Victim culture encourages the act of codependency and entitled behaviors full of bias and immoral standards and beliefs. It begins to promote behaviors in personal gain to become normalized. Thus creating a new subculture of enabling behavior in social behaviors is now referred to as victim culture. The predecessor to blame culture, social behavior by individuals who engage as a collective. The inability to take responsibility for the choice that is in their control.
In victim culture, those individuals criminalize others based on stereotypes and discrimination for personal gain, the emotional rejection that develops when they don’t get their way. The unfortunate social consequence of these conditioned and adapted behaviors of manipulation are that those entitled individuals disregard the damage they cause to others as long as they gain the feeling of superiority through their vendetta for not getting their way. But what happens when a person is already ready for potential action in a person’s victimization and gain proof to contradict those alleged and false accusations. Those who attempt to intimidate start running for the hills.
The one thing that I began to see in the middle of my life awakening was that I began engaging in this behavior to stop the negative feeling of heartbreak and betrayal. What I learned only can vanish by taking accountability and finding peace in healing. In reality, life is a process of trial and error for a solution to eliminating unpleasant events and emotions. We depend on emotional crutches to remove inferiority, which serves as Vicodin for chronic pain that won't go away without treating the underlying issues. A behavior that is common as this is how we learn how to cope. We must acknowledge that we all make mistakes as we weren't made to be perfect. The goal isn't to avoid making mistakes to seek perfection. The goal is to identify an error and to prevent ourselves from doing it again. It takes practice, transparency, and consistency to perfect the destructive behaviors. But when you perfect it, it makes you an unstoppable force. Not only do you handle these intimidation tactics in your own small world, you learn how to handle this in a "bigger pond" per se. As these acts I was able to stand up to later on in life, became the inspiration to the various storylines in my series, "The Rideshare Chronicles."
You Really Are A Scared Little "B**ch!"
Intimidation comes from the feeling of anxiety that enables fears that someone suppresses in self-deception. It is an act of self-preservation that occurs when an intimidator underestimates their victim through past experiences, bias, and stereotyping. A perfect example is an encounter I had when bullied as a kid. A boy followed me home after school, taunting me only to scare me. This boy followed me, walking route home, picking up plywood. He swung the plywood that he rushed in front of my path to witness a reaction. In a defense response from now seeing the plywood swung at me, I defended myself, thinking I was in physical danger. The bully ended up victimizing himself as the effect of his cause had him punched in the face, making me the bully to his parents.
My ex-military uncle had to confront his parents and the school board. As he left from work that day, it occurred and was stuck in the school dismissal traffic and met me at the corner of our block to assure I wasn't hurt, as he saw the escalating issue. Now deemed defensive and sensitive, I was suspended based on that behavior, disregarding the abuse I would go through daily. Luckily when other parents heard what happened, they came forward and confirmed the events that lead to my self-defense, suspended for 48 hours. That compelled my uncle to confront the parents after the hearing and told his parents, “you need to teach your son not to be such a pussy by attempting to intimidate girls and learning not to underestimate people. As in the real world, that behavior could land him in jail, or worst. Get him killed by messing with the wrong person.
Bro, Who Are You Really?
There have been various times I had to self-defend, caused by intimidation that abusers used to enable my fear. In compromising situations, when harmed and scared, I couldn’t fight back. I surrendered and let it happen in helplessness—my self-deception from rationalizing the events occurring, that after stopping myself from victimization. I started fighting my attackers and instinctively finding a solution on how to break free from the attacker. If it is wise to run if I am not in immediate danger after breaking free or fighting, the threat would be a threat even after breaking free.
When I would seek help and advice from those in my inner circle, I would have my fair share of this behavior that was a form of "tough love.” When I gained emotional awareness, I saw that it was fear of the threats that could occur if they helped me as many people avoid helping someone in danger as they feel the threat will affect them somehow. Maybe the reason people don't help when they witness a victim in danger? That the effects from turning a blind eye can be more threatening to the population as a whole. It normalized abuse, normalizes the belief of being able to dodge the accountability and the ability to get help when we are in danger. This may be“why change never occurs.” The irony to this is that when we are in a life-threatening situation, it minimizes the accessibility of getting help in the future. When we find ourselves in that event, we get no assistance but a crowd seeing how the carnage will unfold. This is a psychological phenomenon known as the bystander effect. Bystander Effect | Psychology Today
I would see these behavior patterns that continued to occur in my personal experiences, even after leaving the situation. That would happen in future relationships in your act of cyberstalking. You see the pattern of that person jumping in and out of the relationship, already knowing why. Do not admit to feeling like your being judgmental. That if you see and deny, you convince yourself is not your problem. But it does become your problem because of self-deception. You find yourselves in these exact situations feeling more vulnerable throughout these reoccurring events as the goal is to disprove the reality you are experiencing. That leads to problems that you begin to find yourself in with people that intimidate you into getting what they want. That, like in my situation in self-deception, was inviting these toxic people in with open arms. That turned me from being a target to intimidating those who could not take advantage of me or scare me into victimizing myself. A behavior that manipulators identify within your interactions. Those who felt threatened in their self-deception convinced themselves that my bark was more significant than my bite. I learned that not only do I mean what I say, but I will not allow someone to violate me. Here is an article from Psychology Today talking about intimidation. The Intimidation Factor | Psychology Today
Empowerment from healing, recovery, and standing up for others
Warning: Do not engage in self-defense combat if you have no training or certification. The act of self-defense is not to dominate someone. It's protection from life-threatening events to save your life in a life-threatening event that involves physical encounters. Empower yourself to break free and find safety immediately. Seek help from authorities immediately.
