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Hope and inspiration for those dealing with addiction and co-dependency

READ PART 1 FOR CONTEXT

Victims are ultimately abusers.  Abusers come from families where they were helpless to prevent the neglect or cruelty that happened to them and around them.  Having been victims then, they were simultaneously powerful and powerless.  Powerless because they could not stop what was going on around them, powerful because they blamed themselves for what was happening.

At some point they determined to gain and maintain the power in all their relationships. They use financial deprivation, foul and offensive words,  emotional blackmail, fists or blunt objects.

The paradox of a victim’s irresponsibility is the feelings of failure, guilt and shame that are part of every victim’s life.  They try to keep their prey subjective to their whims.  Victims want you to fill up the empty hole that is inside of them.  People who are abusive one minute and  nice the next minute are the most difficult to deal with.  Because you are constantly confused by their behavior, their spouses and children walk on egg shells most of the time.  The confusion is part of the plan.  Do not be fooled by the nice-ness.

Ask a victim what he is up to and he will blast you with how he has been hurt, insulted, snubbed or in some way affronted.   Ask him how he feels and he will tell you about all his aches and pains and how the world defecates all over him, he does not want to hear your tales of woe.  He just wants you to hear his.   The victim feels as though the world owes him.  He will complain about his wife/girlfriend, complain about his boss, complain about his neighbors, do work he never gets paid for, and loan money he never gets back.   Some big-hearted people fall for the victim’s tales and try to help.  Big mistake.  He doesn’t want help, he wants sympathy and attention. 

Victims are lacking a fundamental wholesomeness that comes from being cared for and valued as children. When he or she behaves abusively, there will be a million excuses for this behavior.  All of the excuses are designed to make you feel as sorry for them as they feel for themselves.  Their persona says Please notice how wretched and miserable I am.   Victims can be angry and pathetic persons.  At the core of a victim is huge self-loathing and a feeling of entitlement. The best thing you can do for a victim is call him on his behavior.  If this puts you in danger,  don’t say anything,  just find a safe place to go.

Victims grew up learning that only way to get their needs met is by being sneaky, extremely self-sufficient and manipulative.  They have been abused or neglected as children or raised by parents who were victims and thus learned by seeing the example in front of them. Being abused by a parent or sibling or watching a seemingly weak parent be openly abused teaches a victim how to act helpless.  Helplessness breeds self-pity and blaming.
     Victims feel like something is missing inside of them and they learn to lie and to use seduction and guilt in an attempt to find the missing elements in their lives. You can tell when you are in the presence of a victim because they never forget a slight and will bring  up the same incident year after year and seem to want an apology every time.   They believe they are being mistreated by friends or family members, employers, or neighbors; they seek reasons to feel bad, they look for injustice.  They set themselves up to be a target for people who will take advantage of them.

     Ask a victim what he is up to and he will blast you with how he has been hurt, insulted, snubbed or in some way affronted.   Ask him how he feels and he will tell you about all his aches and pains and how the world defecates all over him, he does not want to hear your tales of woe.  He just wants you to hear his.   The victim feels like the world owes him.  He will complain about his wife/girlfriend, complain about his boss, complain about his neighbors, do work he never gets paid for, and loan money he never gets back.
     Some big-hearted people fall for the victim’s tales and try to help.  Big mistake.  He doesn’t want help, he wants sympathy and attention.  Victims often find themselves without friends and being avoided by family because those who know them get turned off by their constant tales of woe.
     The behaviors of victims have some of the following characteristics however, not all of them have all of the qualities listed.  Victims:

- Do not inspire trust from others, because they have few boundaries, and will tell too many personal details about themselves or others.

- Indulge in persistent negativity.

- Are lacking in honesty.

- Are unwilling to learn new things or take risks.

- Take almost no responsibility for their behavior.

- Will make up stories that make them sound or look good.

- Live in fear that others will take advantage of them.

- Have very little self-respect on the inside.

- Assume that other people are out to get them.

- Have a constant poor me attitude.

- Live in fear of failure so continually twist the truth to make themselves look good.

Ultimately we are our own worst critic and persecutor. To meet the challenge that fears present is a giant hurdle and requires a huge shift in thoughts and beliefs. Fear resides inside of self and behavior resides outside of self. How many times have you been extremely afraid to do something and so put it off until it was too late? How many times have you faked illness, told a little white lie, and avoided doing things that made you feel fearful? Fear is like a monster that feeds on itself: the more you put off doing something the bigger the monster grows. Have you ever considered yourself a loser? Maybe not quite put into words but in your heart you feel like a looser because you know that you are capable of so much more if only your fear and anxiety didn’t get in your way. Do you forecast your own failure in effort to soften the blow of disappointment when things do not go exactly as planned? Fearful people are often self-involved concentrating so hard on their own needs that they are unable to take other people’s needs into consideration. Thinking that the world is a dangerous place and life is hazardous.

