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17 September 2007


Larry Glover

At the risk of sounding a bit off the wall, and appreciating some company, I suggest there is a way to hear the phrase 'resilient victim' and have it make perfect sense. Most of us in fact probably know victims who, one way or another, just keep 'bouncing back' for more victimization; domestic abuse clinics are full of such.

Truth is, there is something in the human psyche that, once an identity or 'self' is created, we tend to seek its confirmation again and again; whether that particular identity serves our highest purpose and potentiality or not is often immaterial. This same dynamic functions in businesses and organizations, and in national policies too.

"Stay the course," and "This is how we do things here," are not just attitudes of persistence or determination. They can also be the resiliency of familiarity itself, of current beliefs and worldviews against challenging information. These attitudes, for example, are essentially the economic strategy that has resulted in cars with gas consumption mileages that do not reflect our national interests....

It is tempting and common to use the word(s) resilience and resiliency... in only their positive connotations. I suggest however, that all human psychological defense mechanisms are 'resilient' by nature, and that their nature often serves a self's short term homeostatic functions rather than our capacities for change and transformation. I also suggest that our models of resilience will become both more interesting and accurate as we integrate this 'shadow side' of resiliency into them.

So the phrase 'resilient victim,' in my mind does carry a certain kind of paradoxical sense, in the way that many businesses 'resiliently' become self-victims to strategies that once served them but that no longer do. Given the rapidity of change in our world however, I believe our challenges include the one of learning the skills and arts and technologies of transformation. Now that takes a different kind of resilience, something closer to that referenced in your recent post, Resiliency and Thriveability.

Thanks for the opportunity to comment. I am enjoying your blog, and I appreciated your response to my post, Resiliency Invitation and Challenge.

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