Don’t we all love to let others know how we’ve been mistreated?   Listen to the conversations around you, as well as your participation, and you will hear many victim stories.

I noticed something about myself last night.  I was out to dinner, and a friend was sharing how she was the victim in a situation.  I react strongly to her victimhood status, though not necessarily gentle. Ultimately I felt I had intruded on this person’s right to feel the way she does because of my internal thoughts.

This morning I got a life lesson by realizing that she was my mirror!  She was there to let me know how I’m treating myself as a victim.  I believe that when I react strongly to someone else’s thoughts or behavior, then I need to step back and see how I’m doing the same thing in my life.

I do play the victim and relinquish my power.   How do I do that?   In so many small ways:

  • Feel I have no choice but to listen to someone
  • The need to put work first and me second and feeling overworked
  • Not consistently following up on commitments I make to myself –- whether it’s eating healthy, exercising or writing more.
  • I am living in a messy office when the rest of my house is perfectly fine.  This messiness only reflects just how busy I am and how I don’t have enough time to keep up with everything.
  • I am allowing others to decide what I want to do because it’s more comfortable and less fearful.   A big one for many women.
  • Believing I don’t have the power to change a situation to go along with things.  Or on the opposite spectrum, allowing anger to spurt out towards others in my desire to improve the situation.

Another way we play victims is in our relationships.   “He said, She said” is the classic victimhood dialogue.   How many hours have you spent with friends discussing what your partner did to you?  Even after many years of divorce we all still gravitate to the right and wrong scenarios in our past relationships.

As women, I think we garner our victimhood under the guise of “nurturing others.”   We feel that we must give to others first before we give to ourselves.  Not all women think that way, but a large chunk of women channel their lives through victimhood.  Victimhood saps our energy, our creativity, and our lives.    We play victims because we don’t want to make the tough decisions to direct our lives in ways that are purposeful for us.

We are all powerful whether we believe it or not.   There are situations in which I have no control over, but I always have the choice of how I will react to it and what I will do next in the situation.

Playing the victim camouflages an innate responsibility we all have to live the best life we know how.

As I sit here and write about victimhood and especially the ways I perpetuate it in my life, I realize that I need to focus on “1st things 1st,” and trust the rest will fall into place.  Each day I fuel my victimhood in small ways, feeling out of control, not stepping back and looking for solutions and allowing my life to slide by without stopping long enough to decide on where I want to go.  Do I want to continue on this path?  NO!   I’m wise enough to know that a continuous way of thinking doesn’t magically disappear because I want to stop.

What Can Be Done?

  • Become aware of how I express myself.   Watch how I communicate a situation with others.   Am I presenting myself in control or not?
  • Do I allow others to make decisions for me?  If so, am I willing to make one new choice each day…no matter how small.
  • Do I feel there are no choices?  If I do, would I be willing to brainstorm all the possibilities on how I can react, behave or think differently?

Your Thoughts
Where in your life do you play the victim?  Where do you give your power over to someone else?  Is it in past or current relationships, at work, within your family, finances or health.   Do you feel, as a woman, that you have fewer choices?

Playing the victim is ingrained into our lives, and we need to be diligent to recognizing when we think we don’t have a choice.  We always have a choice.

What do you think?

Women’s Group Topics

A power discussion topic around how we play victims in our lives.  We can keep each other accountable by holding each person in a place where they are their best selves.   Helping each other release the need to be a victim.

Be well,

“To fully enjoy the ‘richness’ of our lives, we need to stop long enough to visit with ourselves.”
(Pat Brill)


Other Posts You May Be Interested In
How to Live a ‘No Excuses’ Life
What Is This Thing Called Work?
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Where Would We Be Without Our Stories
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9 thoughts on “Playing The Victim?

  1. Interesting post , awareness certainly helps…”I think there’s a way of training ourselves in order not to become the victim of fear and grief — that is to look deeply into ourselves” Thich Nhat.quotes

  2. Pat,
    Playing the victim is a heck of a lot easer than taking responsibility!

    But it feels so good when your “victimhood” out-victims the other person’s!

    “You think you had it bad? Let me tell you the time I…” 🙂


  3. I think we all play the victim at some time. I know I did last year and it cost me my job, and more importantly my wife.

    I was lucky enough to snap out of it though and eventually I won my wife back and now we are very happy together.

  4. I enjoyed your heartfelt honesty. I thank you for your insight. Blogging has been a tremendous invention for me. I am able to hear others thoughts, emotions, or just crazy stuff that happened to them one day. It’s like a stranger stops me on the street to tell me, “hey girl, its gonna rain in a few. Might want to find an umbrella” and takes off, never to be seen again. I love that.

    I learned about being a victim when I read a chapter on it in one of my college classes. My jaw dropped wide open, and there I was. Staring at descriptions of my everyday life detailed in a chapter about playing the victim and why psychologically we do it. Yikes. Ouch. Time to change the bedsheets and learn a little about life….

    Excellent article.

  5. An eye opener for sure, for me knowing is half the battle, I am truly embarrassed by my current situation, and I avoid social interactions outside of work because I know I am in the wrong place. Just trying to dig my way out, sometimes I wish someone would just scoop me up and love me like I deserve but then I would be a cheater this time instead of him and that goes against my morals. Sometimes I just want to cry on someone’s shoulder but then I am letting myself be a victim. Sometimes I wish I could just put the truth out there, just to get it out, but then I am whining and not acting.

  6. I think we all play victims some time in our life, sometimes more often that we would like. Yet, I believe if we just take one small step to no longer playing that role, the light is just a bit brighter for us.

    If we feel stuck, how can we gather support to help us become “unstuck” in our lives. Though we do need to choose support that will help us and not try to keep us in our place.

    I’m committed to letting go of the struggle and the role of victim. I’m a strong person and yet victimhood seeps through my life. It’s all about awareness and gentle compassion when we don’t quite do it the way we want.

    Thanks for share the journey with me and sharing your thoughts.


  7. my friend for over a decade and i where chatting about how many characters each person has, he told me that i had two… the victim and the attacker! nothing inbetween. This hurt me dreadfully as i thought there was more to me. i started checking out sites and stubbled across this one. it has helped me gain perspective of how i might of shown myself over those years. I live with an alchoholic cocaine user who spent years not coming home and when he did was nearly always covered in glitter from lapdancing bars. I guess with two small children i needed a friend to tell me to get the hell out – i am in the process now. i will buy this book and gain some self-esteem

  8. I was looking for articles about victims and users because there are two people who routinely call me a “victim” in my life: my sister and my former best friend. Besides astrological signs, these two folks share in common an incredible insensitivity to my feelings, and the tendency to blatantly use others to get what they need, then move on. I’m not “hard” enough for them as a woman. They share also the tendency to pick weak-willed men who subject to bullying as well as insecurity.

    Yes, I was a victim, of a so-called friend and a sister who didn’t respect my boundaries. Ironic that they called me “victim” but were the ones responsible for stepping on me.

    I ended contact with both of them and guess what? No more victim!

  9. “Why is the world always treating ME this way”….BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

    It’s a way to get attention and deflect responsibility, that’s all.

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