There are bad people in this world and they can do some very bad things. This makes me Captain Obvious, eh? Well here’s something that may not be so obvious. Sometimes, bad people are bad because they are playing the victim for attention or control. Yep, but my guess is that this was not much of a stunner to you either. You have very likely been the victim of someone playing the victim. The question is, did you know what the signs were?
Here are 6 of them.
P.S. — I won’t bother writing extensively about lying or fabricating stories, that one is just too obvious.
They routinely, politely, blow off your sympathy: Have you ever had an ex tell you things or do things that make you feel sorry for them and yet every time you show sympathy, they blow it off? They say things like, “Oh, it’s okay”, “it’s not your fault”, “I’ll be fine”, etc. Of course, they continue to say things in an attempt for elicit more of your thoughts. Fake victims will often reel you in and push away your sympathies so that they appear sincere and less self-serving.
They begin praising you, putting you on a pedestal: “You’re a great help, I don’t know what I would do without you”. This is what they say after the first time you meet one of their requests. The praise continues to grow, as does their dependence on you. They will play the victim, the needy but thankful one. Will you keep taking this bait?
They make sympathy posts about you and then deny the linkage: I once saw a guy post the following on Facebook. “Well, I guess it doesn’t matter how many times you apologize. Some people just have no heart to forgive.” Naturally, the post was showered with tons of comments of support and love, not to mention two dozen “Likes”. When his ex (whom he verbally battered while they were together) begged him to stop writing about their relationship, he denied any linkage, claimed to be talking about someone else, and called her paranoid.
Once an abuser, always an abuser. Exhibit A!
They share heartache and disappointment with mutual friends: Marty and Emily broke up but kept in contact with a lot of the same people. While Emily is being considerate in not dragging their friends into the fire, Marty has no problem talking to them about the relationship and all of the terrible things Emily did. What’s more, if you ask him his motivations, he’ll say something to the effect of, “I was just answering their questions” or “they noticed my loneliness and I didn’t want to deny them the opportunity to help”.
As if this were his true motivations. Insert eye roll.
They share heartache and disappointment with the children: This is, from my lens, the worst form of playing the victim. Todd is talking on the phone with one of his friends and, within earshot of his son, says “I don’t think I’ll be able to go. I can barely afford lunch most days. This spousal support is really hitting me hard”. His son, who sees his dad as a wonderful, awesome, ninja, begins feeling bad for him and talks to his mother about the situation.
There is no lower form of victim playing than one that involves concocting sympathy around your children so that they can play a big figural violin around their mother on your behalf. Unfortunately, this is a very common one.
They hold grudges: Go ahead and call your ex out on their B.S. and watch just how quickly they remind you of something you did, something that hurt them. Victim players love to remind you just how much you made their lives hell, all the while ensuring that your focus has been shifted from their shenanigans to your faults. Eventually, you’re defending yourself instead of focusing and forgetting completely about their B.S.
This list could have been two miles long but I will stop there. The bottom line is that playing the victim card is both common and lucrative. People can suck out a whole lot of sympathy and attention from the unwitting. You are not that person however. You’ve lived through shenanigans like the ones listed herein and now you are even better equipped to read and understand the signs earlier in the game.
What are some other things people to when playing the victim? I would love to see some of your comments.