my healing has been to unapologetically embrace those memories of what happened to me against my will, whether my siblings or parents acknowledged them or not. I also agree that wanting attention is not a bad thing. It is our god-given right, as far as I'm concerned. But I also think that we need to keep those impulses that are maladapted in check. For example, trying to parentify a child to get attention would not be okay even if that need is understandable. I think these new studies are more about adopting victimhood as a way of life, and I think it's probably adopted unconsciously because of our past and also because it's simply effective. The authors talk about how cued in people are to being giving and being generous to those who are virtuous and victimized. If you're attacked while on the way to volunteering at an orphanage, people will pour gallons of money into your gofundme page. But if you're attacked just because you were at the wrong place at the wrong time, not as much.


I think this is the distinction that the studies are making too. What you're saying isn't easy to accomplish. I feel like the only way I can even entertain these ideas is after decades of slow healing. But I think that is aspirational.
I started therapy in my 60s......I don't plan to be doing trauma therapy for the rest of my life so slow isn't in my trauma plan..........maybe I'd keep going like once every couple of months for a tune up now and then but I review my progress on a regular basis and run the therapy show, as far as how I want to process the past......I left the dysfunctional ones-family, and want a different way of living.....predictable......respectful.....and friends who are supportive. I'm headed in that direction and learning to live alone......it's growing on me......pretty predictable when I arrive home with just 2 cats .....no criticism.......kinda lonely but having spent a lifetime fixing all the problems the dysfunctional ones created on a regular basis was exhausting and I was always to blame because someone didn't like something. I don't expect a perfect life.....generally quiet, amusing, productive, creative, and fulfilling..........that's kinda what I see contented as......(the end goal for my therapy plan is....................contentment).
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
I have been around (some) sociopathy/ psychopathy, and the best explanation I heard was this: the following question was aked, over 95% (if I'm not mistaken) of individuals diagnosed with psychopathy got the 'right' answer:
'A woman goes to the funeral of her mother, and meets a good looking stranger. She does not ask for his number and he leaves. Two days later she kills her sister. Why?'
-> The answer is, 'She's hoping he'll show up at the funeral'. (Gross. )

This is really funny to see this here as I was complaining about it in my diary. I personally think it's a very bad question to ask for profiling. If you ask it as a question that has an intrinsic solution (that is, there are no external elements but the ones that stated in the question), then there isn't any other possibility. So basically you're characterising logic as being a psychopathic trait.

Also if profilers can't think in that way even just as a fictive projection, how are you even supposed to find mobiles and motives of 'psychopathic' offenders?

The irony with this peculiar question is that it has been used by my mom to characterise me as a psychopathic child when I was 8 years old.

And as a general opinion I really don't think that thinking in "dark triad" terms is useful in any matter. It is also interesting that antisocial personality disorder is basically defined by the rupture with social norms and laws, more than by internal factors such as dissociation, anxiety, alexythimia and so and on. It's really remarkable in the criteria of a personality disorder more than any other PD, including cluster B disorders. I'm not saying that in practice ASPD hasn't a clinical existence. I did read many accounts by offenders that really fill the criteria for ASPD. Which isn't really the same as "psychopathy", that is sometimes defined as absence or very impaired empathy (so here we're swimming in cluster B, but also in dissociation and in some forms of autism and ADHD), sometimes defined by the absence of remorse and guilt (here more in a ASPD direction so). But these criteria feel somewhat artificial for me, more than with other cluster Bs.

At the end, "dark triad", "psychopathic" and so and on, I find there are terms that are too colloquial and vague as to really be useful in defining what hurt, harm and violence mean, even for extreme cases. You have paedophiles that wail about how guilty they are, others that tell inspectors right ahead that they did it just because they could and there was no reason at all, and others that explain its the fault of the child. All these are different mechanisms and while some flicker through them, others are more stable. But the harm they cause roughly can be the same.

Now in the sense of victimisation, claiming victimhood as a covert method to gain empathy as a mean to do something else is simply a deceptive method. You remark that if someone does it just to gain empathy and things stop there, what you get is an annoying person that will vent and perhaps, someone rather hurtful and at times disconnected, but not a dangerous one in the sense of an offender.

