#3 – Victimhood, Responsibility and Choice with Dr. Dave


It would be the rare young person who has not faced the humiliation of bullying at some point in his or her growing up. I let my hair down in this episode by sharing a somewhat traumatic experience that transpired my first year away at college. And, I describe how I was able to move from a sense of victimhood to empowerment by reframing the incident.
The story emerges in the course of a phone conversation with my old friend Jerry Trumbule of Denver, Colorado. He was present at the incident we discuss, and even admits to playing a role in precipitating it.

Jerry and I have led remarkably parallel lives. We met during our freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania and hit it off immediately. We were both there on scholarship. We both won scholarships through the U.S. Navy (but I didn’t accept mine). We both began in electrical engineering. Independantly, we both switched out of engineering into creative writing. Circumstances forced Jerry to leave Penn after his freshman year but we stayed in contact. Independently, we both ended up getting M.A. degrees in psychology and later getting into doctoral psychology programs– me at the University of Michigan and him back at the University of Pennsylvania. We did diverge inasmuch as I studied clinical psychology and he was into physiological psychology. There have been other parallels since those days but I won’t burden you with them. This background may help you to understand the comfort with one another that you will hear in the recorded phone conversation.



  1. honeyrococo
    Posted December 5, 2008 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    (I originally was going to just mail this to you, then I decided to post it here…that’s why I describe the show instead of just responding to it here…)

    Hola David,

    I just listened to a very old show wherein you recorded a conversation you had with Jerry about a fight at a Pizza place (Here’s the other cheek story). At some point near the end you describe your experience with (LifeStream? I forget the name although I am pretty sure I know which group you are speaking about, I will call them LifeStream here…) where you take responsibility for your role in instigating the whole attack.

    May I just call bullsh-t on this philosophy? You did not do anything to instigate the attack. Looking at another human being is not a challenge to a duel. And it gives you no power to take responsibility for such a thing! You had your basic run-of-the-mill encounter with an assh01e. This is known to happen in life. Your pithy affective comeback was the best you could have done.

    Let me tell you about LifeStream. When I was living in Miami Beach, and later, When I was living in Idaho I had friends that fell in with that whacky multi-level marketing cult. I had a friend who was a manager of a boutique. One day I was working there part time and I was sweeping the floor. My previously quite normal friend came over to me and told me that if I was going to sweep the floor I should put my whole being into sweeping the floor – “If you are going to pick your nose, put everything you have into picking your nose.” Egads.

    Later, in Idaho, I had an acquaintance who spent thousands of dollars on LifeStream workshop weekends. Each week it cost a little bit more unless she could bring someone into the fold. She did her damnedest to separate me from my filthy American lucre. It was like she was emotionally addicted to the post-workshop high. Then she would crash and become depressed until she had enough money to go back. It is a complete scam. They basically use mind-control techniques – make people attend workshops for days at a time, sleep-deprive them, make them confront their issues of trust through role-playing etc. and run all this human empowerment movement meets MKULTRA stuff on them. Making you take responsibility for the fact that some bully jock attacked you was probably part of the ploy to put you into a submissive position so they could sucker you more.

    What do you think when you hear a woman say this?:

    “He only hits me when I deserve it.”

    Of course that doesn’t sound right to you, and it shouldn’t, but that is basically the position you decided to take via LifeStream. Do you think a woman uttering those words is taking back some of her power? Well then why do you think that is works for a man?

    That’s all.

  2. honeyrococo
    Posted December 5, 2008 at 3:33 am | Permalink

    Actually, by “just listened to it” I meant “last week”. That’s why I don’t remember things exactly…

  3. Aly
    Posted May 23, 2015 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t listened to this yet, but I saw honeyrococo’s comments before I did, and now I’m not so sure I want to.

    When someone attacks you at all for any reason, that is HIS/HER choice, not yours. Attacking another is never okay, especially physically, regardless of what they did/said to you (excepting in defense of yourself or another).

    It’s not my fault that I was abused. It’s not my fault I was raped. It’s not my fault I was bullied in school. Perhaps I could have done things differently, including but not limited to getting away from that negativity earlier. But that was NOT my fault.

    Such a small case of bullying as described is not as severe, perhaps, (or just not *considered* severe) as rape or abuse. But the fact remains the same: the person attacking you is just as responsible for his/her own actions as you are, and it is never ever your fault when someone else attacks you.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *