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1. The Savior:
This person believes it’s their mission to "save" the world. They may be genuinely motivated by the desire to be of service, but the do-gooder tendency can also be a way to hide behind a role that keeps them from feeling powerless. They constantly project victimhood onto others and take up a thousand different causes, not from pure love, but from fear and reactivity. These victims would rather focus on others than look at themselves.
2. The Eeyore:
This person walks around with a perpetual rain cloud over their head. The world hasn’t given them their due, and they’ll say so to anyone who is willing to listen. For such a victim, the glass is always half-empty, and anyone who dares to suggest otherwise has obviously not experienced the amount of strife and misfortune that has been this "Why Me?" person's unhappy lot.
3. The Blissful Naif:
He or she might walk around with flowy clothing, a serene smile, and a Sanskrit mantra on their lips—or their denial might simply manifest as a tendency to avoid anything dark, like the nightly news report or a violent movie. While the desire to keep a positive spirit is laudable, when it stems from fear, you'll see the person cling to a fantasy world, running from any ugly emotions or unpleasant aspect of reality.
4. The Busy Bee:
This is the person who powers ahead at any cost. They can’t slow down, and relaxation time has to be penciled into their calendar. They are constantly multitasking, working after hours, and complaining about what a busy day, month, year, or lifetime it’s been. Their busyness, in fact, is avoidance—a numbing mechanism and a convenient excuse to dodge aspects of their lives that might be troublesome or difficult.
5. The Screw-Up:
This is the one who can never seem to get their act together. Their screwing up might look like perpetual unemployment, depending on loved ones to bail them out, or making poor decisions that have long-term consequences. They might even be apologetic about their inability to function in the world, but mostly, the lamentation, "I can’t ever seem to do anything right," keeps them spinning in the hamster wheel of their hopelessness, especially if there’s a Savior or Caretaker ready to come to the rescue.
6. The Escape Artist:
"Anywhere but here" is the Escape Artist's personal mantra. This tendency can show up in tons of different ways—in the hopeless addict (of love, sex, drugs, money, food, video games—you name it), the daydreamer who can never seem to get her great ideas off the ground, the devoted spouse who pours all their free time and energy into their partner, or the restless friend who is on to the next thing before you can finish your sentence. Escape Artists typically operate from a sense of self-abandonment and have the fundamental belief that they are flawed. Escapism is perhaps the most common of all the victim types, as it emerges from a wound that every single one of us carries. “I'm not good enough.”
7. The Limelight Lover:
This victim requires constant validation and attention. If they aren’t taking center stage, something is obviously wrong. This tendency comes from a deep insecurity—maybe even self-loathing—as their worth is derived from external validation. The Limelight Lover is often clingy and needy, and they tend to drain others of their energy. They further exercise their victimhood by guilt-tripping loved ones: "You don’t want to spend time with me? Obviously, that means you don’t care about me."
8. The Storyteller:
Something of a spinoff of The Limelight Lover, The Storyteller is the type of victim who constantly feels the need to one-up others by telling stories that are bigger and better and wilder. It doesn’t matter if they’re true stories, because the name of the game is embellishment and exaggeration. The Storyteller’s sense of self-worth is based on the notion that if they aren’t special, other people won’t notice them; therefore, they are "always on."
9. The High and Mighty:
An example of The High and Mighty victim might be a boss who treats her employees poorly—privileging the people at the top of the heap and demeaning the ones at the bottom. The High and Mighty victim constantly finds others in the wrong and sees himself as better than just about everyone else. This tendency to disconnect keeps them from feeling empathy or compassion for others—which would be way too dangerous, as it might bring them face to face with their own pain.
10. The Caretaker:
This is a common form of victimhood, particularly among women who are indoctrinated with the "virtues" of self-sacrifice and martyrdom. The Caretaker has little time and energy to spend on herself, as she’s too busy tending to the needs of others—which may make her feel in control and valued in the world. Taken too far, caretaking can breed resentment as well as the sometimes-hidden belief that nobody else is capable of giving her what she wants or needs. Instead of making her needs clearly known, she usually chooses to wallow in a long-suffering, passive-aggressive way.
11. The "I Am Not a Victim" Victim:
This particular victim tends to be so triggered by the notion of her victimhood that she immediately loses control when faced with someone who is displaying anything that could be construed as weakness. Because she hasn’t integrated the parts of herself that have been hurt and wounded, she is hard on those whom she perceives as wallowers. Terrified of her own vulnerability, she is a proponent of people sucking it up and just "getting over it." Her lack of empathy, similar to that of The High and Mighty Victim's, comes from an unwillingness to get real with herself about her own pain.
Do any of these sound familiar to you?
Do some resonate?
Are there other ways that victimhood shows up in your life?
Remember, every single one of us has played the victim in our lives—and while many of us have, in fact, had some truly painful experiences, we all have the opportunity to choose how we are going to react—now and for the rest of our days.
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