Poor Me—the Victim Stance
Poor me thinking is tempting. When things go badly, no matter why, it’s common at some point to wonder ‘why me?’ It can even be a spiritual or religious question, and a spiritual or religious crisis. At the root of poor me thinking is the belief that you don’t deserve what’s happened in your life. Also, there’s the belief that things happen to you, rather than that you contribute to your own life outcomes.
But I’ve Done This or That…
When self-pity arises there is often a feeling that since we’ve done this or that good thing, we should be exempted from bad luck. For example, people may say:
- But I’ve tried so hard
- But I work so hard
- But I do good things like take care of people
- But I believe in God
- But I pray
- But I’m a good person
These reactions are complaints about whatever has happened, and suggest that we just can’t comprehend why we were not immune. There can be these types of thinking errors as well as other erroneous thinking in such scenarios. For example, you might equate working hard, religious practice, taking care of others, and having faith, with some sort of entitlement. This thinking means that you separate yourself from others who do not do these things and feel you deserve different and better experiences somehow. The truth is that bad things happen to everyone at some time or in some way. None of we humans are exempt.
Another truth, and one that can be very hard to swallow, is that we create negative consequences in our own lives, too. All the bad things in life are not simply ‘luck’ or the lot of a human life. Many of us are very skilled at setting ourselves up for hard times. This can be particularly true when we grew up in a family that had an addicted member, when we are addicted ourselves, or when we love someone who is.
Self-sabotaging behavior has certain ‘rules’ and dynamics that set us up. And, these are largely unconscious. Therefore, overcoming self-sabotage requires that we first become conscious of our unconscious process. Secondly, we have to identify better coping strategies. This helps us know and acknowledge the deep roots of poor me thinking, giving us the opportunity to eliminate it and replace it with a healthy perspective. Doing so gives us a more accurate view of why certain things happen, and with that new understanding, we can grow and develop beyond it.