Roots of the Victim Mentality

The first song written and directed by the Eagles when the band reunited after its 14-year breakup was “Get Over It.” It’s a song of protest against the constant whining and complaining of the victim mentality. You might know these opening lyrics:

I turn on the tube and what do I see
A whole lotta people cryin' "Don't blame me"
They point their crooked little fingers at everybody else
Spend all their time feelin' sorry for themselves
Victim of this, victim of that
Your momma's too thin; your daddy's too fat
Get over it
Get over it
All this whinin' and cryin' and pitchin' a fit
Get over it, get over it.
We can “get over it” more easily when we understand the unconscious compulsion that many people have to experience themselves as a victim. We find it easy to play the victim role in life and even to indulge in the feeling of it. Often the problem starts with our temptation to blame our parents for our problems.

Yes, we may have had dysfunctional—even ignorant and cruel—parents. Nonetheless, if we want to move forward into success and happiness, we have to become responsible for how, as adults, we’re experiencing our life right now. A person can go on complaining about injustices done to him by his parents, but if he wants to get rid of the bad feelings and become a happy person, he has to become responsible for the fact that he is unconsciously choosing to go on experiencing those bad feelings. This means he has to own them as his own negativity. Blaming his parents solves nothing and only validates his determination to go on suffering.

This all makes sense to us when we study the origins in the psyche of our negativity. To repeat, we begin to see how and why we choose unconsciously to continue recycling old hurts and negative emotions from our past. In other words, we expose the game we're playing of covering up our own collusion in our suffering.

We start by studying the operations in our psyche whereby we choose to maintain, replay, and repeat whatever painful emotions are unresolved from our past. Such negative emotions include feeling deprived, refused, helpless, controlled, criticized, rejected, betrayed, and abandoned. As mentioned, we partake in this painful processing at an unconscious level, meaning that we’re not aware of choosing to suffer in this manner. We simply believe that our suffering is caused by the malice that others allegedly inflict upon us. We use psychological defenses—again unconsciously—to cover up our participation in our own suffering. We have to become conscious of what has previously been unconscious.

One of our major defenses—blaming—convinces us that we’re victims of the neglect or malice of others. We blame these others, sometimes in anger, for our problems. Sometimes we’re angry at life itself and feel defeated by our circumstances. The more anger we feel, the more we’re succeeding in fooling ourselves through this defense of blaming.

It’s seriously challenging for people to come to terms with this idea that we fully participate in our own suffering, self-defeat, and sense of being victimized. Instinctively, we want to deny (another defense) our collusion in our unhappiness. If we get past denial, we then have to deal with our resistance, which is our reluctance to study self-knowledge and to grow from it.

If you’re willing to look into this paradox of human nature, the information at this website is dedicated to helping you.