I reviewed a book in 2013 about The Saint Benedict Center, a Feenyite (renegade Catholic with old-fashioned trappings) group in rural NH.  I link back to it now because they very much believe that they are victims, and victimhood is in the air more than ever at present.  I believed as I wrote it that much of what I said then had general applicability, and rereading it today, I still think that.

Longtime readers might recognise that this last point is of particular importance to me. The more deeply pathological people are, the more they are certain that absolutely none of the fault is against their score. Ultimately, it is the perpetual victimhood of criminals and narcissists, that cannot allow there is even a 1% chance they are 1% wrong. Stalin, as an example, believed he was the victim of the starving Ukrainian peasants, who wanted so desperately to discredit him that they would even starve themselves to death rather than admit his enforcement of collectivisation was a better idea. Hitler did not see himself as a an aggressor, but as a lone defender against the worldwide Jewish conspiracy. SBC is orders of magnitude less pathological, certainly, but the tone is the same. That they did not live up to their permit agreements, that they repeatedly moved beyond what was allowed even as they promised not to, that they made insulting comments about their neighbors, these things are never mentioned. It’s all those others against them.

It is related to paranoia, and the genesis is similar. The feeling of victimhood comes first, like the paranoid interpretation, and then goes looking for an explanation that validates it. They are first driven by the whine, not the divine. Victimhood is a pose of weakness that is actually a cover for inordinate retribution. Being thin-skinned and attuned to small sleights and being “disrespected” is a prelude for revenge. We have all heard guys who say, “I’m not looking for a fight, but if anyone messes with me…” Yeah, dude, you’re looking for a fight.

As this was a several years ago and I had paid them no further mind I did wonder if they had mellowed, as I don’t like to kick folks unfairly. I looked them up again. I suppose they might have mellowed, but it isn’t showing in their online presence.  They are still out of communion with the Roman Catholic Church and claiming they are right and the others are all wrong.  Seldom a good sign.

BTW, Sgt Mom gets a good mention in the comments of the 2013 post. Solid things last, i suppose.

6 thoughts on “Victimhood”

  1. LOL. Populist catholiscism. Who’d have guessed it? In my experience its charismatic narcissists that produce these types of excursions. They take over what’s there, and use it to validate themselves. So yeah, victim-hood is built in. ;)

  2. Reminds me of the old hypothetical, “How would you rule the world?”
    People half-joke about being a “benevolent dictator” and I remind them that all dictators consider themselves benevolent.

  3. The Mormons made themselves exceedingly unwelcome in Missouri and Illinois over more than building and zoning codes. If you talk to a Mormon about the episodes that preceded the migration to the the Salt Lake, they still lack a certain distance and perspective.

    I can recall any number of other incidents that follow much the same course, it’s almost universal when dealing with cults of one sort or another. The certainty that they are being persecuted for their beliefs rather than creating a hazard is also universal. They confuse freedom of expression with freedom from accountability.

    Of course they still think they’re right, wouldn’t be much point otherwise.

  4. @ MCS – True of all of us, but doubly so of cults and those who depend on victimhood. There is a wonderful section in CS Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters (Letter III, Point 4) that all of us expect to be taken at minimal value for subtext with what we say, while retaining hope of maximum damage from what we imply. “All I said was…and she took it as…” So too with all of us arguing for a side. We gloss over the faults of our own group while exaggerating the faults of the other.

    Yet this is not all just a wash. We all want to frame things to our advantage, certainly, but some of us have perspective and distance and are able to step back and see why others might perceive things in different terms and try to answer that from some approach to objectivity.

    Thanks for the reminder. I have had a thought in the back of my mind over the last three weeks and your comment reminds me of it. I will post it at my own site, and will likely repost it here.

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