America: Where Did We Go Wrong?

Being a victim when you’re not a victim is the way of our era. Everyone is a victim. Everyone wants you to feel sorry for them, and to give them a handout (verbally or materially) to compensate for their victimhood. We have an entire generation of snowflakes, many of whom can’t summon up the fortitude to move out of their childhood bedrooms, even when “free” college is offered.

Being a perpetual victim is incredibly bad for a society. But it’s just as bad for the individual who does it.

Consider the woman who blames everything on her husband. “I’m unhappy and it’s all his fault”. She might even blame all men. When you oversimplify in this way, it might feel like you’re being kind to yourself. But in reality you’re obstructing your ability to make course corrections. By refusing to admit you made mistakes, you can’t improve your life — ever. For example, “Why did I choose this man? How did I make improper excuses for him that I wouldn’t make again? What, if anything, might I have done to drive him away?” These are questions that self-victimizers will not ask. They do themselves no favors.

It’s similar when you have a bad boss. Or when you feel victimized by your kids. Or when you feel victimized by anyone or anything. Religious people sometimes say they feel victimized by God. “Why me?” I even hear agnostic or atheistic people ask this question. As a passing question, on occasion, it may be harmless. But as a usual way of thinking and reacting to life, it spells trouble. The very premise of “Why me?” is that “I got selected to be a victim. I drew the short straw. That’s not fair. That’s not right”. You learn to be angry and bitter. You do not learn how to rise above it and power out of it.

Our society is increasingly divided. We are, on the whole, an embarrassing mess. Most of us can agree on that much, if only that much. A society is only as strong and good as the individuals who comprise it. I saw all this coming twenty-five years ago. It’s not rocket science. Others could have seen it too, but they choose to evade or keep their heads in the sand. Or to conform, not make people mad, not rock the boat, and not be unpopular. That’s the problem right there.

I saw individualism, rationality and individual rights/responsibility pushed by the wayside. It has been going on a long time, but it probably escalated starting in the early 1990s. I saw therapists — mental health professionals charged with helping people become more psychologically healthy — turning people into victim-thinkers. I began writing about this way back in the early 1990s. I predicted that society would start to fall apart if we kept on this track, and kept implementing victim-think in schools, government, the corporate world and the like.

Was I wrong? Does thinking of yourself as primarily a victim really work out for you — or for the culture in which you live?

There’s always hope. But only if we change the way we think — and act.



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