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  • Melissa

In the Victim Seat

Updated: Apr 11, 2022




“I caught you victimizing yourself,” is not what my therapist said.


Just… in a very vague, gentle way, I think she was trying to make me come to that realization. Of course I defended myself when I as much as sniffed anything slightly, erm, constructive, in her words.


But it’s many hours later, and suddenly I realize. I am acting like a victim, digging into the depths of what my childhood did to me, and sitting right there without budging. Exploring it deeper, deeper, from every angle, in every aspect, and saying: This is me. I was Neglected. I was Hurt.

Dwelling on it. And perhaps, if I want to be brutally honest, using it as an excuse not to dust my skirt off and get up.


Come to think of it, so many books focusing on emotional neglect and childhood adversities seem to encourage victimhood. There’s a certain vibe of having been wronged. Having been cheated out of what we deserved.

Am I letting it all seep in a bit more than I must? Am I taking it a step too far?


Not all that long ago, I didn’t think there was anything all that wrong with the way I was raised.

I sat firmly on the minimization seat of the seesaw weighing it down to the ground.

My childhood? I got away with murder. I grew up in a regular, functional house. Not perfect; no one is perfect, but just regular. My parents are good people (they are!!). I never had any adverse experiences. People have it so much worse. This? Is this what you call childhood issues? My pain is coming from nowhere. I’m just a girl who has no reason to be this depressed or empty.


Over the course of many months (I can almost say years) denial was slowly peeled back layer by painful layer. I started crawling down the continuum, on the bar of that seesaw, and wham! Here I am, in the victim seat, weighing it down to the ground. And I’m making myself comfortable there.

I’m broken, I say. I’m not whole. I was raised in a way that made me defective. Look at poor me. I didn’t get what I deserved. World, just look! Who can fix me?


But hey, I don’t want to be here.

I don’t want to minimize my past.

But I don’t want to victimize myself either.


But there are only two seats on this teeter-totter!

And every time I move, the entire thing pivots.


Is there something with which I can prop up those two seats (a stack of my therapy books, perhaps?) to get some semblance of balance in this journey toward healing?

Is there even a golden middle on this minimization victimization continuum?



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