Also, there are ways of doing it that are more or less hurtful. It's not the same to be venting than threatening with suicide. Or whatever else. So in that sense "claiming victimhood" is vague and catches a variety of behaviours that range from totally normal to dangerous and harmful.

That said remaining in a victim mindset will increase the anxiety and the habit of looking for threats, which very much can trigger a secondary reaction of being angry or enraged at unexpected things. It's rare than violent offenders don't have a heightened sense of threat against their person by small things (like, this woman disrespected me or blah blah blah). And this also comes with how you're socialized and what's found as being "tolerable" or not and what's perceived as an offense.

So the fact that the article shared here is also tendencious and heteronormative, for me it also reflects violence and control on a bigger scale through normalisation and pathologisation of different things.

Just my two cents.
 

internal

MyPTSD Pro
I find there are terms that are too colloquial and vague as to really be useful in defining what hurt, harm and violence mean, even for extreme cases.
hit the nail on the head.

It's really remarkable in the criteria of a personality disorder more than any other PD, including cluster B disorders.
this is what always fascenates me. as the diagnostic criteria stands for aspd, it's basically describing sets of behavier. and that means and this happens a lot in real time. that you can actually commit a crime, go to prison, and get an aspd diagnosis-and have remorse! and actually have guilt and want to change your life and be serious about it. but yet they meet the diagnostic criteria so they get slapped with the diagnosis.

this is fundamentally flawed. because that means people without an affective empathy deficit are getting labeled with a disorder that is entirely about! the lack of remorse, the lack of affective empathy. the behaviers are the symptom, not the root. and the lack of internal awareness and real breakdown of aspd is one of the biggest gaps in modern psychiatry today in my opinion, because people don't like working with these populations.

or at least it should be about the empathy deficit and impulsivity and proneness to boredom and lack of reactivity. those are the hallmarks of what aspd actually is. it doesn't matter if you killed a motherf*cker. if you have remorse, you shouldn't be able to meet the diagnostic criteria for aspd. period. just like ptsd. you should require a crit-a. and that's where you get these gaps-that these criterias are being written by people without lived experience.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
Yes, agree with you @ruborcoraxxx .

I personally think it's a very bad question to ask for profiling. If you ask it as a question that has an intrinsic solution (that is, there are no external elements but the ones that stated in the question), then there isn't any other possibility. So basically you're characterising logic as being a psychopathic trait.
^^ This is also true, though I found only a Corrections Officer came up with that answer. However, who is one to presume anyone would tell the truth, anyway? For one thing, to be charming (an act, not a character trait) one guages others' reactions and adjusts to fit their purpose. A human trait again, but can be carefully manufactured or honed. Big difference between the intent of a salesperson or a serial killer though. But, who really knows what is in one's history, mind or heart.

Last I heard, there was a greater risk following ODD, actually. And areas of power-politics, white collar crime, etc- are rife with it. In a criminology course, they said look towatds the Medical, Legal professions, and Politics.
The irony with this peculiar question is that it has been used by my mom to characterise me as a psychopathic child when I was 8 years old.
^^ This is preposterous, and says more about her, I hope you realize. Most children couldn't even grasp these concepts, or are victims of horrific abuse in many cases, before they act out.. That is so wrong, I am so sorry. 😢
So the fact that the article shared here is also tendencious and heteronormative, for me it also reflects violence and control on a bigger scale through normalisation and pathologisation of different things.
Agreed. ^^ Hope their science was better than their summary.

I think the biggest telling feature, only from MHE, is the lack of limits the person puts on themselves, or feels justified in doing so.
 

PreciousChild

MyPTSD Pro
I wanted to address the notion that we should dismiss these articles because of its "heteronormativity". As I said, I'm not a psychologist, but doesn't all object relations theory commit this "bias"? From what I understand, object relations is conditioned on social and cultural considerations, so it would reflect the prevailing heteronormativity. What would the alternative be? Am I missing something?

