|how.odious| Year Two: DAY EIGHTY-FOUR
2017 January 13 [Friday]
Victims’ Who Make Victims of Us All: Part 1 / X [unknown]
In some place, at some time, I [TK] had the following conversation with Jackie [JK] (whose name has been changed for obvious reasons, but if those reasons are ambiguous to you, then much about what I write is probably lost on you, which means, you probably don’t read this blog anyway, but no one does so what does it matter?):
After meeting for the first time a few days prior, while suffering through those first few awkward interactions, we [or perhaps it was only I] finally felt comfortable enough to speak more than an exchange of greetings.
TK: “So, do you like teaching here?”
JK: “It’s okay.”
TK: “How long have you been a teacher?”
JK: “I just renewed my contract for the second time, so I guess it’s been two years, going on three.”
TK: “Oh, wow! Have you always wanted to be a teacher?”
JK: “Ha, no. It’s just a job.”
TK: “Oh. But you’re basically fluent in English.”
JK: “Oh, yes. I’ve always wanted to speak many languages.”
TK: “Nice. Did you study English in school?”
JK: “No. I actually studied art.”
TK: “No way! I was an art major too!” Lame, I know.
JK: “How cool! We really have a lot in common.”
Note: We learned during our first small chat that, as Koreans [although I’m more technically American, but that’s a story for another time] we are both with white guys.
TK: “Yea. You seem like a good teacher. Do you wish you could teach art?”
JK: Chuckles. “Yes, of course. But when I was in school, my art teacher told me that I was bad at art. So, that’s why I’m not an artist, and that’s why I will never be an art teacher.”
TK: Baffled and unaware of what to say. “Oh. That’s too bad.”
JK: “Yea, she was so mean, and told me that I was so bad all the time. She failed me on all my projects. She only gave passing grades to the students she liked, and she didn’t like me.”
JK: “But you can’t really make money making art.”
TK: In an attempt to convey agreement, all I could muster was a “M’mmm.”
In some place, at some time, I [TK] had the following conversation with Katie [KT] (whose name has been changed for obvious reasons, yada yada):
After knowing each other for a little while, we met up for coffee.
KT: “How’s your book coming along? I wish I could do nothing all day.”
TK: Ouch. Why do I even hang out with you? “It’s good. Not as productive as I would like, but it’s like that sometimes. What’s new with you? How’s your job? Weren’t you thinking about quitting?”
KT: “Ugh. Yea, it totally sucks. I wish I could quit. I can’t though.”
TK: “Well, I’m proud of you for being diligent.”
KT: “No, I want to quit so bad, but Kevin [her husband, whose name is not Kevin] won’t let me.”
TK: “He makes good money though.” This is all speculative. No one knows for sure what Kevin even does for work, and he’s so vague about it, it’s hard to believe anything that comes out of his mouth.
KT: “Yea, but I have to make my own money.”
TK: “Oh, yea. I get that. I’m glad I at least make money from tutoring so that I don’t have to buy Evan presents with his own money.”
KT: “Yea. When we need to pay the bills, I give him my half.”
TK: “You keep your money separate?”
KT: “Yea. My money’s mine, and his money’s his. So then we split everything.”
Note: I recalled the time that we all went to lunch together as a foursome and Kevin said over his shoulder to Katie as we were all making our way to the cashier, “It’s okay. I’ll get this one.”
TK: Strange, “Oh. Well, I don’t mean to pry, but doesn’t this job pay you well? Like, it’s good money, right?”
KT: “Yea, I mean, we can pay all our bills, but there’s not much left after that.”
TK: Trying not to sound judgey, “Do you keep a budget?”
KT: “No. We try, but there’s not enough left over to make a budget with.”
TK: Confused and unwilling to explain the nature of budgeting to her, “So, you’re only here for the pay, and it’s good enough, but not great?”
KT: “Yea, of course. I mean, neither of us have rich parents, like other people, who can just buy a house for us. We have to pay rent.”
TK: Other people, what other people? This is the situation for the vast majority of people, right? Or am I missing something?, I think to myself, but then, not knowing exactly how to respond, respond, “Oh yea. I guess you really do need to work.”
