Poor me. Why does this always happen to me? It’s not fair! I can’t cope. It’s too much. I give up. It will never improve.

I hate to admit it but when things get tough, playing my victim tape is one of my default settings. It’s not pretty. It doesn’t help.

I obsess about my problems. Obsessing takes a lot of energy. No wonder I am too exhausted to find solutions.

Playing the victim tape

Playing the victim tape has never solved the problem. Not once. It makes me miserable, unpleasant, 99% less attractive and utterly painful to be around. It makes me as sexy as Dobby the House-Elf.

Arguing with reality

The victim tape says “it’s not fair and it shouldn’t be like this”. It argues with reality. It refuses to engage, move, change or improve reality.

In this mode, I can’t do anything.  Someone should rescue me but I will never ask for help or even accept it.

How can we turn this around?

1. Feel it and move through it

Life can be hard. There are losses and heartbreaks and illness. There are times when way too much is happening.

It’s normal to have emotions. So feel it, let it out, rant, cry, feel sad. Feel it but move through it and come out the other side. Don’t stay slumped in that slimy dark corner.

2. Get honest

What is the story you’re telling? Is it true? Honestly? Could you look at it differently? Is it helping you? At all? Or is it making you depressed and sick and maybe even a bit ridiculous? Is your story useful?

3. Gentle encouragement

When you’re in victim mode, being tough on yourself doesn’t work. Baby yourself out of it. Very gently find evidence that suggests that you can and will cope with this.

Have you dealt with similar problems before? Have you learnt new skills to deal with unfamiliar ones? Could it be that you are secretly quite competent and capable?

4. Prioritise – step by step

When you play the victim tape, the worries pile up and fall on you all at once. It’s true, you can’t deal with them all at once but you don’t have to.

Make a list and decide what is really important right now. Focus on that. Work through the issues one step at a time.

5. Use creative energy better

Victim tapes are very creative. They’re dramatic. They have lots of details and terrifying subplots.

This is creative energy. Use it for good. Imagine good outcomes. Get your overactive imagination working for you. Find your victim tape funny.

Questions to move you

  • how can you accept this reality?
  • have you dealt with this issue before?
  • have you handled new things before?
  • what really needs to be done right now?
  • what is one step you could take?
  • what is one thing you could do to feel better?
  • how could you encourage yourself?
  • who could you ask for help?
  • is it even a little bit funny?

Thinking like a victim feels heavy. It’s exhausting. It doesn’t help. It’s human to feel defeated sometimes but it’s self-abuse to stay there. Get out of your own way.