Ruby was a victim.
When I wrote her, she hurt, she was real and I was depressed; however without invalidating real heartache one jot, I came to a realisation. Victims don't exist, except as a frame of mind.
In order to play the victim, it takes a whole society to reinforce the concept. Many times other people are not predators - only a few will be bullish and tell another person directly that they are useless or incompetent, although those few make enough noise about it to appear to be more prolific than they are. Mostly, good people jump to be providers, to reinforce their own sense of value by sympathising, cooing and oohing and volunteering to do things constantly for a 'less fortunate' person. That is still a way to tell the 'victim' that they can't stand on their own two feet, can't do for themselves.
Some 'victims' manipulate this for an easy life; arrange others to run around them to do it all, whilst they do nothing 'because'.
Some feel crushed by it all and believe the line that they are somehow less of a person than others, and live in torment. Some of those try to conform, feeling unable to reconcile their real, inner self with the outer one. The outer, conscious person can buy into the concept that their secret self is not good enough, even try to deny the existence of certain character traits, and end up living with self denial and self loathing, being their own harshest critic.
Some recognise that predator, provider and victim are roles that feed off each other; that each person in the triangle is in some way needy, that you can refuse to play. For them, their bodies or their circumstances may oblige them to accept help, but they become as useful and un-victim-like as they can, with their given talents and skills; and really that's all any of us can do. Its all about balance.
Give because someone asks, not because you feel you could resolve things better than them. Help, if you can, by teaching, by setting an example. Keep your dignity and allow the person you help to keep theirs.
Take cheerfully because what goes around comes around - take because you also give, and not because you feel the world owes you. Take learning above all else, because that equips you rather than simply bailing you out.
Watch your spiritual bank balance; don't shaft others, but don't stitch yourself up, either.
What about Ruby?
Wasted talents are a desperate sorrow. Ruby was on one path in life having fooled herself she could always skip to another. If she had made her choices carefully, made a considered and determined (and most importantly honest) choice every time; if she had lived her life without playing either victim, predator or provider, but simply by doing what was right, then she would have stored up self respect and a sure confidence that she spent herself wisely.
If you are bothered to read her story again, all along the line she fooled herself that 'it wasn't her fault', that she wasn't really making choices, but being herded along. She never decidedly took one path so much as agreeing to detour down it. She volunteered powerlessness.
However much you've messed up, it's never too late to start accepting your own responsibility for how things go from here on in; to start seeing the subtle power games that we all play; and if you can forgive yourself and those around you, then thats the source of a happier ending.
[Soap box back under the stairs now - off to work! xxxxxxxxxxxxx]