Self-victimization is a process where one’s mind goes from a single act of being victimized to consistently creating a sense of being a victim where there is no injury harm action or event. Self-victimization takes place in ones head and is a conditioned response to one or more perceived slights.
The ax is being held by your own hand against your own throat.
In the context of BDSM victimization is when a dominant abuses a submissive. The abuse can consist of a violation of consent in action, word or inaction. A violation of consent is a violation of trust and can destroy the bond and invalidate the contract.
Thinking that someone else is a victim is even more complicated. The assumption that what you see is exactly what presents is tempting, however, watching a person suffer needlessly is worse. In many cases a victim cannot or will not admit to the abuse out of fear. The fear can be of physical retribution or simply that they are so traumatized that they do not know that they are being abused.
Victims of long-term abuse rarely realize that they are being taken advantage of and rarely understand that the people that are “protecting” are making things worse.