Excuses bond us to failure. Not taking personal responsibility for your life and your actions guarantees a mediocre lifestyle. Do you find yourself making excuses for your conduct? I was late because-- -- -I didn’t get it done because-- -- -- -- -- I did it because I was angry-- -- -- -. If you would have-- -- -- -- -- -then I would have-- -- -- -- -- -- -- . A million excuses and all they serve to do is deny personal responsibility for whatever is happening at the moment. Excuses demonstrate a lack of commitment to excellence and results in mediocrity. Making excuses for other people weakens them and steals their power. Making excuses for you does the same thing. It is a brave person who can face life without excuses. Try honesty i.e.:”I was late because I did not allow enough time for unforeseen road conditions or heavy traffic.” “I didn’t get it done because it wasn’t a priority for me.” “I was angry at you and decided to punish you by doing something I knew would hurt you.” “There is no excuse for what I did and blaming you for it was wrong.” “I realize that a person of integrity would do the right thing regardless of someone else’s behavior.” “I take full responsibility for failing to be on time, do the rightthing, or be committed to excellence.” Just saying these things out loud to yourself is a start.

What you believe about yourself and your circumstances dictates how you will behave. If life is not all that you want it to be then perhaps you need to change your belief system. What beliefs do you have about your personal worth? Take a few minutes and answer the following questions.

1. Do you enjoy life?

2. Do you speak honestly about your shortcomings and your achievements?

3. Are you comfortable with criticism?

4. Are you comfortable with appreciation and compliments?

5. Are you open to new ideas?

6. Do you consider yourself playful?

7. Do you have a quiet sense of self-respect?

8. Do you have a sense of humor and can you laugh at yourself?

9. If you make a mistake do you go over it and over it in your mind?

10. Where do you want to be in your life and relationships next week? Six

months from now? A year from this date?

Maybe you have said things to yourself such as “I am not good at math” and every time a math problem comes up you side-step it without considering what it would take for you to develop your ability to do the problem. Maybe you have always wanted to write books or poetry or short stories but just have never put your self to the test because when you think about doing it you always think of it in the future not right now.

Beware of being influenced by myth. Many people make important decisions based on a myth that we have never bothered to check out. One such myth is “asking for help is a sign of weakness.” another myth is “selfishness is always bad.” Did your parents ever say to you “what will the neighbors think?” It’s a myth that the neighbor’s opinion of you is more accurate that your opinion of you. “who do you think you are?” does other people’s opinion matter to you more than your own?

Your personal worth is not based on what other people think nor is it based on your accomplishments or how much money you make. You have worth by virtue of the fact that you exist. That’s it and it is that simple. If you were lucky as a child you were allowed to develop a self that you are pleased with because you feel effective, useful, loved and loving. People who were not so lucky often struggle with self-esteem problems and no matter what they accomplish or who loves them they never quite feel they measure up.


Self-respect differs from self-esteem in that it is more about behavior than about the inner condition. You can write out a road map for self- respect and by following it develop a stronger self-esteem. Eventually self-respect leads to self acceptance and a refusal to let anyone else define you.

Many people find themselves in the dilemma of indecision. They do not know what it is they really want. Do I want to change jobs or do I want to stay put? Do I want to get a divorce or am I better off where I am? Should I move or should I fix up the place I am in? Should I help out a friend one more time or should I tell him/her I am finished helping them? Should I talk to my husband (wife, children, parent, boss) or should I wait and see if they notice how upset I am maybe he/she will bring it up? Should I go on a diet? Should I go on a trip alone when I can find no one to go with me? Should I go to college? Should I get married? Should I go into business for myself or work for someone?

Indecision is based on fear. Fear is a debilitating condition that ruins more lives than natural disaster. Fear produces anxiety. Anxiety creates debilitating worry and concern. People in the throes of anxiety feel powerless and go to great length to avoid whatever produces the anxiety including wearing a façade of boldness that often hides even from themselves the level of their fear and anxiousness. Sensitivity and fear of rejection get in the way of greatness.

People who find themselves powerless to make a decision and follow through are people who have at one point in their lives, most likely childhood, been punished for thinking for themselves. A strong need for approval causes procrastination and fear of disapproval can paralyze children. Controlling parents wanting perfect children often rob a child of his/her ability to make decisions. Perhaps using ridicule, shame tactics, or raised eyebrows and the silent treatment when the child makes choices that do not agree with the adults around him/her. Children who have been abused or neglected live with a fear that follows them to adulthood. Sometimes the fear is because a parent has invested so much in the child, praised them so highly and demanded such loyalty that the child feels helpless without the constant input. The fear often remains hidden even from those who have it and is expressed in various ways, indecision being one of them. Fear makes victims of people.

Victims live with dread, apprehension and constant misgivings. Victims see everyone as an adversary who is only waiting to take advantage of them. This when taken to its greatest extent results in paranoia which can result in feelings of persecution and a constant need to defend oneself. If your childhood held a lot of exploitation, threats, neglect, or abuse then it is time to deal with all of those old feelings that are holding you back and keeping your life from being all that you want it to be. It is time to take the time to deal with the pain of the past so you can let it go and move on.