Definition of Victim:
Let's take a look at the role of ‘victim’ in adult marriage/partnership relationships and will explain how to change the role from ‘victim’ to ‘survivor’.
Here are some examples of the behavior and thinking of a ‘victim’.
1. A ‘victim’ is someone who believes they have no control of their life
2. A ‘victim’ believes that he/she can do nothing right
3. A ‘victim’ believes that no-one really cares for them
4. A ‘victim’ is always negative
5. A ‘victim’ is waiting for someone to rescue them
6. A ‘victim’ puts pressure on their partner to make everything all-right for them
7. A ‘victim’ opts out of life
8. A ‘victim’ is fearful
9. A ‘victim’ is insecure
10. A ‘victim’ is usually depressed or anxious
11. A ‘victim’ feels under constant threat of something bad happening
12. A ‘victim’ sabotages positive thinking and behavior
13. A ‘victim’ is distrustful
14. A ‘victim’ waits for disasters to occur
15. A ‘victim’ will have emotional problems
16. A ‘victim’ may turn to drugs or alcohol as a means of escape
17. A ‘victim’ will be isolated from friends and family
18. A ‘victim’ will withdraw from real life
A ‘victim’ in a marriage/partnership relationship sucks and drinks the energy of his/her partner. A ‘victim’ is a ‘bloodsucker’ draining his/her partner of energy, enthusiasm and drive. The ‘victim’ is negative and/or can’t be bothered to do anything constructive for themselves so they rely on a partner or anyone else to give them what they want at any cost. A victim will surrender control of their life over to their partner in the hope that their partner will make everything all right. Being a ‘victim’ requires hard work on his/her part to stay the same in order to ensure that there is no change to their life. There is and there will not be any progression out of the ‘victim’ state until his/her partner stops doing things for them. A ‘victim’ has taken a long time to become this way and will be extremely reluctant to surrender the role. If you are living with a ‘victim’ or are a ‘victim’ yourself you will know that by opting out of responsibility and accountability you are, in effect, the controller of the relationship, albeit a negative controller.
To victimise someone is to persecute them. To victimise someone is to ‘pester’ them.
Slow and deliberate pestering can wear an individual down into an anxious/depressive state of mind. Pestering (nagging) is to persistently annoy someone into surrender. “When persecuting/victimising someone you are subjecting them to harassment designed to injure, grieve and afflict.”(Merriam-Webster)

Example of becoming a victim:

A lady I have counselled told me that she had tried, very hard, to mend her broken marriage with her husband. When they had separated she had moved out of the family home with her children and moved back to her mother’s home nearby. The couple were in touch, daily, and he visited her mother’s home every weekend to spend quality time with his children. The break-up, was eventually, accepted by both parties and they were both eager that the children would not suffer unduly by the split-up. During this time, on the weekend visits, they continued sleeping together and generally behaved as if they were still in a marriage. My patient was happy with this situation, as was her husband, as she wanted to reconcile with her him and give the marriage a second chance. He gave her all the signs that this is what he wanted also. This situation was to continue for some 18 months. As time moved on this lady began to realise that she had become a victim of her husband’s controlling behavior yet again. The weekend would begin with her welcoming him into her mum’s home on a Friday evening with a hearty meal, wine and the warmth of a loving family atmosphere.
The following day he would take the children on a day trip and she would never know whether she would be invited to ‘tag’ along. She always was invited eventually, but the question always hung in the air until the last possible moment when he, grudgingly, agreed to her coming along usually after a request from one of the children. Control. It was dawning on her that even when they had lived together permanently her views had never been taken into consideration. Indeed she told me that when the family would embark on a day trip she would not be allowed to suggest a place to visit. If she volunteered an opinion he would say quite curtly, “no-one is interested in where you want to go, your opinion in unimportant”. She also recalled being told whilst taking their newly born baby for a walk in the pram to keep her head down, as she walked along the road, as she was offending passers-by because she was so ugly. During the years she was married to him he had brainwashed her into believing that she was not up to much and “lucky to have met and married him”. Slow and persistent brainwashing had reduced her to believing she could make nothing of herself and her life and was, therefore, privileged and grateful to have him. She became a ‘victim’ because she did not have the confidence to stand up to her controlling husband.

This is an all too familiar story of how to become a ‘victim’.

Here are some examples of how a ‘victim’ reacts:

• The victim will believe that they are at their partner’s mercy
• The victim will smile when they want to cry
• The victim will pretend that everything is all-right
• The victim will tip-toe around their partner all the time (treading egg shells)
• The victim will do their partner’s bidding – no matter the consequence to themselves
• The victim will give-up on themselves
• The victim will experience suppressed anger and frustration
• The victim will become non-descript
• The victim will have a low self-esteem
• The victim will block out emotions
• The victim will believe they are unloved
• The victim will live their life flat-lining
• The victim will be depressed and/or anxious
• The victim will opt out of all responsibility and accountability preferring their partner to make decisions

"If you had a friend who talked to you like you sometimes talk to yourself, would you continue to hang around with that person?"
-- Rob Bremer
Here are some examples of positive responses a victim can choose to make on how to deal with a controller:

• Take control of you and your life
• Don’t be afraid to show your feelings. Learn when it is appropriate to do this
• Encourage open discussions, to enable you both to have a better understanding of each other’s point of view
• Realise you are never going to get it right so stop trying
• Be reasonable, flexible and fair in your responses – but know when enough is enough (you will know when this happens by the feeling in your gut that screams – stop)
• Treat yourself kindly
• Acknowledge how much you have achieved
• Don’t be afraid to recognise your needs, wants and desires – you have a right to them
• Accept that you ‘can’t have it all’ but make sure you ‘get some’
• Take charge of you and know that any change you want to achieve in your life is up to you

Author's Bio: 

'Lynda Bevan lives in a picturesque village in South Wales, United Kingdom. She is 60 years
of age, married for the third time, with three (adult) children. During her teens and early twenties she pursued and enjoyed acting and taught at local Youth Centres.

Her 20 year career has involved working, in the area of mental health, with the two major care agencies in the UK, Social Services and the National Health Service.

After the birth of her third child, and with her second marriage ending, she became employed by Social Services and climbed through the ranks to senior management level with some speed.

During her career with Social Services she developed a passion for counselling and psychotherapy and worked extensively with mental health patients, within the organisation, setting up counselling projects in the Primary |Health-care Setting to tackle the issue of doctors who referred patients, inappropriately, to Psychiatric Hospitals for therapy for events that arise in normal everyday life, i.e. divorce, anxiety, depression, bereavement, stress, loss of role. It was during this time that she became involved in marital/relationship counselling and, coincidentally, was experiencing difficulties within her own relationship. The experience of working in this environment, and her own relationship issues, enabled Lynda to be innovative; creating methods of coping and developing strategies that enabled her and, consequently, patients to live within their difficult relationships. These strategies were devised and offered to patients who had clearly identified that they did not want to separate or proceed with the divorce process.

After taking early retirement from Social Services, she became employed by the National Health Service, as a Counsellor in the Primary Health-Care Setting. During this 10 year period in her career she began using the strategies, she had developed, with patients who were referred for relationship counselling and who did not want to end their partnership/marriage. This strategy (10 step guide) has been used extensively over a 10 year period with impressive results.

Lynda has lectured on the PGCE Course at Swansea Business Institute teaching counselling skills to post-graduate students. She has also run workshops on self-development and psychodrama at Swansea University.

Lynda is presently employed as a Manager of a charity that provides services and supports people who are HIV positive or who have AIDS. She is also the Resident Relationship Counsellor on Swansea Sound Radio.