It would seem that the last feeling that a person wants to experience is suffering. However, there are those who live in suffering, even proud of them. Unconsciously, of course. Such people are ready to do everything for those around, pushing their needs and desires. They strive to bring good to the world and hope to save everyone from unworthy behavior and mistakes, in exchange for grateful recognition. The paradox is that often the object of beneficence becomes one who cannot give recognition and does not change his behavior. As a rule, it’s just the opposite - the sufferers are exploited, manipulated, made targets for draining aggression.
But constant failure only strengthens the martyr's belief that people like them are necessary for this world. After all, someone must guide the true "lost sheep" on the path, even if one has to endure oppression and self-violence. Martyrs patiently demolish everything. So they make themselves special, and at the same time they take off responsibility for their lives - they are good, these are people around who are evil and cruel, but if they tolerate, they may repent and see clearly.
Martyrs are not alien to use manipulations themselves. If the object of salvation resists, they impose guilt for ingratitude and callousness. All this may look quite demonstrative, with the "highlighting" of suffering and bitterness from the lack of recognition of merit.
As a rule, in such people, one of the parents showed sacrificial behavior and passivity with any harassment from the partner and others. He conveyed his model of behavior to a child who learned that in life, you need to do what others need to do first. Often such a child from an early age burdened with worries about the house, parents, younger siblings. If a child tries to satisfy his needs, he is immediately reminded of how much was done for him and he is obliged to value it, and therefore "work out" what he has received.
According to the martyr, love and recognition can only be obtained through suffering and self-sacrifice. What they didn’t receive in childhood, they are desperately seeking in adulthood, choosing precisely those who cannot give it.
To get out of this vicious circle, the martyr will have to, for a start, realize why he should suffer, what is beneficial for him. It is also important to understand that in order to receive recognition and love it is not at all necessary to suffer. In addition, it is useful to explore your own desires and needs that are buried under a layer of duty before others.
Causes of Victim Syndrome
It is generally recognized that no one is born with such a violation: the causes of the victim syndrome and the origins of its development should be sought in childhood and adolescence, in the features of the formation and socialization of the person - under the influence of family members and various events and situations. The types of this disorder depend on the characteristics of dispositional (personality) characteristics of a person, the degree of development of his self-consciousness, the usual cognitive (cognitive) processes that manifest themselves in behavior and attribution - an individual subconsciously-intuitive explanation of the causes of the behavior of others.
Trying to explain the true motives of other people's behavior and actions, it is difficult to remain impartial (especially at the time of emotional arousal or stress), which often leads to erroneous conclusions. According to psychologists, reinforced by the negative experience of presenting a person with a victim’s syndrome, they are distorted by his needs (that is, they have deeply hidden vested motives) and some cognitive prejudices. For example, a typical attribution error: if a person receives a promotion, then this is a recognition of his abilities and competence, but when the promotion did not take place, then this is because the leadership does not like him ...
Or here is an example: the child is constantly blamed for the slightest mistakes and make comments on any occasion, but when there is reason to praise, adults are silent. As a result, the child does not feel guilty for the actions he performs, but perceives the remarks as a humiliation of his personality, which reduces his self-esteem. Therefore, the risk factors for the development of the victim’s syndrome are erroneous methods of raising children in the family, lack of trust and support, lack of attention and feelings of security.
Researchers suggest that the clearly mercenary bias of attribution is closely related to the fact that people want to protect their self-esteem and avoid a sense of vulnerability. However, when the results meet people's expectations, they explain them with personal achievements, and if they do not meet, external (uncontrolled) factors are set as the reason. And this is nothing more than a subconscious need to avoid duties and responsibilities, that is, a refusal to control something in your life and take active actions.
From the point of view of psychology, the causes of the victim’s syndrome lie in the immaturity of the personality (infantility), the formation of an inadequate assessment of the cause-effect relationships of behavior and actions, causing distorted emotional reactions and self-esteem, with an unconditional desire to feel good attitude towards others from others.
Thus, the victim syndrome in psychology is a manifestation of emotional instability or an increased tendency to experience negative emotions with general neuroticism and various psychotic manifestations.
In addition, the person’s tendency to blame others for everything and to pretend to be a victim of circumstances and ill-will can make the victim’s syndrome in relations with close people an instrument of manipulating them, which is a kind of moral reward for constant “suffering”. To illustrate such a case, one can cite the behavior of “victim” mothers, who often reproach children for underestimating their efforts and trying to “give children the best.”
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Symptoms of Victim Syndrome
The syndrome implies the existence of a whole complex of signs, and the symptoms of the victim’s syndrome can manifest themselves in a rather wide range of behavioral patterns, ways of thinking, as well as the nature of the utterances (“why me?”, “I did not deserve this,” “everyone is unfair to me,” “ nobody appreciates me ”, etc.). In this case, the first signs (most often invisible to outsiders) can appear even in childhood and adolescence.
The obvious manifestations of this condition in modern psychology include:
- blaming others for their own mistakes and failures,
- fixation on the negative and attribution of non-existent negative intentions to other people (by analogy with paranoia),
- egocentricity (a person is not able or does not want to consider the situation from the point of view of other people),
- pathological conviction that other people are more fortunate and happy,
- recognition by others
- frequent complaints (to anyone who is willing to listen) about everything, first of all, the lack of recognition,
- the desire to cause self-pity and the pleasure of self-pity or from others (as well as from stories about the shortcomings or failures of someone you know),
- unwillingness to take responsibility for their own actions and take any measures to improve the situation (this implies a fear of making any decisions, expressing one’s own opinion and feelings),
- exaggeration of the value or probability of possible negative consequences,
- Reliability (associated with the fear of disapproving of one’s actions or words),
- obstinacy and categorical refusal of any help,
- self-abasement with a simultaneous demand for the manifestation of love and respect.
