Nothing sends our defenses up faster than the notion that we may be ‘playing the victim’.
This one really gets us. Maybe it’s because it sounds like we’re so weak. Or it feels discounting of our past experiences. Or it subconsciously reminds us of the times when we possibly were in a disempowered position.
Regardless of the reason we dislike this notion, one thing is consistent across all situations. ‘Playing the victim’ is just a set of behaviors, reactions, and emotions we’ve adopted over time that create a sense of ‘personal helplessness’.
The good news is that it isn’t a hard-wired personality trait and it isn’t set in stone. It’s a habit we’ve slipped into. And then strengthened without thinking about it over time.
It is most evident when we find ourselves blaming others or situations when we are unhappy, when we find ourselves feeling inconvenienced or taken advantage of, or when we behave in a passive way. But it can sneak into other areas as well.
Here’s an effective 4 Step strategy if you find you’ve fallen into this habit.
- Recognizing our behaviors, reactions and emotions as the habits they are, is the first step to correcting them. And the beauty with habits is they just take the slightest disruption to start producing changes in a massive way.
- When you recognize you are repeating some of your ‘victimy’ behaviors or feelings, take a deep belly breath. Let your exhale be longer than your inhale.
- Then label these behaviors or feelings as ‘habits’ and turn your attention onto something else. Literally placing your attention onto anything other than these ‘victimy’ behaviors, thoughts and feelings will do the trick to start disrupting this old habit and creating a new reaction.
- Repeat the steps-deep breath, label, turn your attention- until you have turned yourself onto a different path.
Notice, you don’t have to psychoanalyze why you’re doing this or how you got this way. Our brains and bodies are remarkable in that they respond to positive course corrections without asking any questions! They will literally follow your lead on this one!