6 Surprising Ways to Beat Buttholes, Bullies, and Victimization

In Body + Mind on

Over this last few weeks, Etsy made a lot of changes. Every time Etsy makes big changes, the forums devolve into panicking, complaining, advice, complaining about complaining, accusations of “meanness”, unicorn-bearing mood lighteners, and complainers who complain about the people complaining about all the complaining.

It’s a jolly good time.

You’ve probably seen this kind of thing happen on social media, with family, or at work. Conflict, victims, jerks, heroes. In those moments, the situation can seem like a hurrinadonami has catapulted itself into the lives of all present and destroyed everything they care about in one fell, very wet and ultimately disastrous swoop.

These are first world problems, but they can seem like end world catastrophes.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
Eleanor Roosevelt

It played out in my personal life a few years ago. My older sister freaked when I blogged some stories about our childhood. She called in my parents (the rescuers) who freaked some more. I felt victimized, attacked from all sides, and blamed all of them for my pain. It wasn’t until I stopped expecting them to solve my sadness and asserted myself that I began to feel normal again.

All of these situations are examples of the drama triangle playing out. One (person or group) feels attacked, so he calls himself a victim. Believing himself ill-equipped to handle this persecution, he seeks someone else to save him. This triangle plays out in micro-cultures and much larger environments every day.

Underlying it all?

  • People feeling victimized by one or many “mean” entities,
  • People blaming some scapegoat for harming him,
  • Rage at or dismissal of anyone who offers self-directed help,
  • A lack of accountability and personal responsibility on all sides

I believe a lot of victimization and persecution, bullies and targets, “meanies” and “wimps” is perception not reality. A person who fends off someone’s aggression just sees aggression, not an overpowering bully, meanie, or attacker. Without a sense of powerlessness, fear, and a lack of personal responsibility, a person has no reason to call himself a victim.

I think aggressively seeking self-accountability is a fine solution to the anxiety that accompanies dramatic environments. Helplessness has no home where people say, “This happened” instead of “He did that to me”. Personal responsibility kicks in when we say, “I’m uncomfortable so I’m going change that” instead of “It’s your fault I’m uncomfortable and you should change that for me”.

When we feel sure and capable, we don’t become victims but protect ourselves with confidence. We don’t climb onto a drama triangles, compelled to attack, claim the victim, or solve anyone’s problems for him. We don’t complain or judge, we solve. And most of all, we accept the realities before us, recognize our roles in our situations, and manage our own damn lives.

So how can a person take responsibility for himself without pointing fingers and getting even more frustrated?

  1. Put it in Perspective. Sometimes things seem like a such a big stinking deal when they’re no big whoop in the grand scheme. If you’re alive and not in massive physical pain, you might be doing okay. So when you’re uncomfortable, try to remember it’s not the apocalypse, but a temporary ickiness. And it will all be fine in just a little bit.
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  2. Evaluate Your Needs, Not Their Actions. People often focus on how “the other” done them wrong rather than on what they actually want. Victims must stop seeking a scapegoat that’s holding us back and decide what we want and how to get it. Moving our perspective from “Woe is me. Did you see what they did to push me down?” to “Yay for me. Did you see what I did to pull myself up?”
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  3. Seek Solutions Over Validation. People who seek coddles through complaining, validation over self-empowering solutions, and heroes to do their dirty work will be trapped in victim ideology as long as the goal remains comfort. To shift the goal to self-driven solutions, we have to stop complaining about problems and face discomfort and fear head on. Risking pain for incredible gains.
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  4. Find Your Culpability. In almost every interaction, at least two parties contributed to make it what it was. The angry Etsy sellers chose to create a business in someone else’s back yard. I couldn’t foresee the ramifications of my family blogging. If we figure out our roles and own that responsibility hard core, we begin to realize we have a play in everything that happens to us.
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  5. Decide Everything Is A Choice. If we hate a job, we choose to stay or quit based on our desires. If Etsy changes, we choose to adapt or leave. If someone insults us, we choose to attack him or seek the nugget of truth. Every experience we have involves a choice we make. And we can choose to feel victimized or we can choose to assert ourselves.
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  6. Empower Yourself to Action. Using your most effective skills is the most powerful way to change your role in any situation. It means solving your own problems instead of seeking others to do it for you. Etsy sellers can take charge when problems happen or sell elsewhere. Job-haters can reeducate themselves or polish their resumes. Action is much more powerful than validation.

This philosophy isn’t about excusing poor behavior from others, but about trusting yourself when someone treats you poorly or something goes wrong. I’m still concerned about Etsy’s changes, but I also know I can handle my customers, my business, and myself – whatever happens. My relationship with both my sister and parents has changed, but I like myself a lot more. Fully understanding and embracing your power happens when you take responsibility for your life.

Otherwise, you’re just a whiny, powerless little victim in a sad little world where nobody is obsessing over your personal needs 24/7..

Comments (3)

  1. Steph 2 weeks ago

    Yes, yes, yes! Playing the victim is a huge pet peeve of mine. You said it perfectly with “Helplessness has no home where people say, “This happened” instead of “He did that to me”.

    Sometimes it’s hard for us to accept that our businesses or relationships might be failing because of our own actions. It’s easy to blame others for being “mean”. I was that way myself at one point. And you know what? It was depressing! Feeling like I was totally helpless all the time. To hell with that.

    Sometimes our big girl panties give us a wedgie, but we can either complain about it, or pull those mf-ers out of our ass. I chose to pull them out and slingshot them across the room.

    • Author
      Jen 2 weeks ago

      Here here! I was that way, too. It’s pretty hard to see it in yourself. What helped you?

      For me it was time, self-examination, looking critically at myself, and deciding I wanted a different kind of life.

      • Steph 1 week ago

        I spent too many years in an emotionally abusive relationship, worked at a job that sucked the very life out of me, and spent a lot of time bitching and moaning about how everyone else had it so good, while I was left driving the struggle bus. One day while throwing myself a great big pity party, my husband (not the abusive jerk, for clarity) looked at me and said, “So fix it.”

        I was appalled! Offended! How dare he suggest I could do something about all these miserable things in my life. And then it just kind of clicked. If you want it, go get it. Make it happen. And if you can’t then reevaluate, try again, or try something else entirely.

        I won’t lie, I still have my moments, but they are getting much less frequent, and I’m able to walk away from it and say “Ok, I had my fit, now what am I going to to about it.”

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