Just One Too Many People Have the Science All Wrong
Do a search for the word victim on Medium. You will turn up dozens of articles that could potentially cure someone of his or her victim mentality. Having a so-called victim mentality is not only socially undesirable, it isn’t healthy for an individual in their emotional life for many reasons. So that would be a great outcome. I think we can all agree.
There is another potential outcome of the articles, however. They are over and over again, consistently written by people whose experiences with mental illness are not serious mental illness, but adjustment disorder they mistake for serious mental illness. They are written by people whose brush with poverty was during adulthood when it did not affect their brain development. These articles are not written by the portion of the population directly impacted by lead poisoning (not a small number of children in poverty).
There is something called the health-socioeconomic status (ses) gradient. This SES gradient is so well-known in health care it was one of the first correlations identified in health science. Poor people are sicker than people with more money. Researchers have identified hundreds of reasons why this is true.
A few of them are the so-called “fault” of the poor. That’s not me saying this. That’s American society saying this. They say poor people create poor health by eating badly, smoking, doing drugs or drinking alcohol. The relationship of the poor with each of these behaviors is far more complicated than the general public ever imagines it is. For one thing, they do not have the money to spend on these items.
But then pops up your statistics, and what you don’t see. Class becomes codified. Americans need to read books like White Trash by Nancy Isenberg. She explains how the United States imported the English class system, which correspondingly produces poor people, but underinvesting in people, and then we created an underclass of white poverty in the United States as well. Privilege reproduces itself because the children of deprivation go intergenerational. I am watching it happen with my own family. India just does it blatantly. They imported the English class system, too.
Only 12% of Americans experiences more than four Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACES, which are the identified traumas researchers focus on. It is not surprising that the Americans who experience ACES are more likely to be minorities. Once again, I do not see evidence that authors of “victim mentality” articles have been diagnosed with things like Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a mental illness that takes years to develop and just as many to treat.