Sunday, May 06, 2012

From Victim to Victimizer

It's so common:  the victim becomes a victimizer.

If you've read one of my recovery books, I shared a part of my childhood. Generally, it's a search for someone who can be counted on. When I became older, I resolved to be different. Ironically, this focus on "being unlike" the other has become a way of obsessing. The very problems I tried hard to avoid got ingrained in my subconscious (yes, therapists are not immune!). They eventually expressed themselves in my behavior or unguarded moments.

Scriptures speak of "multigenerational transmission of dysfunction." It's likely that abusive, addicted, or rigid parents learned their dysfunction from their own parents. And so on up the line. With this in mind, we realize the danger in examining the role that a dysfunctional family background can play in the development of personal psychopathology. This is one of the clearest examples of the biblical concept of "sins of the fathers" being carried from one generation to the next.

Until therapy is initiated, the legacy of victimization is apt to continue. Recovery involves a clean break from seeing oneself and responding to life's wounds. Indeed, the only way out points to a journey in psychological, emotional, and spiritual healing.

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