A sense of victimhood is an interesting tool of influence.
Rather than using legitimate victimhood to gain others’ help or sympathy, there are some who use an embellished sort of victimhood as a weapon in a war for attention. In their perception, the attention that playing the victim garners can be used to benefit their social standing in the world. Perhaps they see a way to gain respect by playing the victim, or grow their revenue by garnering sympathy from customers.
There are some who weaponize victimhood even more; using it to destroy the reputations of those they dislike. It is difficult to label someone a professional victim. You’ll find many things to look out for in your attempts to definitively label someone you perceive to be a victim as such. The goal of understanding someone to be a victim, is not to punish, but to protect yourself. You’ll be able to not only protect yourself from blatant malice, but also your perception from being misled to feel sympathy when it shouldn’t.
This article will view victimhood from two ends of a performance spectrum.
Mistakes and victories riddle the life we live. They can be large in scale or insignificant in their effect on the world. Mistakes and victories are nondiscriminatory, thereby allowing you to analyze anyone – from a beggar on the street to the president of the country you live in.
This article is precisely about how people you expect to be professional victims react to their own mistakes and victories. The universal nature of mistakes and victories can serve to make their analysis an effective tool to keep in your toolbox.
Mistakes Are Muffled by Bait for Sympathy
A victim’s goal when a mistake of theirs is publicized, is to muffle the consequences of responsibility. In their attempts to do so, they will subtly bait onlookers and listeners for a certain kind of sympathy which lessens the consequences of their mistake.
The skilled victim doesn’t make their bait for sympathy obvious during times of making a mistake. They can be surprising in how much responsibility for a mistake they actually own. They will try hard to seem like a noble owner of a mistake, but will throw in the most subtle breadcrumbs for others to follow toward discovering their state of victimhood.
Their goal, will be to make people believe that they’ve taken full and absolute ownership of a mistake they made. However, what differentiates someone with a victim mentality from people who gain our respect by owning their mistakes, is the addition of irrelevant victim plagued dialogue in their explanation of mistakes.
This victim dialogue will be subtle, but will play an important role in shaping how onlookers treat the victim in the face of a mistake.
For example, a friend of yours may dent your car’s bumper while moving it to be able to get their own car out of your driveway. If they seek to operate with a victim mentality, they’d attempt to bait their listeners while owning up to the mistake. Their bait would not be an excuse per se, as they’d take full ownership of a mistake. However, the bait will seek to give rise to a feeling of sympathy in their listener.
Your friend in the example above can mention problems irrelevant to the matter at hand such as receiving a piece of bad news prior to moving the car. They can cite that they’ve been running around all day and began to be careless with their undivided attention.
A common strategy, is to make the mistake they made seem to affect them more than it affects other people.
For instance, in the same example, your friend may say that they banged their head really hard when they reverse your car into the fire hydrant. In attempting to make a mistake they’ve made to have caused them the most pain, victims hope that onlookers are more lenient with punishment.
If you, the reader, want to limit your sense of victimhood from creeping into your addressal of mistakes, ensure to make your addressal always about the real victims. Prior to addressing how you may have felt during a time you made a mistake, stop yourself and ask if you’ve made your addressal about other innocent victims of your mistake. After you make a mistake, ensure that every corner of others’ victimhood has a light shone on it prior to shining a light on your own.
Victories Are Amplified by Previously Unknown Difficulties
Victimhood can squeeze itself out during victorious times too. Victims can win, and their victim mentality often tries to amplify their victory to seem more impressive than it is. In making their wins seem more impressive than they are, victims try to position themselves to be more capable than they are in the domain in question. They too, elicit sympathy from others to use for their own benefit. Their victories seem more impressive if they’ve fallen victim to previously unpublicized difficulties on their way toward completing a goal or task.
Be wary of individuals who always seem to make their victories more impressive than they are by eliciting sympathy from you. Rather than simply being happy with a certain victory in their lives, they’ll tell you about difficulties they faced while on the path toward it.
The winner of a wrestling tournament may cite that he / she injured their ankle three days prior to the tournament. Your friend who nailed a job interview may tell you that he / she did it notwithstanding having a stabbing migraine. The person who barely made it to the meeting on time may cite how they had to skip their morning coffee in order to not be late.
By eliciting others’ sympathy even when they experience wins in live, people with the victim mentality attempt to make their wins bulletproof to criticism.
For instance, the winner of a wrestling tournament may have performed poorly in one of their matches. As their coach begins to try and correct the mistakes they made in their performance in that instance, the victim will downplay criticism by citing that their ankle bothered them the whole time.
It is best to take your victories as they come and listen to criticism without citing how your victimhood affected your performance. Even though your victimhood may be legitimate, you serve to gain more by not riddling your victory with bait for others’ sympathy.
By being willing to listen to criticism of your, perhaps hindered, performance, you’ll separate certain blemishes of your performance from your victim state. In doing that, you’d be more likely to work on those aspects of your performance, rather than write them off to be the result of something you were a victim of.