Trapped in a victim triangle

A person who plays a victim is usually miserable and unhappy. She despises herself, as she does not like nor respect herself.

In her life, she tends to depend on others in a demanding, manipulative and self-defeating way.

In her relationship she confuses feeling pity and sorry with love. She expresses her affections this way and expects to be loved also like this. But as she a has low opinion of herself and feels she does not deserve love. She creates a lot of tension and storms in the relationships and exposes herself to disappointment, humiliation or betrayal. As a suspicious and jealous person she provokes dramatic scenes which induce other people to rejection and leaving her.

The victim cannot stand people who get (in her opinion) more attention, or interest, or care than she does. In such situations she manifests her discontent and hostility and holds a grudge against them.

Her jealousy and resentment can also refer to children and be shown as a passive-aggressive attitude, full of criticizing, underestimating them and controlling. She may also keep withdrawing her support or emotional closeness when children need them from her.


The Sieve Syndrome*

A victim remains helpless and powerless and this is her comfort zone. It means she is afraid of any success and of her own strength or ability to achieve something in life. She always finds excuses and reasons why she failed in order to not feel guilty. Any fiasco is usually because of bad luck, deliberate action of malicious people or some higher power working against her.

There’s always something or someone else to blame. This way she can constantly be a victim of unfortunate circumstances and never takes any responsibility for her own decisions and choices. She uses this victim consciousness to protect herself from other people’s anger. She is able to alter someone’s resentment or ire into pity and compassion.

When you listen to her you get an impression that no one tries so hard or works as much as she does. No one faces so many problems and adversity in life. No one feels so overloaded and exhausted. So she feels extremely tired at the same time achieving nothing.

She often manifests that she cannot rely on others as people always deceive her. Because of that, she decides she does not need anyone from now on. She wants to show and to prove everyone how strong and coping she is. But when you look closer you can see, created in purpose by her, artificial situations and dramas or problems that really do not exist.

The Sieve Syndrome means setting goals low or not achieving them at all due to a lack of personal power and learned helplessness. It means maintaining the attitude of being a loser in life and a victim of others. It also relates to a narrow perception of relationships as scenes for dramas and acting out.


Trapped in the Victim Patterns. Test*

To find out if you have the victim triangle syndrome present in your life take this self-diagnosis test. Score 10 points for each T-true answer, 1 for each F-false one, zero if N/A – not applicable.

1./ I am unhappy and do not feel in control of these areas of my life

– romantic relationship, marriage T/F

– family T/F

– relationship with children T/F

– intimacy, closeness, sex T/F

– friendship, social life T/F

– money, finances T/F

– school T/F

– work T/F

– managing stress and tension, immunity, health  T/F

– food, sweets, chocolate  T/F

– alcohol T/F

– tobacco T/F

– pills, painkillers, supplements T/F

– drugs T/F

– internet, shopping T/F

– other T/F

2./ When you feel out of control, you tend to blame others:

– your children T/F

– your partner, husband, wife T/F

– your parents, grandparents T/F

– your boss T/F

– your colleagues, associates, friends T/F

– random people T/F

– the government

3./ One of more of your family members thinks suffering is a virtue

– you T/F

– your brother/s T/F

– your sister/s T/F

– your mother T/F

– your father T/F

– your partner, wife, husband T/F

– grandfather T/F

– grandmother T/F

– aunt T/F

– uncle T/F

4./ You often feel sorry and pity for yourself T/F. Reason:

5./ You often feel sorry for other people:

– your mother T/F Reason:

– your father T/F Reason:

– your daughter T/F Reason:

– your son T/F Reason:

– your partner, wife, husband T/F Reason:

– your friend T/F Reason:

– your colleagues or associates T/F Reason:

– your neighbour T/F Reason:

– other people T/F Reason:

6./  Your children have absorbed the ‘poor me’ attitudes and often show how much they are sorry for themselves T/F

7./ You help people sometimes neglecting or sacrificing yourself or at the expense of your family needs T/F

8./ You often feel sorry for hurt or stray animals and you want to take them home T/F

9./ You often feel like a martyr. You feel like you always have to sacrifice yourself T/F

10./ A member of your family feels like a martyr T/F

11./ You experience a lot of guilt feelings in your life T/F

12./ You use guilt to control your children T/F

13./ You feel like bad or horrible things always happen to you and your family T/F

14./ You seem always to work very hard but no one sees that or appreciates T/F

15./ You do so many good things but no one notices them T/F

16./ You feel like people always nitpick on you T/F

17./ My parents used guilt to control or manipulate me T/F

18./ As a child you were a victim of

– physical abuse T/F

– emotional abuse T/F

– sexual abuse T/F

19./ There was violence in the family I come from

– emotional T/F

– physical T/F

– sexual T/F

20./ My parents or one of them used to have a problem with alcohol when I was a child or still are/is addicted T/F

21./ My grandparents or one of them used to have a problem with alcohol  T/F

22./ Complete the sentences below:

My _____________________________ felt / still feel sorry for me because _________________ T/F

My _____________________________ felt / still feel sorry for me because _________________ T/F

Score 65 – 100: You have a victim syndrome present in your life. You should look for therapy and support in order break free from it and develop healthy relationships with yourself and others.

Score 101 – 120: You have a victim syndrome intensively present in your life. Therapy is highly recommended in order to prevent stress-related illness.

Score above 120: You are deeply entangled in the victim patterns. Immediate therapy is necessary in order to prevent stress-related illnesses as well as further troubles in your life.

* Developed on the basis of ‘Breaking Free from the Victim Trap’ by Diane Zimberoff, M.A.

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