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“Vile” is an adjective used to describe. Some of the definitions for vile can include: wretched, bad, repulsive, morally debased, depraved, despicable, or foul. “Vile” is closely related to violent, villain, and vilify. When something is violent it could be described as vile. When someone is violent, they could be described as a villain. When someone does something violent, we vilify them, casting them as a villain, a vile one, and their actions as a form of violence. Villainizing someone makes them vile, which casts them as someone below our considerations. Without trained compassion or empathy we don’t consider the history of someone who we characterize as a villain. Rightly, most of our consideration goes to the victims of violence, the ones who are harmed by someone villainous. Being the victim of vile, violent action is traumatizing. However, research shows, being the villain, that is, being someone who is violent toward others, can be traumatizing as well.

Tonic, a blog of Vice, reports on a British study which examined the connection between members of gangs, violence in their lives, and mental health. Gang members are villainized due to their close relationship with violence. Initiation into gangs often includes violent acts. Additionally, sustaining membership in a gang can include violence as well. Anxiety, depression, and substance abuse were found more commonly among men in gangs than men who did not commit violence in their lives. Interestingly, the study found that gang members had a high rate of antisocial personality disorder. The article cites that a criteria for diagnosing antisocial personality disorder is experiencing violence before age 15. Many of these men likely suffer from PTSD. Antisocial personality disorder is not the same as psychopathy, though individuals with antisocial personality disorder can lack empathy, it is psychopathy that truly lacks emotion. For men, or women, who commit violent acts, PTSD is a probable result of their experience. Violence is traumatizing whether it is happening to someone, or if someone is perpetrating the violence. People who have to violently protect themselves or defend themselves can experience trauma, without being vilified. Having a complex understanding of who trauma affects and why can open our ability to have more compassion for the violent struggles people face in their lives.

If you or someone you know has endured violence and are struggling with trauma please know, you are not alone. Healing is possible through trauma specific treatment and customized care. Everyone has a story when they come to treatment. Everyone’s story can be changed. Call The Guest House Ocala today for information on our private trauma treatment programs and our proven care for addictions as well as related mental health issues: 1-855-483-7800