KT: “Yea, I just need more money.”
TK: “A job that pays more?”
TK: “Oh, yea. Rent can be pretty steep.”
KT: “No, so that I don’t have to work.”
In some place, at some time, I [TK] had the following conversation with Alice [AC] (whose name has been, yada yada) and Heather [HR] who joins in later (whose name has also, yada yada):
After knowing each other for over two years, we connect after not seeing each other for over six months.
TK: “Hey! How are you? It’s been so long!”
AC: “Yea, it’s been too long.”
TK: “Yea, sorry I’ve been so busy lately.”
AC: “I saw that you published your book. Congrats.”
TK: Chuckles. “Ha, yea. It was stressful, but now it’s over. What have you been up to?”
AC: “Not much.”
TK: “Oh, really?”
AC: “Yea, I got a new job, but then I hated that job, so I quit.”
TK: “Oh, and how is that?”
AC: “It’s nice, but I have nothing to do.”
TK: “Oh. Isn’t it nice, though, to do nothing? I mean, I love it.”
AC: “Yea, but it gets lonely because all my friends are at work all day. And you write and stuff, so you don’t do nothing. I do nothing.”
TK: A slight pause. “You do?”
AC: After realizing what she just admitted. “I mean, I workout all the time.”
TK: No, you don’t, and if you saw her yourself, you’d think the same thing. “Well that’s good at least, right?”
HR: After overhearing us and interjecting herself, “Ugh, Koreans have like super metabolisms.”
TK: I look around the room, and the Koreans in my presence do not exactly fit that profile. “What?”
HR: “Like, Koreans eat so much and they never gain weight.”
AC: “That’s because they secretly workout. Girls will like workout every day and then pretend like they can just eat whatever.”
TK: “Do they deny working out if you ask them?”
AC: “I don’t have to ask them. I can just tell.”
HR: “Oh yea. I never see Korean girls workout.”
TK: I agree; I’ve seen close to zero Korean females while working out outside, and I would know, I workout outside four-five days a week in areas where people [males] workout, so where would she see them unless she never sees a Korean female at her own gym? “Do you workout?”
HR: “Ewe. No. I mean, I’m active but no.”
AC: “I have to workout. If I don’t burn every calorie I eat, I’ll gain weight. So, I have to workout all the time.”
TK: To no avail, I think to myself [yes, I’m a bitch], and isn’t that sort of how weight gain works for everyone?
Recently, a particular personality trait has made itself known to me through the dozen or so interactions I’ve had with, you guessed it, one [yes, all of the above characters (aside from HR) are, in fact, the same person] particular person. A less-scientific term for this behavior is self-victimization (Weber, 2013). A more-scientific term is victim syndrome (Kets de Vries, 2012). The thing I’ve come to realize, however, after interacting with one of the most toxic people I’ve encountered [aside from the time I, unbeknownst to me when I was hired, worked for two hardcore scientologists], is that there’s something within this behavioral trait to be learned in relation to the way that people, nowadays, behave and interact online. Thus, I have begun the task of gathering research about this personality trait and psychological behavior so that I may understand what I perceive as a shift in general behavior as it pertains to social media and the interactions therein.
So far, I have an article, a research paper and an outline of a book about the topic of self-victimization. Obviously, there is much work to be done before I can even get a small glimpse of understanding so that I may, someday [hopefully] write about the behavior I notice. I am unwilling to merely blab my mouth about this and that and the other, and I am currently unable to write about this topic intelligibly and intelligently. More importantly, I am uninterested in writing about anything else right now. Thus, I will delve deep into this topic of psychology so that I can learn for myself what I am truly up against when I interact with those who self-victimize and make the lives around them so equally miserable.
*There’s no sunshine ahead for the self-victimizing type [sad-face emoji].
Kets de Vries, Manfred F.R. (2012). Faculty & research working paper: are you a victim of the victim syndrome? Fontainebleau, France: INSEAD.
Weber, J.P., PhD. (2013, December). Self-victimizing again?: there is relief for the persistently victimized. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/having-sex-wanting-intimacy/201312/self-victimizing-again.