I was exceptionally touched by this post: –
Niall and I were almost bought up in different worlds, but with many parallels. Niall lost two brothers before he was 20, I lost my dad when I was seven and a brother when I was 12, Niall describes the losses as learning to live with a disability, I’d agree with this, although the loss of my dad affected me in a much more profound way, the emotional cost of losing my brother was greater, obviously it was so much more understood.
Niall speaks of his white, middle class, well educated background as being privileged. So I must look very odd when I consider my Irish, working class, single parent, inner city council estate, Comprehensive educated didn’t know what a degree is and left at 16, raised on benefits background as being privileged also. I am one of twelve children, one was stillborn, we lost Jim after a heart operation when I was 12, as I said, but my parents, and for the younger half of the family, my mum, raised us to aspire to be more. Not to want more, but to be more.
The parallels don’t end with the bereavements, I too was bullied as a child. I was a snivelling little runt who was as sporty as a lilo and cried easily. This too continued in my working life, into my 20s, it was a work friend who told me “take the ‘victim’ tattoo of your forehead and give as good as you get” that made me understand I was seen as a victim, someone whom oppressors would see as fair game. A change of job and the ditching of a few acquaintances saw a sea change in this area.
Again, as Niall speaks of, the wounds are there, the sorrows are there and in my case, the neuroses are there too. Being old enough to be Niall’s dad, I can assure him, that like the bereavements, you learn how to handle them, to file them away like you do your pension paperwork and insurance documents, and when they come out, it’s to utilise the lessons not experience the pain.
Niall’s words on victimhood hit this nail squarely on the head. One remains a victim when one wants to be, and it adopts a power. It adopts a power that’s utilised by making out the true victim to be the oppressor. Happily the vast majority are wise to this.
In the past I have seen myself as a victim of circumstance, now I see myself as a product of a privileged social and economic background that helps move people on, and that system is largely fueled by the middle class well educated, high earning gifted and talented stock who are so often seen as the oppressor.
Well not round my house they’re not.