Victimization Symptoms were proposed by Frank Ochberg as a distinct subcategory of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is not formally recognized in diagnostic systems such as DSM or ICD, and includes the following:
- Shame: Deep embarrassment, often characterized as humiliation or mortification.
- Self-blame: Exaggerated feelings of responsibility for the traumatic event, with guilt and remorse, despite obvious evidence of innocence.
- Subjugation: Feeling belittled, dehumanized, lowered in dominance, and powerless as a direct result of the trauma.
- Morbid hatred: Obsessions of vengeance and preoccupation with hurting or humiliating the perpetrator, with or without outbursts of anger or rage.
- Paradoxical gratitude: Positive feelings toward the victimizer ranging from compassion to romantic love, including attachment but not necessarily identification. The feelings are usually experienced as ironic but profound gratitude for the gift of life from one who has demonstrated the will to kill. (Also known as pathological transference and/or Stockholm syndrome).
- Defilement: Feeling dirty, disgusted, disgusting, tainted, “like spoiled goods,” and in extreme cases, rotten and evil.
- Sexual inhibition: Loss of libido, reduced capacity for intimacy, more frequently associated with sexual assault.
- Resignation: A state of broken will or despair, often associated with repetitive victimization or prolonged exploitation, with markedly diminished interest in past or future.
- Second injury or second wound: Revictimization through participation in the criminal justice, health, mental health, and other systems.
- Socioeconomic status downward drift: Reduction of opportunity or life-style, and increased risk of repeat criminal victimization due to psychological, social, and vocational impairment.
- Ochberg F. M. Post-traumatic Therapy and Victims of Violence (Chapter 1) (1988)
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