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14 Aug, 2020 15:47

Sophia Narwitz: Victimhood has become a cult that wants you to suffer forever. I know because I broke free of its grasp

Sophia Narwitz: Victimhood has become a cult that wants you to suffer forever. I know because I broke free of its grasp

Victim culture is pervasive. From gaming to politics, an endless cycle of hurt feelings has tainted all it touches. But in a society where depression is skyrocketing, it’s time to call out a mindset that is ruining people’s lives.

My childhood, teens, and much of my 20s were not good to me. Having grown up in an abusive home where I experienced sexual, mental, and physical abuse, only to go to school where I was relentlessly bullied, I often found myself in a dark space. Throw in a violent rape around my 20th year of existence, and needless to say I was not a happy individual.

Through the eyes of my younger self, all I knew was victimhood. A sentiment backed by my experience with so many different forms of abuse. It was through that lens which I saw the world. I defined myself by my victim status, and I wanted to be treated as such.

By the time I was 25, I wasn’t living a good life. Suicide attempts were the norm, and I desperately sought out people who would coddle me. My coping mechanisms were poor, and I continually regressed into a weaker headspace, coaxed on by the people I filled my life with who treated me as a baby. Nowhere was I pushed to get stronger and I hit a phase where I was only ever upset.

I expand upon my history as such, because through all the coddling, babying, and safespacing I surrounded myself with, my anger, depression, and suicidal tendencies didn’t improve. I remained perpetually miserable. Never finding a leg to stand on because I didn’t have the strength to do so. I was stuck in a pit of despair because I refused to teach myself how to climb. These are the trappings of victim culture.

Thankfully for my own sanity’s sake, I eventually came to the realization that everything I was doing was actually a detriment to my well-being, and I pushed myself in the opposite direction. Years later and mean words online don’t negatively affect me. I went from being afraid of crowds to running into riots to snag footage. And I transformed from a closed-in recluse to a well-known figure within the gaming sphere. My belligerent and firebrand personality is testament to my growth. Hatred of the self is a thing of the past. Which is why it is upsetting to see society going out of its way to ensnare people in a web of barbed wire, one which keeps them in constant pain.

Everywhere you look stand individuals forcing them into a damaging headspace. Words are nitpicked into oblivion as a means of finding creative new ways to become offended. For example, ‘blindspot’ is deemed ableist because it’s somehow disrespectful to actual blind people. Meanwhile, phobias are labeled an accessibility issue within gaming, so titles with spiders are coming under pressure to remove or alter them so that no one gets scared. Elsewhere in gaming, journalists cry out about ‘colonialism’ in fictional titles. It’s so bad that not even Mario is safe. Also not residing in safety are jokes, as time and time again comedians come under fire for doing their jobs.

Across the entire spectrum, be it within the realms of entertainment, politics, education and even city ordinance, nothing is untouched by a wave of corrosive tears that tarnishes everything it touches. Although bearing the brunt of the damage are the people left submerged in its wake. 

Depression rates have been rising for years, as have suicides, especially among millennials. Naturally there’s more than one cause. Job stability, debt, global crises, and the like all play a part, but making everything worse is a culture hood of victim mentality that refuses to let people grow.

Folks that are already angry and sad are going out of their way to discover more reasons to be upset, and social influencers, politicians, and mega corporations are bending over backwards to appease the mentality of those who strive to be miserable. This in turn creates a feedback loop of suffering as these bitter souls relish in the attention, so they continue to dredge up content to cry offense at.

It is a toxic disaster of epic proportions, and it should scare any sane person as, thanks to social media, ever younger people are being dragged through the muck. Gone are the days of coping skills. They’ve been replaced with safe spaces and special catering. Don’t like something? Well then cry and cry and cry about it until it is forcefully changed. We have allowed a generation of tantrum-throwing babies to gain a semblance of control, and like an actual child throwing a tantrum, the worst thing one can do is give them what they want every time the angry tears start swelling.

No longer are teens and adults alike prepared for the real world. Existence isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, and disaster in some form is always around the corner, yet seemingly few have the mentality to deal with life’s hardships anymore. Made all the worse because much of this mental damage is self-inflicted. Victim-warriors allowed words and images to manifest into physical entities, and now they are using them like bullets to repeatedly shoot themselves in the head. And after every round, healing becomes ever more difficult.

All of this I know from my own firsthand experiences. I saw myself as nothing more than a victim and I refused to let myself grow and get better. While residing in that mindset, I never would have become the writer or public figure that I am now.

Luckily I grabbed the voice in the back of my head like a rope and pulled myself up, and now my own life is on a great track, but as I look out into the landscape, I feel like a rarity. Victim culture spreads like the plague, and the zombies it’s leaving in its wake pose a threat to us all. That may sound like hyperbole, but as one example, consider your escapist hobbies, often used as a coping method for millions. Already video games, film, and tabletop RPGs are being altered to appease those who chase their tail in a never-ending bid to be upset. And as more and more properties fall in line, anger will only emanate from its wake.

The harsh reality is that victim culture is a toxic pool that drowns not only those who intentionally step foot into its waters, but it pulls in those who never wanted anything to do with it in the first place. For the sake of us all, it’s time to pull the plug, if for no other reason than the mental health of our younger generations requires it.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.