(This article does not refer to real victims of relationship abuse – physical or emotional)
It would seem that everyone’s a victim nowadays. All you have to do is go to your Facebook feed to see that we are living in the age of victim culture. Article after article and status update after status update. It’s always someone else’s fault. There’s always someone else to blame. There’s yet another person who is offended.
If there’s one thing coaches know and preach – whether you’re an athletic coach, a life coach, a business coach, or, like me, a dating coach – it’s that victim mode and the blame game will never allow you to grow, to make changes, to go in new directions in your life.
When you live in victim mode, you live by your excuses; you live in anger and fear; you shirk personal responsibility; you create narratives that allow you to stay in victimhood.
Your excuses, though, keep you safe; they allow you to be right; they keep your heart and ego protected; they are the reasons as to why you shouldn’t have to make changes or why you can’t overcome adversity.
But in life, and certainly in your dating life, the moment you stop making excuses is the moment you start looking for solutions. The moment you stop being a victim is the moment you step into your power.
As a dating coach, I’ve heard all the excuses. I’ve seen dating victimology rear its ugly head, again and again and again. Here are some generic examples:
- “I’m a 5’5” man. Women are so shallow, because they hate short men. I give up.”
- “I’m a smart, successful woman and men hate that. That’s why I’m single, because men are lame and just want secretaries for wives.”
- “It was all my ex’s fault. He wronged me and totally fucked me up.”
- “I’m so angry at my mom and/or dad; they screwed me up in x, y, and z ways.”
- “My work is too stressful and too busy to do x,y, and z in my love life.”
- “No matter how many times I go out and no matter what I do, I always meet jerks who screw me over.”
So now here are some counter thoughts for each one of the aforementioned quotes:
- I know a ton of short men who have wonderful partners. And what about this guy? No arms or legs and look at the babe he landed (and they just had a kid)! While your belief that short guys can’t meet women is your truth and it feels easier to lash out at all women as being shallow, that doesn’t make it true. Might it be a bit more difficult? Sure. But what’s the alternative? To sit and complain all day?
- I know a ton of smart, successful women who have wonderful, loving husbands and who love that their wives are smart and accomplished. What about this woman? While your belief that guys are intimidated and turned off by smart, successful women is your truth and it feels easier to lash out at all men as being wimps who are afraid of emasculation, that doesn’t make it true.
- Perhaps that relationship wasn’t so terrible inasmuch as it was a reflection of how you felt about yourself at the time. Perhaps there are clues, lessons for you to take away form that relationship. Perhaps you enabled bad behavior. Perhaps you didn’t set appropriate boundaries. What was your role in that relationship and why were you drawn to it?
- You can’t change the past, all you can do is seek to understand your parents, grieve over what was missing, and then step up and take responsibility for your thoughts and actions as an adult.
- Plenty of busy people have met significant others. I know a ton of men and women who had high-powered jobs and still found time for love. Is it easier to blame your job?
- Why is it that other women you know are meeting plenty of relationship-material men? Is it possible that you’re not noticing the good guys who make attempts at getting to know you and only thinking about the men who can allow you to remain in your victimhood?
I encourage you to ask yourself the following questions:
- Why am I stuck in my victimhood?
- What is it doing for me?
- What is the emotional payoff I get by being stuck?
- Is my desire to find love worth more than my pain and victimhood?
- How can I stop blaming ‘the other’ and start taking responsibility for my love life?
- How can I stop looking at the obstacles in my life as ones planted by others?
- How am I sabotaging myself by remaining in my dating victimology?
You may discover surprising answers to these questions when you really reflect on them.
Maybe you stay stuck in victimhood to hold power over someone’s head. To gain pity and sympathy from others. To whine and complain instead of turning the eye inwards. To stay safe so that you don’t have to risk in new ways or make an effort in your life.
Making changes in your dating life isn’t easy. Who ever said it would be? But the best way to get started is to say to yourself:
“I’m no longer a victim; things in my dating life don’t happen TO me; they happen FOR me. I refuse to let things outside of my control…well, control me. I’m no longer blaming anyone else for where I am. I take responsibility for the ways I choose to think and act in my dating life.”
We’ve all played the victim; it’s nearly impossible not to do. It’s a very seductive way of
thinking. But when you remain in victim mode in an area of your life that you want to change, you will rarely move forward in the ways you want to. As a dating coach, I help people get out of their victim mentality and recognize they are not a slave to their circumstances.
The buck stops with you, got it?