Victim or Volunteer : Part 2



The devaluation. People often regard this as one complete stage that follows the glorious seduction of the golden period. It is in fact made up of two parts. First comes the stranger period. It is so called because to you it seems like you are dealing with somebody completely different to the person that you know and love.

This is when the transition occurs between the seduction and the insidious abuse that is just around the corner. This stranger period should be regarded as the calm before the storm and if you are among the few who recognise it when it happens it is a clear signal to you to get out. Most do not of course recognise it.

They perhaps see it as the relationship moving beyond the honeymoon period and since there is no horrible treatment per se, they do not realise that the stranger period (which is still a stark contrast to the golden period) is in actual fact a warning. The stranger period is at the beginning of the period of devaluation and is a clear marker that there are far worse times ahead.

You are unlikely to query this shift from golden period to the stranger period in any great detail. Should you have done so? Should you have paid greater attention to us (just as we always have demanded)? Should you have wondered why we did not answer your telephone call with the enthusiasm that we once did? Ought you to have questioned why we seemed less interested in doing things with you? Did you see it and put it down to us being tired?

Maybe you just thought it was because we had had a rough day at work? You asked if we were okay and we assured you that we were, but there was no conviction in our responses. They were flat and other worldly but you did not press any further. Why not? Perhaps you should have done?

Perhaps if you had done so you would have taken greater heed of what it was signifying or was it asking too much of you to realise that was coming? Nobody has any idea of what this stranger period signifies when they first encounte it so why would you be any different? Perhaps the view that you failed to heed this warning is a harsh one?

What then of the devaluation proper when the darkness descended and the abuse came? Of course it is the false default setting of our kind that everything is your fault. That is the way that we have been created. That is the way that we conduct ourselves in order to protect our fragility from criticism.

We must project, blame-shift and remain unaccountable whilst ensuring that you are regarded as culpable, liable and blameworthy. It is part of the matrix of control that we deem necessary to apply against you. Yet, if one strips away this all too readily applied blame what then? Would the objective observer reach the conclusion of victim or volunteer? What do you think? Do not think that this is one of our standard exercises of attributing blame, I have already conceded that such blame-shifting is one of our key manipulations, but I am lifting that usual approach and posing the question as to whether during devaluation you might be regarded as a victim or volunteer?

The first time we doled out a silent treatment which lasted a day? Should you have known then what you were dealing with and distanced yourself? Is that unrealistic? What about when there was the second period of being frozen out? Or the third? Maybe not after those, after all, you dealt with them didn’t you? Perhaps you ought to have realised when we lost our temper with you?

When those savage words and insults were shouted at you? That is emotional violence. That is abusive. Why did you not walk away then? You stayed. Could it then be argued you volunteered for more dressings down? How about when we began to gaslight you? We toyed with your reality, confusing and bewildering? Did you recognise what was going on? But you are clever, resourceful and independent, surely you knew what was happening? Besides, this was taking place alongside the shouting matches and the cold shoulders.

Surely the alarm bells were ringing now weren’t they? Did you hear them and ignore them or did you just not hear them? What about the times we took your car without asking? Ate the food you had set aside? Stopped you sleeping properly by elbowing you all night? What about the repeated stopping out late and the flirtation with other women? Surely you noticed all of that, in fact we know you did, because we made sure you did so to enable us to get our precious fuel. So, you experienced all of this and you still stayed. Does that make you a volunteer as the abuse continued?

What about the first time we shoved you back during an argument? No? How about the second time when that shove sent you into a wall and you banged your head? No? Surely when that first slap stung your cheek, then you must have realised what was happening and yet you stayed after that.

Does that make you no longer a victim but a volunteer instead? Of course nobody ever asks to be treated that way. You are not volunteers in that sense but given you realised that certain behaviours towards you were wrong, unpleasant and downright nasty, you obviously spotted them so why did you remain and allow yourself to be subjected to even more?

You are your own person, surely, you should have realised and walked away? You might refer to not being able to because of money, housing, accommodation and children. Perhaps they are considerations but when pitted against your own safety and sanity, which should be protected first?

Accordingly, reflecting on all that happened to you, the repeated manipulative and abusive behaviours which were never isolated examples but rather repeated and increasing violations against you, could it be said that you were a victim or did you in fact volunteer by remaining in the firing line? I would welcome your observations.

Putting aside my usual blaming behaviours I would offer you this conclusion. To volunteer is to be able to exercise a degree of decision-making and control over your own person. You were never allowed that control.

We took it.

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5 thoughts on “Victim or Volunteer : Part 2

  1. WiserNow says:

    In this very moment, I feel like a victim of political correctness gone mad!

    I need to vent my frustration and disbelief about the Wordle game found on

    Following my daily minute or two playing this site’s Wordle, today I happened to enter the word ‘slave’ in the second or third row of a game, which to my mind is a perfectly valid five-letter word.

    In response, the Wordle grid did it’s little disapproving shake and responded with “Not in the word list.”


    If that’s the way the organisers of this site want to play the game, then they should also remove the words SMART, SENSE, VALID, LEARN and TEACH from their ridiculous word list.

    1. annaamel says:

      I have the NYT (original wordle slave and

    2. annaamel says:

      Mucked that up… The nyt wordle accepts slave. (Just tried it). I think the version you are using may be from non English origin (based on the site explanations) so maybe their data base of words is incomplete. I believe wordle (the official one) does censor words at times, for short periods, when something relevant and significant is going on. Then those words are returned into the mix.

      1. WiserNow says:

        Thanks for your comments annaamel. I’m not sure how I found that particular wordle website and I didn’t look into its origins. I don’t think I’ve used the nyt version – I’ll look it up and see what that one’s like.

        You have looked at the wordle websites with a more forensic approach to find their origins and possible locations in relation to the censoring of words. Thank you for doing that.

        There may be specific rational reasons for censoring words, particularly at certain times and in certain places. It makes me wonder though, why words are considered worthy of censorship while graphic violence in other ‘games’ has been acceptable for decades.

        The debates over depictions of graphic violence in computer games have been ongoing despite countless scientific studies that find violence in games aimed at children and adolescents does actually increase aggressive thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

        Why are words censored while graphic scenes of people being tortured or killed are acceptable?

        In the case of Wordle games, the aim of the game is not violence or aggression in order to defeat an opponent. It’s a case of using the alphabet and your knowledge of the English vocabulary. As such, there is no direct link in Wordle to things like violence, racism, or other inflammatory behaviours.

        This is what makes me think it’s political correctness gone mad. There is no real basis for censoring valid words that are not vulgar or derogatory in themselves. The objection to such words is based on a spurious link to ‘negative’ connotations due to irrational emotional reactions to particular sentiments the words invoke. The words themselves are like labels that define rather than inflame.

        Also, if someone who is learning English or is not a native English speaker is playing the game, the censoring of words is illogical and confusing.

        Thank you again for your comment annaamel. Please know that I am not ‘venting’ at you, but rather expressing my views about the censoring of words in Wordle games.

  2. Gina says:

    I had heard that when someone is physically harmful to another that they never change. When he hit me, I began my plan to leave and I did. I still really liked him, enjoyed so many things with him, but I knew he was dangerous. It was heartbreaking to lose the wonderful part of it. I missed him for a long time. Or at least I missed the times we had together that I had enjoyed beyond expectation.

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Victim or Volunteer? Part One