Using Victim Language …

Creative Commons License photo credit: gillesklein

Our use of language often tells on us, for instance when we hear phrases come out of our mouths like this one, “She/he frustrates me,” or “They upset me or make me mad,” etc – who do such words suggest that we hold responsible for our frustration?

Do you hear the implication here that they are the cause of our upset? Do you hear how we proclaim ourselves as victim with such words?

When we hear such phrases come from us it is important that we ask ourselves some important questions, such as, “They have to respond to me in a particular way, say things a certain way, be in a different mind-set, or see things the way I do for me to be happy, is that true?”

Who do we become when we think others have to be different for us to be ok? Who do we put in charge of our happiness when we think like this? Do you hear victim consciousness in this? Maybe it's just me, but I certainly do. 🙂

I don't mean to sound judgmental – we all do it. We move in and out of victim consciousness all day long – I, as much as the next person, and we are so much better at spotting it in the other person than we are at detecting it in ourselves. Victim consciousness is persuasive and pervasive. It can take over our thinking so quickly. But if we listen closely our language tells the tale.

So interesting how we expect, even demand, that others clean up their victim thinking when we can't even see our own! But it does seem to be what we do, over and over again.

The rule of thumb in detecting victim consciousness is this: if we are unhappy because of someone else's behavior, we are in victim consciousness (either rescuer, persecutor or victim role).

This, again, is not a “bad” thing – it is what we do – and it has a purpose; by listening to our choice of language, we can catch ourselves when we blame others for our unhappiness. Instead of automatically assuming our unhappy thoughts about them, we instead suspect our blaming thoughts as being the cause of our trouble. We learn to stand back from our unhappy thoughts and look for a way of thinking about the situation that leaves us feeling more peaceful.


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