Anyone that has ever suffered a hurt or a loss has been a victim. Probably all of us have been a victim at some time or another, even if we have come from healthy families we will all have been victimized by something or someone. But do you ever ask yourself honestly, am I an emotional victim?
If you have had flu and cannot go to a friend’s party, then you have been the victim of the flu bug; if you have been knocked off your bike by a car when cycling along the road, then you’ve been the victim of a road-traffic accident.
However, adopting the Victim Role is something quite different when answering the question am I an emotional victim or not? When we have been victimized over and over again throughout our childhoods we often take on the Victim Role. We don’t know it, but we wear this role like a mantle of helplessness and present to the outside world in such a way that leads to a reinforcement of the role.
Am I an emotional victim? You are when you:
- Justify your aggression against others by believing they deserve it.
- Refuse to take responsibility for your own happiness or misery – it’s the world that’s a bad place, and no one can truly be trusted.
- Find yourself in relationships where others mistreat you, so you can feel justified in your victim role.
- Nag, complain, harass, and beseech others until they give in to your demands.
- Commonly turn to the phrase, “You’re the only one who can help me.”
- Sometimes go to extremes to get revenge for perceived or actual abuse, like destroying your own property and falsely accusing someone else of being responsible.
- Provoking aggressive behaviour from others, but downplaying or ignoring your role in it.
- Feel anxious about the very idea that you can exert a positive influence over your own life without the support of others.
2 sides to the victim role:
Helpless, pitiful and powerless. We whine, complain and feel like we just can’t go on. We invite and manipulate others to take care of us and rescue us. We present as negative, lifeless, flat and depressed. The paradox is that when we are in this kind of Victim Role, we are very powerful and can control others to do everything they can to take care of us. It can be very powerful and very manipulative. In many cases it’s simply a matter of our not having learned any other way to be. What do I need to do in order to embrace this Role? I need to say to myself and others, “Yes, I am a victim. I have been a victim for many years.” It’s that easy. Once we truly admit it to ourselves and others, we will be able to do something about it because our true feelings will empower us.
This side can really fool us. It looks powerful and angry. In fact it is our raging, frightened, paranoid side. We want to get at everyone all of the time and want revenge right now.
We rage, strut about, spout off and blow steam out of our ears. We waste lots of energy and resources trying to get people to own up to how they wronged us. We always want to get even.
We demand that we be right. We demand that the world owes us a fair deal. We have a chip on our shoulder. But we would never admit that we were the victims.
People who are truly powerful in a healthy way know when to fight and when to let go and give in. When we are in our Victim Role, we will occasionally win some battles, but we will always lose the war – which in emotional terms means that our resources will be depleted, we will always feel angry and taken advantage of, we will never be able to let go of the little things in life that go wrong and will always have a chip on our shoulder. It also means that we will never get what we really want or need out of life, so will ultimately feel cheated and let down all the time – not a pleasant way to live.
To help identify the answer of am I an emotional victim or not, and therefore get out of the Victim Role, ask yourself the following questions and write down the answers very briefly.
People who become mired down and depressed in feeling victimized tend to view events in their lives as happening to them and feel ineffective and overwhelmed. They also operate on the basic assumption that the world should be fair, which is a child’s way of thinking. They tend to project the circumstances of their early childhood, where they were indeed helpless, onto present-day situations and relationships, and fail to recognize that, as adults, they have far more power than they had as children.
There are ways to shift from the victimized stance, characterized by passivity and behaviors based on negative power, to a more adult stance characterized by active coping and personal power
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