Almost daily, as therapist, we both deal with clients who have a common problem. They are in love with being a victim. This is not only a crippling position for relationships, but it is the epitome of a life that is stuck and sinking rapidly.
What is a victim? The easiest understanding of victim thinking is this: Who or what do you blame for the circumstances in your life? A victim will find outside people, places, or events to blame for their current problems or life trouble. A healthy, non-victim will realize that all life is simply a series of choices and our place in our life today is a result of choices we made yesterday.
A client presented a problem to us concerning a relationship she was having with a man she was dating for some time. She believed the problem was his request for her to spend more time with his family as they were a very important part of his life. She was an only child in a tremendously dysfunctional family, and had no desire to be involved in his “family” functions. This dilemma had been going on for months and was beginning to take a toll on the relationship. She felt that he was being way too dogmatic and was ruining her life and their future.
The victim thinking she presented was simply “He is wrong and is destroying my life.” Our position was, “you have made a choice to be with this man even though he clearly told you he wanted a close relationship with his family. It is your choice to stay with him and he is not ruining your life. Your choice is simply not one that fits into your expectations.”
As always, when we confront a victim with a sense of reality, the client has a tendency to dislike our input, and often responds with anger. Most victim thinkers will respond with anger if they are made to be accountable for their own lives. What is your thinking about your current (or past ) relationship? Are you blaming your partner for your discomfort, or do you take responsibility for your choices?
- He doesn’t seem to care about what I want. He makes me so angry.
- She is so demanding. No matter what I do it is not good enough. She make me unhappy.
- He is a slob and never picks up after himself. He drives me crazy.
Why are these victim thoughts – because no person can make us feel or act in ways that are negative unless we allow them to do it. If the person is doing something I don’t like, then I have a choice. If I stay in the relationship, then I better just get used to the thing I don’t like. If I really can’t stand it, then make a choice to get out of the relationship, but don’t blame them for your emotions. It is simply your choice. The choices we made yesterday provide the life we experience today.
Let us know what you think about this, but don’t get angry, that is how a victim would react, and you don’t want to be a victim. Dr. Jan and Dr. T
One of my books, Off The Hook, explores this type of choice and the difficulties of not playing “Victim” in daily life. Click here to see more information.