I wish I understood what was wrong with me, and why I cry and get so upset when I feel mistreated or cheated by people or life. For example, if I buy something and it breaks and I try to take it back to the store, but they won't make it right. This situation could make me cry, in the store, which embarrasses my kids. I feel so mistreated it hurts, and I think I'm hoping the person will feel sorry enough for me, and they will treat me better. It's humiliating to admit this, but I often complain and cry about how hard I work and that it does no good, life always goes against me anyway. I complain about my hard lot in life way more than I should. I hate this about myself but don't know how to stop feeling this way. Can you help me?
It sounds like you are suffering from a subconscious victim mentality. Many of us learned as children to use self-pity to get sympathy love. Psychologists tell us the ideas, beliefs or behavior patterns we learn in childhood often become the rules that dictate the way we respond as an adult, even if they are ineffective and immature. Dr. Eric Berne wrote an interesting book back in 1964 called "Games People Play." In it he describes some subconscious psychological behaviors we use to get attention, validation, love or power (getting people to do what we want them to). I wrote a whole article on this last year you might want to read.
The Sympathy Card Game is one of the most popular games people play. This happens when you constantly talk about how bad you have it, how terrible you are, or how no one loves you or cares about you to get validation, love or reassurance from other people. People play this game on social media when they post things like “worst day ever” but they don’t leave an explanation about what happened. They do this because they are subconsciously wanting people to prove they care and ask what happened. This game is a subtle (and very immature) way to get love and attention and brings with it a high cost. You may get sympathy love, but because you are acting weak, you usually lose people's respect. They may give you what you want, but they won't necessarily like you either.
It would serve us all to take a minute and ask ourselves the following questions just to make sure we aren’t subconsciously playing the victim:
You could believe the universe is working for you and conspiring to serve you and educate you at every turn. If you see life this way, then the fear of loss, which is behind self-pity, will disappear. If everything that happens to you, is here to bless and serve you, is it really a loss? Or is it a hidden blessing to make you stronger, wiser or more loving? I explain this perspective shift in more detail in my book "Choosing Clarity," you may want to read it if you need more help with this one.
If you will work on these six things, you can break free from the victim mentality, see your life (accurately) as a classroom and you should cry less.
If you are reading this article while in the middle of suffering through some of life's horrible challenges, please understand this is a process. It is normal to feel like a victim when you have been victimized. You just don't want to live there forever. I strongly recommend working with a professional to help you find peace and joy again.
You can do this.
FOR MORE FREE
Coaching is less expensive than you think - If you need help we can find you a coach you can afford.
Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.