Playing the Victim


When we talk about the word victim, most of us shy away from identifying with the word because it carries a negative connotation and we don’t want to be aligned with negative messages. But we all have played the victim at times in our lives. When we were little and we didn’t get the piece of candy that we wanted, we might respond to our parents by saying, “I never get any candy!” “You never give me what I want!” “You’re always too busy.” When we get into the teen years and begin to drive, we might have similar messages that we give to our parents. “You never let me drive!” “You don’t trust me!”

We might have been heard during our school years saying something like this. “I did terrible on the test!’ Only to find out that we aced it. We are playing the “wow me” card to get attention and get noticed. The victim is seeking to get attention and noticed for the circumstances they find themselves in. It is not a pretty situation to be in and those around us have a tendency to flee from our presence when we use the victim card.

The victim card can even be played with someone who seems to have it all together. Take the case of King Saul. He was the ruler of the nation of Israel. Over a million people were under his leadership. He had 400,000+ soldiers were at his beckon call. He had servants to make his food and serve him. He had servants to test and serve his wine. He had individuals who would collect taxes so that he never ran out of money. Horses. Chariots. Land. You name it he had it. Yet he fell into the victim mindset as can be seen in the following passage.

“Saul said to his servants, “Listen, men of Benjamin: Is Jesse’s son going to give all of you fields and vineyards? Do you think he’ll make all of you commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds? That’s why all of you have conspired against me! Nobody tells me when my own son makes a covenant with Jesse’s son. None of you cares about me or tells me that my son has stirred up my own servant to wait in ambush for me, as is the case today.”” 1 Samuel‬ ‭22:7-8‬ ‭CSB‬. “Why have all of you conspired against me?” He had a whole army with him were were going to battle with him and he makes the statement that ALL have conspired against him. “Nobody tells me when my own son makes a covenant with Jesse’s son”. NOBODY tells me anything. “None of you cares about me.” NONE cares about me, no one. Victims use negative all inclusive terms to define their present problems.

Have you ever said to your spouse or close friend, “You never listen to me.” “You’re never available”. “You don’t love me anymore”. “You never have anything nice to say to me.” I could go on, but you get the drift. Whenever we say things that have an all inclusive negative tone to them, there’s a good chance that we are playing the victim card.

On this journey we have the choice to focus on all the positive things that are happening in our lives today. Saul could have focused on all the positive things in his life, but he chose to focus on the negative. Our focus today is one of choosing to look at all the positive aspects that God has done in our lives to become a victor versus a victim.

About James Gorton

I am happily married to Nadine, a person I've known for 20+ years. She and her late husband owned Airpark Auto Service where I took my car for years. Four years after my wife died we began dating and the rest is history. We have a blended family of 6 children between us and love visiting them across this country. We recently had our third grandchild between us. We love to hike, bike and ski. I am a psychologist and do relational life coaching for marriages and families primarily. I love what I do and never get tired of seeing marriages and families move to more healthy places in their lives. Five years ago my oldest daughter Deborah encouraged me to begin writing my thought into a blog I call my Jlog (Jim's log). I have become more and more passionate in connecting everyday experiences to spiritual truths. I hope that as you read my Jlog, you will gain insight into your personal life and experience true growth in your personal and relational life.
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