• Hannah Telluselle

Victim and victimhood

Updated: Nov 4

One of the major things the self-help genre has been focused on, is ways for us to take ourselves out of victim mentality and feel empowered. It has been a way to reframe our stories in order to heal and to not fall prey to self-pity. While this has been proven quite beneficial for me too, it has also given me a tougher time to deal with having become an actual victim of offenses. Louse Hay, for example, argued that we are attracting the way we are treated by our own behavior, such as allowing offenses to happen, especially in our relationships. However, this would also imply that the offender is a victim him/herself, which by all means can be founded in feeling hurt or harmed, but this doesn't make us guilty, as in brought it onto ourselves. I have grown some opposition to this way of thinking, since I do believe people who have harmed me definitely should be held accountable and that I certainly didn't attract that willfully. Whether I have been weak in setting boundaries properly or was raised displaying victim mentality, doesn't give the offender the right to harm me. Many are those times when both myself and others have questioned why I attracted this or that into my own life - but I think that's a dangerous path to follow. Regardless of my state of being, what others do, have to be explained by them.

Examples of when I've been an actual victim includes having to flee Beirut with my parents on a visit right before the war broke out, threats against our family growing up, pickpocketed on the subway in Paris on my first trip abroad without my parents but with a friend, attempted rape on a date, workplace groping and being stalked by two different men, two decades apart. Why have I been stalked? I have no idea - because I haven't gotten married? What about asking him instead?


Being a victim doesn't constitute communicating or identifying with victim mentality. I think it's the other way around. By firmly holding another person accountable for his or her behavior toward me, towards another person, is a result of being empowered.

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