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Last Updated on December 15, 2020

14 Clear Signs Someone Is Always Playing the Victim

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14 Clear Signs Someone Is Always Playing the Victim

How many of us have blamed our little sister or brother for breaking a family heirloom? How many of us have pointed the finger at our co-worker for screwing something up at work? Playing the victim is something many of us have done without even realizing it.

Unfortunately, playing the victim rarely gets anybody what they want. Furthermore, people that believe they are victims tend to push friends, family, and coworkers away.

Let’s look at 14 signs that someone is playing the victim card and what they need to do instead.

1. They Don’t Take Responsibility

When playing the victim, a person will refuse to take responsibility for the circumstance that they are in. Instead, they point the finger to make others feel guilty, or simply ignore their role in perpetuating the problem.

What’s the remedy here? Every circumstance, situation, and event in their life offers the victim an opportunity for growth. They may not be completely responsible for what has occurred, but they can always ask if they contributed somehow.

Asking this question invites a person to be responsible, mature, and cooperative. Plus, it will help them avoid similar situations in the future.

2. They Are Frozen in Their Life

Victims believe that they are at the mercy of everyone and everything around them. Usually, a victim will not make progress or advance in their life because they perceive that they are powerless. As a result, their life is stagnant.

If you were to ask them why, they would respond by giving you a laundry list of reasons why they are stuck. The real sticking point here is that the victim will not usually tell you what they plan to do about their lack of progress in life.

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In order to fix this, the so-called victim needs to see that small behaviors or changes in their attitude can reap big rewards. Try to help them make a list of small, achievable steps they can take towards a goal in their life. Hold them accountable and ask them to hold themselves accountable, too, in order to get them out of the role of victim.

3. They Hold Grudges

The victim likes to hang onto old grievances and make other people feel bad about their actions. They carry these around like weapons, just in case anyone ever tries to hold them accountable for something. A victim will bring up old memories and events in which they were probably legitimately hurt, but they use them as reasons why they can’t make changes to their attitude, their life, or their circumstances in the present.

To move forward and stop playing the victim, people engaging in this behavior need to see that keeping grudges is only holding them down. The victim needs to recognize that freeing others of blame is actually returning all power and self-control back to the victim.

4. They Have Trouble Being Assertive

The victim does not truly believe they can control their life, so they struggle to state what they need, desire, or deserve. The victim’s life will usually involve repeating patterns of submissiveness and passivity. This pattern is detrimental to self-esteem and personal development. The victim generally fails to break this pattern and suffers from potential anxiety or depressive disorders.

What’s the remedy here? A first recommendation is to seek help from a professional psychologist, counselor, or life coach. This is a chance for the victim to turn the direction of their life around.

Ultimately, learning to be assertive is not a quick fix[1]. It will take time, practice, learning, failing, and trying over and over. In the end, however, he/she will no longer feel that gnawing sense of powerlessness and self-pity that has kept them down for so long.

You can learn more on improving assertive communication skills here.

5. They Feel Powerless

This could be a shadow behavior, meaning that the victim does not outwardly show that they feel powerless. Instead, the victim will try to be manipulative, coercive, and underhanded in getting what they need.

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You may have dealt with someone experiencing this kind of powerlessness. Usually, the victim is someone that is suspicious of others, feels insecure, and is constantly needing to know the latest gossip while playing the victim.

As an outsider, do not play the game with them. Stay away from the game of sharing gossip, listening to their stories of manipulation, or engaging with their stories of insecurity. Let them know you’re there to support them and to listen to them, but not to contribute to their feeling of powerlessness.

6. They Don’t Trust Others

This issue is not only a problem of not trusting others. This is a problem of the victim not believing they are trustworthy themselves. The victim makes the assumption that other people are exactly like them: untrustworthy.

To help this issue, the victim must examine the evidence. There are trustworthy people in the world and people that want the best for you. It is the job of the victim to begin revising their old assumptions about people instead of always playing the victim.

7. They Don’t When Enough Is Enough

In relationships, victims have no sense of limits. They don’t know when to say enough is enough. They have a hard time creating boundaries, both for themselves and others.

To begin fixing this, boundaries are crucial. What is the maximum they are willing to take in a relationship, or in any given situation? It is the responsibility of the victim to decide these boundaries for themselves.

If you are a friend or loved one, you should also set boundaries with the “victim.” Decide how much of their victim behavior you’re willing to put up with before you bow out.

8. They Argue a Lot

The victim has trouble choosing their battles. To them, every battle is a war. They feel that they are under attack all the time and have a hard time realizing that not everything is about them.

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What’s the remedy here? The victim needs to realize that a difference of opinion or a piece of criticism is not necessarily about them. It could very well be about the other person. The victim must recognize they have a choice over whether they allow themselves to enter into petty arguments and decide what it’s worth to them.

9. They Feel Self-Pity

Victims have a habit of pitying themselves. Their mirror reflects a defenseless child that cannot fend for itself. Since other people do not usually show them sympathy or empathy, they try to give it to themselves, only to potentially appear immature to others. This further traps them and keeps them playing the victim.

The victim needs to recognize that all people have tough days and experience bad events. Even the luckiest people experienced unfortunate events. S/he must learn to avoid thinking that they are the only person in the world that has experience sad, difficult, or unfair circumstances[2].

10. They Constantly Compare Themselves to Others

The victim usually struggles with the habit of comparing themselves to others negatively. The truth is that we are all lacking in some respect compared to others, so it will always be easy to engage in this behavior or train of thought.

In order to improve this, the victim needs to change their view. They must recognize that they have good qualities and likely have experienced privileges, too. This will also help their mental health overall. 

11. They See Life as Always Lacking

Even when something good happens, the victim will seek out what’s lacking or what’s missing. The victim will complain about complaining, and then complain that they can’t stop complaining.

Instead, they should count their blessings, The victim needs to treasure each good thing in their life and develop a new habit of being positive and optimistic through gratitude. They should aim to be the most thankful and hopeful person they can be.

12. They Are Critical

The victim has a need to put others down and find fault in people in order to feel good about themselves. By doing these things, they get a fleeting sense of superiority by playing the victim.

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What’s the remedy here? The victim should take all their energy and use it to build others up. This will reflect back on them in a positive way, too.

13. They Think They Are Perfect

Ironically, when there is a chance that a victim could be caught in an error, they suddenly become perfect. This arrogance and narcissism closes the victim off from having truly trustworthy and cooperative relationships.

Instead of thinking this way, they need to remove the word “perfect” from their vocabulary and accept that they are human and naturally imperfect. In fact, the victim needs to realize that the more they own their mistakes and failings, the more others will gravitate towards them.

14. They Cut People out of Their Life

If a victim faces a difficult or challenging moment with someone in their life, they’re likely to respond by cutting someone out of their life. This highly emotional behavior creates chaotic relationships.

The victim needs to recognize their pattern of cutting people off, as this usually doesn’t lead to the resolution of problems and conflict. They could always take a different, more positive approach, such as letting people know their feelings instead.

The Bottom Line

In the end, playing the victim doesn’t get you anywhere. The victim will end up facing painful consequences in their life and relationships if they do not change their behavior by taking constructive criticism and turning it into positive action.

As with most things in life, alternative options are there. We just have to be willing to look for them and make a start.

More on Identifying Victim Behavior

Featured photo credit: LoboStudio Hamburg via unsplash.com

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Reference

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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