‘Victims’ have choices too

Couldn’t help myself. I just had to comment on something I heard in the media today. It seems a disabled woman interrupted the Prime Minister who was addressing some forum or other to accuse the government of ‘forcing’ her to steal to survive. I am no fan of our Prime Minister or of our current government but I can’t let such a nonsense go by without comment.

I am sorry to say that it seems there are people who are in love with the idea of victimhood. They have been seduced by the comforting suggestions that their predicament is not their fault; that someone else needs to take responsibility for them. Many such people have walked into my office over the years, convinced that they have been wronged and that the only possible response is for them to do ‘such and such’. They have been ‘forced’ into something that was not their choice and hence they can in no way be blamed or accept any responsibility for their response. In my experience adults have been no less inclined than are children to clutch at the victim role. I have heard from so many people so many times that they were ‘forced’ to do or say something or other. Enough is enough!
Fully functioning adults always have choices and they always have a responsibility to own those choices. To suggest otherwise is demeaning to people who manage to deal with adversity without donning the cloak of victimhood.

As for the action of disabled woman in question – she was not ‘forced’ by anybody to steal. She chose to do it when faced with a shortage of food and money presumably. She could have chosen otherwise but she did not. It may have been an understandable choice or it may have been an unnecessary choice, but she owns the choice; the government and its policies certainly do not.

Yes, many people have unfortunate circumstances with which to deal. They may elicit our pity or our desire to help. Fundamentally however, they do themselves no service by giving up their sovereign rights as an adult and failing to accept responsibility for their choices.

Assuming the role of victim may be comforting but it leads us nowhere useful. As adults we always have choices and we should always be prepared to accept responsibility for the choices we make.

There, I feel better now.


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