My counselor asked me why didn’t I tell? At first I didn’t know, because I didn’t remember. To help me get in touch with my feelings he gave me a children’s coloring book about feelings to use. Color this page happy and what color is sad and so on then came the page “What would have happened if you had told?” Oh wow. Used almost every crayon in the crayon box trying to release the rage I felt. The page was destroyed and almost black. I took it back to the next session. My therapist glanced through the book, got to the page about what if I told. Stared at it for a few minutes then let me talk about. I talked and talked and talked and raged and raged, I did tell. More than once. However, I was told to stop lying, stop exaggerating and stop “playing the victim.” So what exactly was I accused of doing? Playing the victim. I noticed that the accusation is most often used when confronting abusers with their actions. I actually watched
It happened when my abuser did “play the victim” giving her version blaming and shaming me. It was a stunning performance until she peaked through her fingers when she covered her face sobbing, not a tear in sight and she was checking on our responses to her performance. After she peaked through her fingers it was everything I could do not to burst out laughing and start applauding at her performance. But the bottom line she did have bad things happen to her so why was her’s a performance and mine rejecting a real plea?
I looked for an article on victim mentality to share with someone else. I believe in sharing information and let people make up their own mind as to what is going on.
You can read the article for yourself, I will share my perspective on each point…
1. They believe the World is against them – Every word and every action is perceived as a slight or insult directed at them; the ultimate pessimist with a persecution complex. Sometimes accused of being paranoid that everyone is out to get them. In contrast, I like the line that Will Smith has in the movie Get Shorty, “If everyone really is out to get you are you still paranoid?”
I can’t think of this without sharing one of my favorite kid’s song.
2. They don’t assume responsibility. – This is a tricky one. We are taught the behavior of abusers belongs to the abuser. Which is true….where this gets slippery is the victim expects the abuser to change and fix the problem. They refuse to take the responsibility of resolving their own issues. My abusers may shove me down a dark hole but it is my responsibility to get myself out is the opposite of victim mentality.
3. They exaggerate their problems. – Making mountains out of mole hills or a storm in a tea cup. Making the problem much bigger than it is and using tears and emotional blackmail to manipulate the people around them. I liked the old TV show Dragnet…Friday explaining, “Just the facts, ma’am.” I was accused of this so often that I am meticulous about describing things in minute detail without hyperbola or flourish. My therapist pointed out I could make mole hills out of mountains. I also remind people that the worse thing that ever happened to you is the worst thing that every happened to you.
4. They feel everything bad happens to them. – These are the ones that could win the Ms Negativity award. Or my favorite comment to a judge that always complained about everything, they were called “Cynicism” in a suit. If something bad happens to someone else, something worse happened to them. You can barely talk to them because of the flow of negativity. Hard thing about this, when a person gets into counseling or finally recognizes their abuse, they want to talk and talk. To help counter act this, I limited most of my discussion of what happened to me to my therapist.
5. They never apologize. – This comes at a combination of everything is everyone else’s fault, they are the poor undeserving victim therefore, they have nothing to apologize for…the bad things in life are not their fault. They truly see no need to apologize since their entire construct of their life is other people are to blame. I’ve watched this kind of thinking in action. You know the conversation that starts out with the intent of communicating both needs and at the end of the conversation it is all your fault. Yup most people experienced this type of twisted thinking.
6. They feel sorry for themselves. – They can throw an amazing pity party and if people don’t immediately empathize and encourage them then it goes back to #1 everyone is against them. If I am throwing my own pity party, I stop, take a look at what I am involved with at the time and what need is being unmet.
7. They believe life is flawed. – Nothing happy ever happens to them. They want to be happy all of the time. To me, I believe the real error in thinking is the myth that Life is supposed to be perfect. Let’s face it, we are whirling wildly through space zipping around a giant gas ball that should it send out a solar flare in our direction we are toast. I like to remind myself that Earth is a testing ground not a country club.
8 They’re spiteful people. – No flaw or mistake is ever forgotten or forgiven. They bring up past mistake to humiliate and hurt or look for opportunity for petty acts of revenge. The will make sure every one is as miserable as they are.
The articles solution is a warning to stay away from these people.
My reason for sharing is a reminder to look for these things in myself and clean up my behavior when needed. Questions I can ask myself to check in:
Do I recognize the people that are reaching out to me in a positive way?
Am I taking responsibility for my life and making healthy corrections for better living?
Do I state a situation in a clear understandable fashion so that the issue can be addressed?
Do I recognize and share the good things in life?
Do I apologize when I lash out or accidentally hurt someone?
Do I celebrate living and look for opportunities to spread the joy?
Do I see how wonderful my life is and part of the beauty is created by the dark spaces?
Am I a person that other people would like to be around because of my kindness?