The Psychology of Victimhood with Dr. Ofer Zur – Emotional Pro

November 11th, 2006

11/9/2006 Thursday 9am to 10am Pacific Time
What’s happening in our society? Have you noticed that hardened criminals are throwing themselves on the mercy of the court, pleading that they had rotten childhoods that “made them do it”–and that the courts are listening? What has happened to good, old-fashioned responsibility? What is this willingness to support “victimhood” in our culture and in our Mental Health system doing to us as a society? If you want to know more about this, and what you might be able to do about it, listen to this show with Dr. Ofer Zur.
Segment 1: Fighting for the Title of “Victim”
Why do so many of us seek and accept the title of “victim”? Zur talks about the “perks and entitlements” of being a victim, the cultural forces that encourage “victimhood”, the role of a culture that seeks and values individual rights, and the role attorneys and psychotherapists play (and why) in encouraging people and segments of society to be victims.
Segment 2: Who Is and Is Not A Victim
Zur describes his “five levels of victims” in order to differentiate the level of responsibility we need to ask of people. He shares some “Stella Awards,” a dubious award presented for America’s most frivolous lawsuits, as examples of how our legal system supports people in being victims. Zur addresses the question: Is it necessary to remain a victim if you were victimized in childhood (when we are not to be held responsible); and what might it take, especially emotionally, to move away from being a victim?
Segment 3: What to Do, What to Do?
It’s like making a movie–everyone plays a role, whether victim, victimizer or bystander. Dr. Zur talks about the importance of getting past our phobias about “blaming the victim” so we can help victims learn about their own role in violent systems, enabling them to change that role. He suggests several things we can do, as a culture, in order to move away from our “culture of victimhood”.

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