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iStock 000023144189XSmallBrace yourself for this one because I’m going to give it to you straight!  It’ll be OK, trust me, I’m a Life Coach.  You can handle it, I have faith in you.

Let’s start off pretending we’re not talking about you and me here, let’s say we’re talking about other people.  Well, these other people, a lot of them, a lot of the time, have trouble taking responsibility for their own experience of life.

How unfortunate for them, you say.  Poor things, how do they manage? 

Well what they do, see, is they tell a lot of stories, to themselves and to anyone who’ll listen.  Maybe you’ve heard a lot of these stories, from some people more than others, and you know what I’m talking about.  You know the ones where you’re trying to lend a sympathetic ear, or maybe you’re trying to offer helpful suggestions, but the poor sod seems hell bent on convincing you that their problems can’t be solved, and also about how unfair it all is and how they’ve been mistreated, hard done by, ripped off and taken for granted.

Well, you say, a lot of people do have genuine hardships and grievances, and you’d be quite right.  But if you pay attention, you’ll notice that some people are more interested in describing every intricate detail of the unfairness which has been thrust upon them through no fault of their own than they are in doing anything about it.  It’s almost like they’re enjoying it!

Aha!  Well, we might be onto something there.  You see we all like to feel important and have a little adventure or drama in our lives sometimes, and there are different ways we can meet these needs.  Tony Robbins says we all have six core needs, (and I reckon he’s right), and these are two of them.  As well as variety and significance, this kind of behaviour can also give us certainty (we’re used to it, it’s familiar) and a feeling of connection (it gives us something to talk about).

These other people we are talking about here have actually identified themselves as a victim, therefore entering the drama triangle as described by psychiatrist Stephen Karpman, who teaches Transactional Analysis.  The concept is beautifully described by Lynne Forrest here.  I’ll write in more detail about the drama triangle in a future article.  (Sneak preview – the other two points on the triangle are rescuer and persecutor).

So, everything we do is for a reason, whether that reason is rational or not, and hopefully by now you’re feeling brave enough to acknowledge that, like me, you’re familiar with playing that victim role yourself.  If you’ve joined me in admitting it, then congratulations, you’re a hell of a lot better off and more likely to be able to change it and do it a lot less than those poor “other people”.

Another concept related to the blame game is the Jungian concept of projection.  What we notice in others is part of us, to put it very simplistically.  Whenever we are blaming and criticizing others, guess what?  Oh dear!  The funniest thing I remember about this is how when I first heard of projection, it was from someone who had just learned about it himself, then proceeded to tell others how they were doing it.  I think he may have missed the point.

But you get it, don’t you, you clever thing.  And that’s wonderful, because it means you can catch yourself if you ever do it, and make a decision to do something different, and those things would be:

-        Take responsibility for your own experience of life

-        Recognize that there are always choices and options

-        Learn to ask yourself questions related to finding solutions

-        Learn to look for more constructive and sustainable ways of meeting your needs

So, whether you stubbed your toe, hate your job or can’t seem to get that thing happening that you want, whatcha gonna do?


#2 YvetteSLB 2013-09-23 13:10
That's right Courtenay, I knew you had stubbed your toe. ;-) Hope it heals up well for you. Think about what matters to you as you approach being ready for your next job with an open mind. You're miles ahead already. :-)
#1 Courtenay 2013-09-23 09:04
Yvette, I don't know how (well I guess I do) this message showed up right now in my life but it was like you were writing it to me personally. All the way down to the stubbed toe (I stubbed it and currently have a broken toe!) and hating my job part (I just quit). And far as the victim part, I have very much been in that position, knowing in my heart I have the ability to help myself. So now, I will get up off my butt and take responsibility! Thank you so much


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