Posted by: Edward | August 15, 2008

Playing the Victim

The biggest roadblock to attracting what you want is if you indulge in the victim mentality. The victim is someone that dwells on what they don’t want. They abdicate their responsibility for their own lives and with it their power over it. They don’t live their lives, their lives happen to them. A result of holding this mindset is the never-ending search for people to blame for their suffering, for the cardinal sin is to blame the victim.

I want to stress that I’m not talking down people who have had horrible events in their lives but there is a distinct difference between a victim and survivor. The difference is found in the response to the experience. Imagine the best possible excuse to indulge in the victim mindset, say being a prisoner in a concentration camp. Here is a clear case of something done to people with obvious people to blame. However take the example of Viktor Frankl. He had his life’s work stripped from him, most of his friends and family were killed, suffering barely imaginable as a prisoner of the Nazis. But Frankl discovered that even here he had freedom. Even in the horror of the concentration camp he had the freedom to choose his response to the situation, his attitude. Even when he had the least control of his situation he focused his attention on that for which he could take responsibility rather than on what was being done to him or who was to blame.

Victimhood is not something that is done to you, it is how you choose to respond to your experiences. If the clearest cultural example of a “legitimate victim” can choose not to be a victim then what excuse do any of us have? We simply have to define our lives in terms of what we do not what happens to us.

The first difference you will notice if you break the victim habit is that your life will quickly seem more pleasant even if your circumstances haven’t changed at all. This is because for every bad occurrence the victim spends more time thinking about it and suffering from it than it took to happen. They extend it further with searching for who is to blame. The second factor is that it feels better when you focus on what you can do rather than what happened to you.

The more you concentrate on what you can do the less bad things will happen to you. You will be able to avoid or prevent many occurrences that would otherwise trouble you. I am not saying that getting out of the victim mindset will miraculously make your life perfect but there are few circumstances that will not be improved by improving your attitude.

One of the hardest things to understand when first tackling the victim complex is that no one can make you feel anything. You are the person that produces everything that you feel, no matter what you are reacting to. Admittedly, for most people these emotional reactions are not under their control but there is no way to bring them under your control as long as you are attributing them to outside forces. Detailed instructions on how to increase your emotional control are beyond the scope of this text but simply maintaining awareness that you are producing the emotions rather than someone else is a start. The more we realize that we are doing this to ourselves, the less we will add to it the poisons of blame and resentment. As we choose not to imbibe these poisons we also stop trying to make victims of others.

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  1. […] post by fenris23 and software by Elliott […]

  2. great post fenris.. i have a dozen or so people in mind who can, if they are willing, benefit a lot from the message here. what you’ve presented here is fresh and meaningfully alive.

    actually the first line confronted me regarding how i’ve been handling a significant relationship (and i thot she was playing the victim) thanks for the intel.


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