Many people think they are entitled to good treatment. The truth is that they are neither entitled nor not entitled to it. The significant issues are what is going on and how do they feel about it. We need to face the facts of the situation and acknowledge the emotional reactions, rather than personally judging it and feeling victimized by it.
If you are robbed, you don’t sit around thinking, This shouldn’t be happening to me. It isn’t right. Instead, you react. You may defend yourself, call the police or try to run away. Constructive action is the opposite of victimized brooding.
If a woman whose husband was late for dinner every night has the right to feel angry and to consider practical action if she wished, but to try to justify feeling victimized is maladaptive and meaningless.
Even in the most extreme situation, such as a concentration camp, feeling victimized is not adaptive. Feeling your anger, planning an escape, attempting to survive any and all of these courses of actions are preferable to indulging powerless, victimized feeling. Your attitude is a vital part of determining whether you will survive or perish, succeed or fail at life.
Viktor Franki contended that many of the survivors of the German Concentration camps we’re able to endure because they refused to give in to the feeling of being victimized. Instead, although stripped of all their rights and possessions, they used one remaining to sustain their spirit; the freedom to choose what attitude or position they would take in relation to bear oneself, this way or that.
Maintaining a child victim role leads to chron passivity. Victimized feelings are very appropriate for a child’s situation. Children are without power, are helpless, and are at the mercy and of their parents. Later as an adult, things happen that are sometimes beyond your control and understanding. But, the adult who is still playing the child victim tole responds like the deer that sees a mountain lion approaching a d instead of running from the danger becomes paralyzed. This person keeps noticing over and over that the situation is unreasonable, unfair, or threatening but doesn’t make the appropriate adaptive responses. Like the woman mentioned above, the tip-off to the fact that she preferred the child victim role was that she never made any attempt to change her circumstances. Like so many of us, she would rather feel justified in complaining endlessly about her unfortunate circumstances while passively registering her dissatisfaction that active changing her situation.
It’s more advantageous to experience feeling than to deny them or cut them off. Actions, unlike feelings, have consequences and must be considered in relation to both moral issues and rational reality concerns. Acting out emotions, especially angry emotions, must remain under a person’s control. For example, a feeling of murderous rage can be considered innocent, but to make sarcastic remarks has consequences.
Victims deal in judgments and should in interactions with others. They operate on the assumption that the world should be fair. ”I should have been loved by my parents.” My children should call me or write to me. After all, I’ve done for them, it’s the least they should do. This type of preoccupation with rights and should in irrelevant to the real problems that we are all faced with, it leads to inward brooding and vengeful feelings. Worse yet angry, victimized feelings are bottled up inside, contributing to depression and psychosomatic disorders.
My had to go overseas for his job he was there for about a year. It was a new contract job, at first I was completely hurt and felt victimized when he didn’t call me for weeks at a time, when he was home he used to call me every Sunday. Why isn’t he know I thought, what have I done? Is he angry at me? I was playing the victim. He was a man now the responsible, successful man I taught him to be. I was feeling hurt because he was successful at what he did for a living. I was feeling victim because he couldn’t contact me like he used to, it wasn’t that he forgot me or didn’t love me anymore.
Playing the victim is maladaptive. Even though passive manipulations may occasionally work, taking this powerless act is never in anyone’s best interest. In the long run, it does more harm than good. People can control their destructive urge to play the victim by acknowledging that their personal world and the external world contain many inequities and social injustices that are discriminatory and unfair to individuals or groups of people, yet they can take power over their lives. Despite these negative circumstances, there are active remedial solutions available to make an effective adaptation.