In general, such people can be said: for them, a glass that is half full will be considered half empty.
The negative consequences and complications of the victim's syndrome can be physical, psychological or behavioral. Psychological feelings include vulnerability, anxiety, and helplessness, as well as a change in worldview that leads to phobias, uncontrolled panic attacks, generalized anxiety disorder, or a state of chronic depression (up to and including thoughts of suicide).
And depression affects many areas of human life, including interpersonal relationships and physical health. In addition to depressed mood, physical complications (psychosomatic symptoms) are manifested: changes in appetite and body weight, sleep problems, headaches, abdominal pain, more frequent colds (due to stressful changes in biochemical metabolism). Among behavioral complications, causeless irritability, hysteria, lack of interest in most types of activity, and a decrease in concentration of attention are noted.
Violence Victim Syndrome
There are main types of this syndrome, such as the syndrome of the victim of sexual violence, the syndrome of the victim of domestic violence in women, the syndrome of the victim in a child.
The syndrome of the victim of sexual violence - according to the degree of traumatic impact on the physical, behavioral and psychological level - Western psychotherapists compare with post-traumatic stress disorder of the participants in the hostilities during the war. It is very important to note that the syndrome of the victim of sexual violence is not a mental disorder, but a natural reaction of a psychologically healthy person. Although very often a tendency to self-blame and self-flagellation, helplessness and nervousness develops, which leads to significant difficulties in establishing and maintaining intimate relationships (including fear of sex, sexual dysfunction, aggressiveness against the opposite sex, etc.), as well as various forms of self-destructive behavior and suicide attempts.
Also, the syndrome of a victim of violence as a mentally altered state is noted in women subjected to domestic physical violence by her husband. According to experts, this syndrome is a mental disorder, dangerous, primarily, which leads to psychological paralysis. Victims of domestic violence feel so helpless and so depressed that they see no way to get out of an abusive situation (experiencing irrational fear).
Many women with overt violence syndrome continue to hope that the abuser will stop hurting them and remain in the family. Moreover, if the offender tries to make amends and apologizes. Apologies (and other forms of “redress”) are accepted, and the next cycle of violence begins. What does this lead to? To the fact that the victim of violence, in the end, begins to consider himself guilty.
The child’s victim syndrome includes the victim’s syndrome of childhood bullying as a result of negative experiences with peers, for example, in school (expressed in low academic performance, difficulty concentrating, depression, anxiety, isolation). As well as the syndrome of physical violence in childhood (physical punishment by parents), which leads to stuttering, hysteria and aggressive behavior, including in adulthood - in relation to their own children.
Narcissus victim syndrome
When a person suffers from a serious narcissistic personality disorder, this can create real problems for his loved ones and form the so-called narcissus victim syndrome.
According to statistics, up to 75% of people with narcissistic disabilities are men. Therefore, most often the syndrome of the narcissus victim is experienced by dependent women who are trying to build personal relationships with a person who overstates a sense of self-worth and requires not just attention, but admiration and worship. Although the victims may be employees, children or friends of daffodils.
Most victims do not have the slightest idea of how they got into this situation, since in the early stages of a male-narcissistic relationship, they can be the embodiment of virtue. But in order to preserve his illusions and defend his imaginary superiority, narcissistic personalities emotionally exhausted their unsuspecting victims. And the thing complicates the fact that hypertrophic narcissism is rarely detected as a medical diagnosis and often goes unnoticed at home and at work. Although in the family such personalities behave despotically, harassing domestic and forcing them to live according to the rules established by them.
The narcissus victim syndrome can manifest itself with a whole set of symptoms associated with violence of a physical, mental, emotional or spiritual nature. So, victims of individuals with a narcissistic disorder are characterized by self-incrimination, a sense of shame and humiliation, they have learned to take responsibility for the behavior of a narcissistic partner, as they blame only themselves.
They stay with the person, thinking that they can change his behavior. Moreover, the narcissus victim syndrome manifests itself in the fact that - even with a choice - a false idea of the nobleness of suffering develops. And many can develop Stockholm syndrome, when there is a desire to support and protect the offender, despite all the negative experiences.
In this case, symptoms of narcissus victim syndrome may occur, such as feelings of depression and confusion, feelings of shame and humiliation, extreme anxiety, panic attacks and phobias, low self-esteem, insomnia, eating disorders, and the feeling that they are going crazy. Moreover, such people may seem “divorced” from their emotions, body or immediate environment (in psychology this condition is called derealization).
Obvious consequences and complications of the narcissus victim syndrome: victims do not realize their potential either in their personal lives or in the professional sphere, because they must always stand in the shadow of a narcissistic individual, not realizing why. And the daffodil will use any form of violence - without guilt, compassion and remorse - so that his needs are "served."
Victim Syndrome Treatment
Given the causes of the victim’s syndrome, you need to contact a therapist. After a thorough confidential conversation with a specialist, the main psychoemotional cause is identified (this is the diagnosis of the victim’s syndrome). By telling his story, a person helps himself to begin inner healing.
So the very first step to getting rid of the victim’s syndrome is to recognize the existence of the problem. And since the syndrome is not congenital, experts say that getting rid of it is possible (although there is no cure for this syndrome).
Psychologists recommend starting with a change in attitude towards oneself and others, as well as developing a habit of not engaging in self-deception. You need to have the courage to live differently: to learn how to answer for your decisions, actions and emotions yourself, not to look for those responsible, to be guided by logic rather than momentary emotions in assessing the behavior of others.
It is very important to learn not only to respect, but also to love yourself, and every person deserves it. Then there will be forces to say no to everything that does not suit you, and to do what gives positive, emotional comfort and joy.