I also wanted to address the criticism that these articles rely solely on self-reporting. If you read the Ok study, the experiment involved the subject's interactions with an intern, which the subject then lies about. The subject who identified as virtuous victim tended to lie more.

i think like most things, balance is key. Exploring one's fault (or another's) in balance. If looking obsessively for reasons to find yourself at fault, it may be to control the environment in the future, or to not allow yourself to blame another, or to minimize your experience. etc.
In the past, I blamed myself for everything, even those things that were not mine to blame. As a child, that's how I survived. I think I've healed a lot. Right now, I'm looking to see if there are behaviors that I ought to take responsibility for because it is fitting. I am really not feeling hypervigilant in this process, though I am indeed capable of that.

"Victim " is a strange word, with many preconceived connotations. I think it should be renamed. Sympathy often fills a need, as does pity. Empathy needs to be learned, I believe they say, and a lack of self-compassion can interfere with it. But it can be taught according to Paul (x- I can't recall his name, Gilbert I think? Who coined Compassion Focused Therapy- learning compassion for yourself).
It's interesting that the studies show that trauma leads to less empathy, not more. I thought the opposite was the case, but I think I was mistaking my reactivity for empathy. One thing I'm concluding is that empathy is not the sheer identification of pain and the attempt to remove all pain from myself and others. Suffering sometimes lead to good outcomes, like character building. Being able to support another's welfare takes more than just merging with another's pain. But you didn't really talk about that. I agree that empathy is learned, in part. Someone is more likely to become narcissistic if they do not learn social and other skills growing up. Their inability to handle actuality forces them even more to rely on their delusions.

I don't expect a perfect life.....generally quiet, amusing, productive, creative, and fulfilling..........that's kinda what I see contented as......(the end goal for my therapy plan is....................contentment).
I think that's awesome that you know yourself and know what you want. That makes me think that you'll do really well in life.

Now in the sense of victimisation, claiming victimhood as a covert method to gain empathy as a mean to do something else is simply a deceptive method. You remark that if someone does it just to gain empathy and things stop there, what you get is an annoying person that will vent and perhaps, someone rather hurtful and at times disconnected, but not a dangerous one in the sense of an offender.
I am not at all suggesting that a cptsd person will become an offender or even be dangerous. I do think that, like the narcissist, we can be blinded when feeling victimized. I know that I have been guilty of that. When I felt suffering, I would be incensed if you tried in any way to hold me to account. There's something absolving about pain, like it's self-justifying and only the innocent could feel it. The article talks about how those identifying as victims seek compensation. I think victimhood, like narcissism, is compensatory. I think the danger is that if your attitude is that the world owes you for the unfairness of your life, you will feel entitled to more than others, and you will feel that you deserve greater leniency than others. I think that can lead to some of the "darker" traits that these articles talk about.

this is fundamentally flawed. because that means people without an affective empathy deficit are getting labeled with a disorder that is entirely about! the lack of remorse, the lack of affective empathy. the behaviers are the symptom, not the root.
I'm not 100% sure what you are saying here. If I understand you correctly, you're saying that diminished lack of empathy is a symptom, not the root of cptsd, but in those with aspd, that is the root. But I do not find anywhere in these articles or in anything that I've read that would suggest otherwise.
 

internal

MyPTSD Pro
I wanted to address the notion that we should dismiss these articles because of its "heteronormativity". As I said, I'm not a psychologist, but doesn't all object relations theory commit this "bias"?
when something is purporting itself as science, the goal is to be objective. not to play into cultural and societal mores (outside of the sciences that deal with these subjects). especially when making such broad claims as this study is making.

If I understand you correctly, you're saying that diminished lack of empathy is a symptom, not the root of cptsd, but in those with aspd, that is the root. But I do not find anywhere in these articles or in anything that I've read that would suggest otherwise.
yep, i was just talking to corax.
 

PreciousChild

MyPTSD Pro
when something is purporting itself as science, the goal is to be objective. not to play into cultural and societal mores

I strongly believe that the objectivity of the "science" in social and behavioral sciences is different from the hard "science" of physics and chemistry. There can be objectivity in cultural and social mores - laws are based on such objectivity - but it will never look like natural laws, like gravity. Feel free to respond, but I'm not debating this point any further.
 

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