“Don’t be a willing victim.” That seems easy enough. Fight back. Stand up for yourself. Don’t take $h*t from anyone. Apparently, though, this is a concept too difficult for some to either understand or act on; one or the other. When people won’t stand up for themselves I just don’t understand it. I think part of my lack of understanding is how I view “victim.”
You see, I don’t hold that outlook, “don’t be a willing victim,” just in relation to violence, crime, terrorism, etc. I hold that outlook in a more universal fashion. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is another well known and oft-followed phrase/philosophy, but how many of you realize it’s a two way street? “Don’t let others do unto you anything you’d feel guilty about doing unto them.” In other words, don’t tolerate people who don’t treat you with the necessary modicum of common courtesy and respect.
Again, I don’t see this as a difficult concept, but apparently – when you throw it together with employment or relationship issues – it gets all kinds of complicated.
The man who would be far better off without his emotionally abusive wife but who puts up with everything she says and does while making excuses for her is NOT standing up for himself. He’s being a willing victim.
The woman whose husband who brags about how well he treats her but then berates her for being fat while she excuses it because “his work has stressed him out,” is being a willing victim.
The man who won’t seek a new job but lets his boss abuse him in the work space through unnecessary and uncompensated extra hours is being a willing victim. “But I need this job,” he’d say. My reply would be, “Yes, you do. Right up to the point where you find one that treats you better and pays you the same or more.” If the abused employee never seeks another job but simply continues to put up with mistreatment, then he’s NOT standing up for himself in any way. He’s being a willing victim and can make tons of excuses as to why there’s nothing wrong with the way he’s being treated.
In our society today there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who act this way. They make excuses as to why circumstances can’t be changed; why they have to stay in the situation they’re in; why they have no other acceptable choice but to remain a willing victim.
Now, bear in mind, I’m NOT talking about demanding that things be given to you. I’m NOT saying it’s right to expect payment, gifts, compensation, etc. when you haven’t worked hard and earned them. What I AM talking about is the hard-working dedicated employee who knowingly accepts lower pay than his peers; what I AM talking about is the person in an emotionally abusive relationship who puts up with it and makes excuses for the person who is abusing them.
I’m not sure how we, as a society, got to this point but I know how I intend to address this where I observe it: I intend to point out, politely and with due respect, to the victim that I believe they should stand up for themselves; that they should not accept being a victim; that THEY have the power to change their circumstance.
They’ll either listen or they won’t. What I know for sure and certain, and the only thing I can really control in all of it, is that I won’t be a victim of their drama as they try to share it. When they start to complain about circumstances – circumstances THEY have the ability to extricate themselves from but choose not to – I can, and will politely walk away. THEY might choose to stay a willing victim; I REFUSE to let THEIR victimization increase the stress in my day when they willingly submit to it.
I’ve got no time for that. There’s too much life to live. Do you agree?
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