Along with a trusted support system. If unable to move forward to gain justice. It helps through the healing process in post-trauma through healthy outlets.
When I first stood up for myself, it was the scariest thing I've ever done in my life—surviving domestic violence and repressing the unhealed emotions that enabled anxiety and fear—only avoiding the perceived act of physical abuse. It wasn't till I stood up against discrimination and attempted sexual assault, I experienced what is suppose to be a safe environment—the workplace. As seeing the truth of the reality that I face and the adversity others went through, I saw. The hardest, admitting to the attempt of sexual assault and other occurrences I denied. As my belief at the time could experience sexual assault. A reality developed from other repressed emotional traumas of abuse that only happens to pretty women, not to me. Because I was unattractive and undesirable, to stand up for myself was both an emotional and humbling pivotal moment in life. Not only was I standing up against this occurrence, but the other occurrences I was afraid to fight against. That I had to do alone, as those close to me believed I caused it, victim-blaming. That due to the gaslight from a breakup a year ago from the event. That regardless of the outcomes, people gave me to stop me. I was still going to do it my way, using Frank Sinatra's "My Way" as not only my anthem. But my swan song.
After this pivotal moment, my empowerment continues to manifest. Not only creating boundaries and realistic expectations but enforcing them. Those men in rejection, my first challenge. Rationalized why their invasive touching followed a degrading catcall with, "If you didn't want to be treated like a slut, don't dress like one!" That after mastering this, followed with speaking up in mistreatment to essential workers. A typical act of displacement due to the pandemic. Resulting in gaining empathy and compassion. A result of the apologies given for speaking up against the behavior. That was effective during my Uber experience, became altruism. It would help men and women fight against sexual assault that occurred after I arrived. Empathy, compassion, and life experience made me relatable and confidant. I was being able to provide the options and my experience in taking those options post-trauma. Able to provide a safe support system, regardless of their final decision. That always ended the same, becoming a support system in reporting the sexual assault I was happy to do. And I also respected it when they no longer needed it. That in those difficult moments that happen post-trauma. In her traumatic experience, a mantra was given to me by someone's selfless act of compassion. I learned, given to her during her traumatic experience.
The feedback provided in every event was, "If it was someone else. Not only wouldn't care but would say why I was the reason it happened." The mantra of "It's not your fault. It should never happen." That in those times when victim shaming and stigmas could be unpleasant. When I saw a trauma all too familiar, domestic violence, I stood in selfless courage to stand up for a young pregnant woman and her daughter against her abusive partner. I stopped to ask if the woman needed help. No one did prior or during the twenty minutes of rationalizing with him. That, in his misjudgment, threw a punch I deflected. I set a physical boundary by pushing him away from the woman, her daughter, and myself. And giving further warning of using my combat skills if he continued that proved effective. I was allowing her to make her own decision through empathy, compassion, and relatability. That true being a healthy support system shared the further harm he intended, made her leave her home out of fear. It also preserved her unborn child's life. That had her keeping me posted when taken to the ER as the baby was experiencing complications resulting from the abuse that also occurred before crossing paths.
Encouragement, Inspiration, and Re-Establishing Hope
The truth is that we are all capable of love and healing. We are not damaged. It's something that we at many times don't know how to overcome these events in life. The criticism I always got and still get when I share my stories is that I am victimizing myself. A reaction I already expect through defense mechanisms. The act in staying in denial and avoid feeling the negative emotions we dwell on. That results to rationalizing and projecting. Dr. Judith Orloff addresses this The Difference Between Venting and Dumping | Psychology Today.
In recognizing behaviors from toxic personalities, a consistent trait stands out like a sore thumb. The inability of consistency as toxic personalities exhibited many personality types. That is determinate by the influence they have on someone, along with the perception they want people to see them as, avoiding those who see past the masks and their toxic nature. My ex-husband did this, being one way with me, pleasant with others, and dodged and trashed those who confronted him and questioned his inconsistencies. In the end, if I was too afraid to leave, I had two options. "Accept it or get away from it."
As I started growing in these experiences, I learned that the same rule applies when it comes to boundaries in and out of our worlds. "You either accept mistreatment or stop from being mistreatment." The bigger problem in tolerating mistreatment is that we begin to enable the toxic people to think they can get away with it. Never taking accountability, always blaming others can lead to issues that can affect us as a whole. Enforcing boundaries and holding people accountable is a preventative way of making someone a threat to society. Dr. Karen Khaleghi provides the difference between the two in her article Are You Empowering or Enabling? | Psychology Today.
The unfortunate thing about self-deception is it keeps us from holding ourselves accountable. It prevents us from gaining the courage that we mistake for bravery. To be saved, we must learn how to protect ourselves. Not only to prevent us from abuse and mistreatment. To open doors of limitless opportunities genuinely seeing the truth on how bright our future is. To only those in self-actualization know. And if more people gained the courage to pursue self-actualization. Maybe the world would look more promising for those afraid to believe.
Frieda López is the writer for Journey of an Unraveled Road who was born and raised in San Antonio, TX. Through her professional career in Customer Relations and Retail Management, she has utilized her experience and interactions with the behavioral patterns, which was used to start her personal journey with Journey of A Unraveled Road as her debut novel. She has completed philosophy, psychology, and theology courses at San Antonio College as well as creative writing courses. Frieda López has been a lifelong writer since 2nd grade. A survivor of childhood trauma, childhood abuse, and domestic violence, she wrote this piece, which started this book as her personal journey; works from home in San Antonio, TX.
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