What does Victim Behavior look like?
...the opposite of healthy boundaries, that's what
A victim has their
Internal Boundaries backwards
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Below are some lists of victim behavior characteristics, see if you recognize any of these patterns.
I personally struggled with the problem of what to do about Victim Behavior for a long time before I came upon this extremely useful web page from Dr, James J. Messina, on the topic of:
"Overcoming the Role of Victim and Martyr" at his
Tools for Coping Series site.
For years I felt terrible because I could clearly see parts of my pain was victim behavior based- Dr Messina's site zeroed me in on the difference between a Martyr and a Victim. I was more martyr than victim with respect to a failed long term relationship.
Definition of victim behavior reprinted with Dr Messina's permission:
-Lack the knowledge that they are being taken advantage of by others.
-Are so used to a certain way of being treated that they don't recognize it as unhealthy for them.
-Lack healthy self-esteem or self-concepts.
-Have little belief in themselves.
-Come from high-stress families where their rights were never respected; therefore, they lack the competencies, skills, and abilities to stand up for their rights.
-Lack information about assertive behavior and have no experience in using assertive behavior.
-Lack of ``others'' in their lives who can point out alternative healthy solutions to their problems.
-Are timid, scared, and suspicious of help being offered to them.
-Are skeptical about someone really wanting to help them.
Victims often hold to some of the following irrational beliefs in their lives:
-You must be nice to everyone, even if they are not nice to you.
-Life is supposed to be filled with unhappiness and uncertainty.
-The small guy never wins.
-This is the way things are supposed to be.
-There are winners and losers in all transactions between people.
-My role in life is to be a loser.
-Most people are basically selfish, mean, self-centered and disrespectful.
-You should never complain.
-Take it like a "man" (woman)!
-Be silent with your feelings
Victims often do not stand up for their rights because they suffer from the irrational fear of:
-taking a risk
-being overwhelmed emotionally and physically
-loss of self-respect
-making a mistake.
The following is a list of common characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholics.
These characteristics were developed by Dr Janet G. Woititz. You may not feel that each one applies to you, but I found that most of them fit my personality or lifestyle in some way, especially the first one.
Adult Children (short for A.C.O.A.)
...guess at what normal is
...have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end
...lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth
...have difficulty having fun
...have difficulty with intimate relationships
...overreact to changes over which they have no control
...constantly seek approval and affirmation
...feel that they are different from other people
...are either super responsible or super irresponsible
...judge themselves without mercy
...take themselves very seriously
...tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious thought to alternative behaviors or possible consequences. This impulsivity leads to confusion, self loathing, and loss of control of their environment. As a result, they spend tremendous amounts of time cleaning up the mess.
Of course this is not the final and inclusive list of characteristics, but it gives you a good idea where some of your so called 'personality flaws' or problems in relationships may be coming from.
This article is for informational purposes only.
Please contact a licensed professional in your area
if you are in crisis or require mental health services