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Victim Thinking

On a bad day most of us are prone to feeling victimised. “The whole world has it in for me”, “My partner just won’t change” etc. Whatever it may be, the conclusion is “I have to feel bad as I am powerless to do anything about it”. For many of us the belief that “I am powerless.” is triggered only in challenging circumstances. For others it can become a frequent default response. They feel like victims.

Psychologists often explain this default victim-type thinking: the child was coerced or bullied into believing that their own opinions and decisions were worthless; with underlying messages and commands, e.g. “You are worthless.”  “Be afraid.”  “Don’t think.” etc.

It is understandable that when people believe they are powerless, they often turn to blaming – themselves, their partner or the world in general. “I’m so useless.” or “Everybody is against me” or “My partner is always like this.”  The temporary satisfaction of blame and anger is comforting yet the underlying feeling of powerlessness will inevitably lead to depression.

Blaming (self-blame or otherwise) erodes relationships. Repeated illustrations of how the world is “always against me” or how “I’m so stupid” may bring partners to the rescue. But when blaming grinds on as a default response, others often get resentful and withdraw, especially if the blame comes their way.

Some Solutions for Victim-thinking:

If you wan to change from feeling like a victim, try some of these:

  • It’s time to stop being passive; YOU CAN do something.
  • Be open about wanting change; enlist your partner’s help; you cannot change without it impacting upon others around you.
  • Resist fixers: “I’ll do that for you.” “You just have to …” etc. Those people will have to change and give up rescuing you.
  • Seek your own solutions; be brave, do your own work in getting them done.
  • Accept praise. Frequently dismissing it pushes partners away and cements the narrative that you are undeserving.
  • Yoga, bodybuilding, martial arts – any bodywork for strength and control.
  • Work on your depression – with friends, partner or therapist.

Be persistent, very patient and kind with yourself; this is a long-term project!

You might also like:
Uncooperative Partner,

With thanks to:
Transactional Analysis and
Scripts People Live by C Steiner,
Getting the Love you Want by H Hendrix

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