The victim complex
We weather so many rough patches – there are some days that are just sheer murder on your spirit… but you know that if you survive that, you will survive anything, and that wave carries you through triumphantly.
So you were knocked down, so you were traumatised, so you were shattered… so what? You dusted yourself off and walked on. Tougher and stronger than before. (When we can be such supremely strong beings, how can we ever have a phrase in our language like “im only human”…. It should be “im human”! It should be a proud statement of fact, not a grovelling excuse for weakness. )
We had gone to the beach recently and were watching the full moon glinting off the sea as we talked. She has always maintained this stance on the victim complex, which has intrigued me. This woman always maintains that the victim complex is deeply embedded in our conditioning. We most of us scream with pain and rage, of old scars, wear our tortures with a gruesome virtuous pride… but very few of us stand up tall after being knocked down to say “to hell with you. You think that’s going to keep me down?”. So few do not seek help or concession because we automatically assume the victims role.
Doesn’t that ring really true? Especially where we women are concerned, we are repeatedly told it is the end of the world if were raped, abused, tortured or beaten. We seldom hear the stories of women who have been through all that and are still striding on with their head held high. We just don’t hear enough about indomitable spirits that cannot be slapped down or punctured by a penis.
As much as it is important for women who have suffered to speak of their pain, I think its equally, if not more vital, that women who have sailed through speak of how they have healed. I had not thought it to be so earlier – I wondered what comfort one could possibly draw from hearing about more pain. What I realised is that the spirit after the pain is what makes the difference.
Rather than hear about how yet another person has been living on the scraps of sympathy she pleads for from society, when in despair I would hear about a woman like Maya Angelou, Germaine Greer, Andrea Dworkin, or one of the wonderful women I know, and feel reassured that there are such tremendous reserves of strength that it is possible to summon up!
This is a poem ill come back to for the rest of my life....
"Still I Rise"You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard'
Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history's shame
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
- Maya Angelou.
Labels: my life