By Katie & Gay Hendricks
Have you ever felt wronged in your relationship? Or rather… that you had a right to be right?
Take this typical scenario:
You’ve had a long day. You’ve been up since the crack of dawn. You made up the bed (because your partner forgot to), you got the kids ready for school – and you helped them with their homework. You made dinner. AND you had your own work to deal with on top of that.
Your partner, on the other hand, has had a pretty easy day. He or she comes home all chipper, reporting a big win at work. Maybe he was even treated to lunch by the boss.
So at the end of the day, all you want to do is tune in and tune out to a favorite TV show.
It’s the least you can ask for, right?
And you can’t believe it when your partner wants control of the remote.
Wait a minute. Doesn’t he realize that it’s your turn to relax and unwind? Shouldn’t he give in a little?
So you let your point of view be known: you’ve clearly had a tougher day, and you should get a little kick back for it. And before you know it, you’re wrapped up in a surge of conflict – probably the kind of fight you’ve had more than once.
In the scenario above, it’s easy to feel like the victim. You feel like you’ve had the rougher day, and your partner’s dash for the remote control seems to wipe it all out in the blink of an eye. Doesn’t he realize what you’ve been through in the past 12 hours?
And the truth is, maybe you did have a more challenging day. Maybe your partner should be more sensitive and realize that you should get a chance to call the shots now that the kids have gone to bed.
Conflicts like this usually escalate. Your partner never understands how much you do around the house. You’re always the one who is overworked and under-rested.
Soon, you’re not just debating about the remote, but about your entire relationship – and how you’re the one who always gets the short end of the stick.
In short, you’re the victim.
We’re talking about control of the TV after a long day, but this exchange could really be about anything: how your partner never listens to you, why you’re always going along with what he says, or what you should do about a certain investment.
If you’re feeling short-changed, you’ve cast yourself in the role of victim – someone who deserves sympathy and wants a certain outcome by fixing blame on someone else. In this case, it’s your partner.
But here’s a revelation: even if you are being wronged and you want change, being the victim never works.
Why? Because the moment you cast yourself in the role of victim, you immediately place your partner in the role of villain or perpetrator.
And nobody wants to be the villain.
When one person claims the role of victim, the other person will rush to evade the designation of villain. They’ll then try to prove why she or he is in fact the victim:
What are you talking about? I’ve had weeks and weeks of crunch time at work – and the ONE day things let up for me, I’m not allowed to chill out a little?
So, you end up with a situation where each person is trying to one-up the other for the title of victim.
And it never works – even in cases where someone is actually the guilty party. Think of characters like Tony Soprano – even the clearest of bad guys don’t think they’re in the wrong.
When you find yourself claiming the role of victimhood, there is usually an underlying desire for change. In the case of the remote-control scenario, you want:
Yet instead of communicating about these things, you cop-out by fixing blame on your partner. What’s more, you might think that if you don’t stick up for yourself, things will never get better.
But as we’ve seen, slipping into the role of victim never works.
So what does?
Communication, as we’ve hinted, is one way out of the fruitless victim/villain scenario.
Working as a team to arrive at a mutually-beneficial outcome is another.
And claiming total responsibility – rather than blaming your partner – is key.
These three strategies are critical to resolving relationship conflict. That’s why we have worked for more than 30 years, helping couples identify these problems and apply these strategists.
We actively coach individuals through our Newsletters, and we give tools and tips that guide you through examples and scenarios… stopping you from rushing to the Victim role, and helping you (and your partner) take full responsibility every time.
We’ll uncover the source of your fighting and teach you the same tools we use every day to keep blame and criticism at bay in our relationship.
Sign up today, and start learning why you have the same fights over and over again, and how to discover a whole new way of being with your partner – so that you can feel joyfully connected, appreciated, and heard. So that you both feel like you’re getting a fair deal out of the relationship.
If you’ve fallen into the victim trap, you’re not wrong. You’ve merely slipped into a relationship dynamic that is very common. And it’s also correctable.
You can choose whether to experience heartache or harmony in your relationship. We look forward to guiding you on the path to relationship bliss.