Playing the Victim Card

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The family of five had grim and sombre expressions as they waited in the corridor outside the Operation Theatre of the hospital. It was a major health crisis for them. The doctors assured that with medicines and care, the matriarch of the family would have a better quality of life.

Day after day, the children gave their mother best care and undivided attention which benefitted her immensely.

Soon they started seeing a change in her. With numerous friends and relatives dropping by, she started enjoying the sympathy talks and basked in the attention that was lavished on her. She bragged about her illness. She complained about everything and got into self-pity mode frequently. She constantly blamed other people or situations for feeling miserable. She refused to take up any responsibility even when she started getting better. If people told her to get active, she would either get hyper, “How dare you suggest that to me. You don’t know what I am going through” or get into victim mode, “I am in pain and nobody cares for me.”

Needless to say that this disturbed and drained the entire family.

These were the classic signs and symptoms of victim mentality.

Playing the victim actually gave her a lot of power: power to avoid responsibility, power to feel ‘righteously’ sad, power to avoid uncomfortable emotions which would always result in teary-weepy episodes and power to manipulate other people.

Dealing with a self-victimizing person is not an easy task. But it must be dealt with before the relationship with them turns toxic. The children got wiser from their experience and here’s what we can learn from them to tackle the victim mentality displayed by their mother.

  • Do not ignore the red flags. Though the family took action a bit later, but retrospectively they realized that the warning signs were all there from the beginning. They should not have been brushed under the carpet as a bad day or mood swings. Before the other person’s victim mentality starts to negatively impact your own life, it’s important to take action. Sit with the person and make them see the picture and work towards fixing it.

“As long as you feel like a victim, you are one.” – Morgan Freeman

  • Change the story. Help the person to be a survivor in their life story rather than a victim. A victim dwells in the past, a survivor lives in the present. A victim believes they’re helpless, a survivor takes back control over their life. Although the victim mentality is addictive, the survivor mentality is much more empowering in the long term. Change their focus from being self-absorbed to being interested in others. Help them realize the power of gratitude.

They say that victim mentality is a learned behavior, so it can be unlearnt too. Unlearning wasn’t easy but with patience and consistent efforts, my friend and her family fixed the negative attitude that was destroying their peace of mind and happiness.

Have you ever been stuck with someone with a victim mentality? How did you overcome it? Do share in the comments.

Linking this to #FridayReflections

Everyday Gyaan