Do You Use Victim Language?

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Have you ever noticed a friend who always seems to be blaming others for what’s going on in their life?  And maybe you’ve noticed that same tendency in yourself — it’s something you most likely picked up as a kid by modeling adults around you, and have been unconsciously using all your life.

What is “victim language” anyway? You don’t have to be in a blatantly abusive relationship to talk like a victim of circumstances. Victim language goes hand-in-hand with a pattern of thinking that revolves around looking outside of yourself for reasons why you feel the way you do.  This pattern invites reactions like blaming and pointing fingers at others, as well as making excuses for your own results by listing all the reasons you can’t do something you want to do. Those reasons might seem very logical — the economy, the housing market downturn, job unemployment rate, your personal level of education and experience — but looking “out there” actually puts you in a state of victimhood, because your belief system says that there’s nothing you can do. You’re helpless in the face of all “that” (whatever “that” might be at any time, including the actions of spouse or family members or your boss, etc.)

These are typical phrases that are victim-point-of-view:

  • He makes me so mad!
  • What can you expect in this economy?
  • There’s nothing I can do about this — my boss is an idiot
  • I can’t get a better job because I don’t have that kind of education
  • If it wasn’t for (insert person’s name), I’d have a great life (or I’d be happy, etc.)

Make a quick shift in how you feel about yourself and gain control over your own destiny by doing this:

  • Change your sentence structure from “He makes me mad…”  to “I feel mad when this happens.”
  • Watch out for the temptation to blame conditions outside of you for the results you’re having, and take responsibility for your own work
  • Look for ways that you can be accountable in your words for your own thoughts, feelings and actions
  • Stop making excuses for yourself when you don’t get what you want
  • Work out an action plan and move forward to your goals day by day

When we all work together to take responsibility for our own emotions and not blame others for how we are feeling inside, life runs much more smoothly and harmoniously.  Try it on, and let me know what happens!

to empowering language,

Evelyn Brooks


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