Everyone has played the victim at some point in their lives. It’s what we do as kids. Certain people never grow out of it. As a teacher, my student’s play the victim all the time. Some more than others. If someone gets in trouble for talking to someone, they tell me, “she was talking too.” Instead of saying sorry teacher, they put the blame on the other person. Of course, this is a very basic form of playing the victim. I have found from personal experience there are many more different ways it presents itself. Here are the 6 I have seen.
1. Doesn’t Take Responsibility, Blames Others
This is probably the most common form I have seen. It’s when the person blames someone else so they don’t have to take responsibility for their mistakes or problems. I have done this many times. I had a rough week at work because I didn’t finish my lesson planning on time. I blamed it on the internet not working (which it wasn’t working) instead of just saying “hey, I overbooked myself this week. I am sorry.” I could have lesson planned earlier in the week when I normally do instead of waiting until the last minute. Things happen and we make mistakes. It is okay. How we handle those mistakes shows us if we are “the victim” or not. I played the victim by not taking responsibility for the fact I waited until the last minute. The internet here is unpredictable and I have known this. If I had done the work on Tuesday, like I do every week it would have been done.
It can be hard to admit situations like this because it can affect the ego or make you look bad. It takes courage and strength to admit you were in the wrong. It is easier and less “painful” to blame it on external situations, like the internet not working. I think some people use this as a way not justify why they broke the rules or did the things they did. It takes time to learn how to be honest and take responsibility for your actions. It does start with one situation at a time.
2. Holds Grudges, No Forgiveness
When someone doesn’t forgive or let things go it can cause anger and resent to be present. This hurts you more than anyone. It has an effect on those around you because you tend to push them away. The only people I have held grudges against was my mom and dad. It took me a really long time to forgive and understand the things they did when I was little. As I began to look within myself, I began to see that they did the best they could with what they had. I hated my father for not letting me express myself in the ways I wanted too. I hated him for not allowing me to chose the clothes I wanted. I had a grudge towards my mom for giving my sister more attention and money than me. I hated my mom for taking the side of my ex husband during my divorce. It took some time to be able to let those things go. I had to yell and scream at my father. I had to disown my mother. All during that time, I worked on myself so I could be the person I wanted to be regardless of their actions.
This is not easy. It is probably one of the hardest things to do, to forgive and let go. It takes time to truly understand deeply what this does to our lives. Of course, you need to protect yourself. It is a two way street. If you forgive someone and they don’t grow with you, maybe it’s time to walk away. Forgiveness is for your own peace. You can forgive and walk away if you need to. I have forgiven people and left the relationship. I forgave my mother and father. The relationship with them changed for the better, allowing us to have the relationship we have now. Even if you forgive and leave the person, you still have a peace inside you. That is the most important: being at peace.
3. Doesn’t Trust Others, Everyone is Against Them
This one doesn’t always appear in people who play the victim. It does show frequently though. When you play the victim you are constantly thinking that people are doing things on purpose and trying to make you miserable. It makes logical sense that a “victim” would not trust others. With my job, I have issues with my boss sometimes (don’t we all). There are others that have issues with her much more than I do. I believe part of this is because they think it is all because of our boss. My boss is not perfect and part of her personality drives me insane. I have learned to go with it. To stay in my lane and follow the rules. If I follow the rules whether I like them or not, she leaves me alone. I don’t think she is out to fire me or get me in trouble because I do what I am supposed to do. And when I don’t do what is required of me, I take responsibility for it (this was not always the case, I just learned this a few months ago). Others have been written up for not following the rules, then go and blame her for the problem. They take it personally and believe she is against them.
I have found that if you take responsibility for your actions and consequences people will trust you more. You have to be willing to trust others first. People don’t trust you if you don’t trust them. I confronted my boss about the issues I was having with her. The meeting did not go well at all. She wrote me up from confronting her. I left feeling like she is against me and doesn’t care. Since I felt unsettled about the meeting, I took a good look at myself. I took responsibility for my part of the “failed” meeting and apologized. In the end, the write up never went into my file. She and I also communicate much better now.
4. Argues Quickly and Easily
People that play the victim will argue over everything. They feel it is not their fault and other people are wrong. This causes them to argue and debate every situation because it doesn’t suit their needs or wants. I know I have done this in the past and sometimes now. I am working on listening before I speak. It is a hard thing to do. Not every feeling of disappointment or hurt requires an argument. This weekend I argued with my boyfriend over cleaning. It was his weekend to clean and he didn’t do it when I wanted him to do it. I felt like the victim and started an argument. The argument went nowhere because I had no real merit for my anger.
When we stop playing the victim we don’t argue about every little thing that bothers us. We tend to examine the situation and have a different reaction that doesn’t always lead to a fight. Allowing ourselves to acknowledge we may be wrong or we may be overreacting creates space for us to not be the victim.
5. Their Life is Lacking, Nothing is Good Enough
They tend to blame their lack of something on other things. An example would be that they are stressed about money yet they are the ones that made the decision to quit a job or spend money they don’t have. A lot of women blame their loneliness on the fact that men are worthless and horrible. My question is what are these people doing to cause themselves to not have the money or attract a good man? We attract what we want by the energy we put out. If you are always playing the victim you will never be able to appreciate a good thing when you have it.
I used to blame my failed marriage on my ex-husband. It was his fault that we got divorced. He didn’t try and he cheated. I lacked a good marriage because he was incapable of being the husband I needed. However, after some deep consideration, I realized that it was my fault too. I was controlling and quite frankly a bitch. I can’t expect to have a fantastic relationship when I am a controlling bitch.
Our lives lack certain things because of our energy or attitude towards certain situations. Now, there are people who actually are lacking because of external circumstances. That is why we have
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