When we believe we’re not enough or something’s wrong with us, we also begin to compensate by choosing new thoughts to make us feel safe and okay. So we say things to ourselves like: “I didn’t do anything wrong; they did it to me.” Or, “There’s nothing I can do. Other people are the source of my problem.” And that’s where our victim thinking begins. The purpose of these thoughts is to stop us from feeling guilty – by putting responsibility onto others and stopping us from looking inside, because that would be too painful. However, this thinking also stop us from seeing the real source of our bad feelings.
I once heard a church minister state that this blaming mentality started with Adam and Eve. Not that this is the truth or not but I loved the perspective. He said that when God asked him why he ate of the tree of knowledge, Adam blamed both God and Eve, saying something like “it was because of this woman you gave me”. Implying of course that it was god’s fault for giving Adam the woman.
To make ourselves feel better, we may then start seeing ourselves as superior to others. We become the ‘heroes,’ or the ‘innocent’ ones, the ones who are doing our best – while we tell ourselves that others aren’t. “If only other people cared more or tried harder, the world would be a better place,” we think to ourselves. Or we may go the other way. We may start to see ourselves as inferior and feel sorry for ourselves. Thoughts of being hard done by or ‘poor me’ start to grow within us. The purpose of these thoughts is to make us feel okay by having “reasons” for our problems, and to elicit sympathy or caring from others. But in the end, both approaches keep us small, and result in a constant feeling of discomfort which we are driven to escape.
We’ll also try to ‘protect’ ourselves by judging and criticizing others. This makes us feel better by seeing others as the source of our problems. However, eventually this turns into CHRONIC blaming and complaining about people – a key trait of all addicts that I’ve known (including myself). And step by step, we come to see ourselves as victims, not responsible for our life.
Each and every one of these behaviours is a logical response to not feeling good enough. But with each of these ‘choices,’ we are actually burying or forgetting our true self. We use them to make ourselves feel safe, instead of growing. To mask our real thoughts and feelings, instead of being honest. To hide, instead of being seen. And eventually, we start to forget how we really feel and what we really want inside.