How to overcome the victim in yourself and control any situation

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So, you start getting annoyed right from the morning: traffic jams, idiots don’t know how to drive, a long queue at the store, and so on. All these are circumstances that are beyond your control, and they spoil your mood and set the tone for the rest of the day.

Yes, these situations are out of your control, but what about your emotions about these situations? Emotions determine your reaction to everything that happens in life. And they are very difficult to control. Difficult, but possible.

Any reaction to people or situations, whether it occurs automatically, as a result of habit or comes from conscious thoughts, is our choice. We choose to take responsibility for our actions on ourselves or blame someone else. We have the right to choose who controls our lives. You make the day, or the day makes you.

How and why we love to play the victim

The psychology of the victim is built on the belief that we are not responsible for our actions and life circumstances.

Today, thanks to the Internet and social media, the habit of blaming, criticizing and not accepting life’s circumstances has become a common part of daily communication. Modern people are becoming more sensitive, regardless of age. Resentment and vulnerability are noticed both in the workplace and in educational institutions – schools and universities.

As sociologists Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning noted in their study , we are taught to respond to the slightest insult. Instead of solving problems on our own, we complain to other people so that they confirm our status as a victim, and we begin to depend on them in this regard.

All this creates a feeling of helplessness. We sink into powerlessness, blame others, talk about the circumstances and feel sorry for ourselves: “If X only happened, everything would be better…”, “Why am I not her?” and so on.

In his book The Power of TED, David Emerald calls the psychology of the victim a terrible tragic triangle. The model of this triangle was developed by Dr. Stephen Karpman back in 1960, but it is still relevant today. We constantly play one of the three roles of this triangle, or all three in turn.

Tragic Triangle

As a victim, we focus on the negativity in our lives and feel hurt by those who judge or criticize us.

As persecutors, we judge and criticize others, usually without anger or malice.

Finally, we turn to saviors who may take the form of another person or other things to distract us and bring relief.

Complaining is a great defense mechanism. A good way to convince yourself that you deserve better when things aren’t going the way you want (and you’re not doing anything to fix it). After all, it is much easier to complain and criticize than to create, lead and do something.

Mark Twain


My life is filled with terrible failures, most of which never happened.

When you perceive circumstances as an external factor, you give yourself permission to not move forward. You don’t grow, you don’t learn from your mistakes .

What to do? Increase awareness, acknowledge your mistakes and shortcomings, and accept that you are responsible for your destiny.

How to overcome the victim in yourself and take responsibility

Flip the tragic triangle

The opposite of David Emerald’s tragic triangle is dynamic improvement.

Dynamic Improvement

While victims focus on problems, creators are clear about what they want and take responsibility for their results in life.

The pursuers become rivals who help them learn and grow along the path of self-discovery.

And finally, the saviors become coaches and help the creator on the way to the realization of his dream.

Moreover, the same problems, situations and rivals remain in life. We just look at them from a different point of view.

To move from victim mode to creator mode, pick a time and ask yourself a few questions:

  • What is my ideal result?
  • What intentions led me to where I am in life?
  • Who do I blame for what happens to me?
  • To whom or what am I reaching out for salvation?

A similar philosophy of perceiving difficulties is present in the writings of many philosophers: Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epictetus and other Stoics.

The philosophy of Stoicism is based on the fact that we cannot control the events that will happen, but we can control our reaction to it. We are dissatisfied with our lives because we have allowed emotions to control our thoughts and actions, instead of using logic and rational thinking. We have forgotten that obstacles and setbacks are rich opportunities for growth and development.

Writer and marketer Ryan Holiday, in his TEDx talk, used these Stoic principles to tell the stories of great historical figures: Theodore Roosevelt, Laura Ingles-Wilder, Ulysses Grant, and Thomas Edison. People who looked at failures and challenges as opportunities for personal growth.

Ryan Holiday

Writer and marketer.

There is one thing that helps not to get confused when faced with obstacles, not to get upset and not give up in front of them. Few are able to do this. But after you learn to control your emotions, objectively judge and stand your ground, the next step becomes possible – a mental switch. A click, and you begin to see not an obstacle, but an opportunity. As Laura Ingles-Wilder said, there is good in everything if we look for it. But we’re looking so bad… We turn a blind eye to real gifts.

It is in our nature to believe that everything should happen exactly as we expect. And if it goes wrong, we refuse to accept it. For example, we complain about an annoying employee, when we could study his shortcomings, find similarities in ourselves and improve our communication style.

Do the No Complaining Day Exercise

During this exercise, you are not allowed to complain, gossip, judge, or complain. Try it. Most likely, you will not be able to hold out even half a day without complaining.

Okay, this will help to not express negativity, complaints and gossip, but will it help to change the way you think? Will help. We think in words, so what we say is directly affected by the words we scroll through our heads. Therefore, affirmations are also very effective. By repeating positive mantras, we influence how our brain filters and interprets information coming from outside. One study found that affirmations reduce stress, improve problem solving and decision making.

When you give yourself a no-complaining day, you watch what and how you say to other people, learn to choose your words more carefully, avoid negativity, and focus on solutions and a positive response.

You can practice this exercise all day, or only use it in special circumstances, such as difficult life situations or when something really annoys you. This will help you learn how to stay calm and positive and focus on finding solutions in stressful situations.


Our life is created by our thoughts.

We cannot avoid difficulties, and we should not protect ourselves or our children from them. We must meet obstacles head on, because it is through experience, constant questioning and answering that we grow and succeed.

The next time you are faced with a difficult and annoying situation, consider which is more important to you: anger or personal growth?

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