Attention-seeking victim

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 Permalink

I like to play the victim. I know, I know, this shocks the pants off you. But it’s true. I suspect it’s cos I often feel sorry for myself and my pitiful existence, and generally want to ensure others do too. Okay… well, while that statement’s a bit extreme (these things pop out of my mouth / fingertips) it’s kinda true.

I often feel hard-done-by for a range of reasons, and I want others to agree. I’m sure there’s some logical reason behind this, because even I – in my saner moments – know that my life really doesn’t suck.

Sure I am (and may always be) single and childless, but I just bought myself a cute little (albeit) used Mercedes Benz for fuck’s sake. I have a lovely apartment that the bank and I own. I have a mother who is incredibly supportive and devoted, and old and faithful friends and family I see from time to time. I have job security, and I have my health. Well, hopefully.

But, regular readers would be aware that I’m always a bit ‘woe-is-me’ ish. And I can almost pinpoint when this started because I remember the conversations with my childhood best friend and realisation that rather than trying to impress each other, we were suddenly doing the opposite. You know:

“I’ve barely studied for this exam. I’m not going to do very well.”
“Well, I’ve done no study, so I’m gonna fail.”

“I can’t afford to do anything this week.”
“Well, I can’t afford to eat for the next month.”

I still remember getting off the telephone one night about 25 years ago when we were both at University and living at opposite ends of the city and wondering when we went from trying to have the other see us as an ‘achiever’ and instead aspire for their pity or sympathy. Instead of vying for supremacy at school or in sport, we were vying to be the most disadvantaged.

But, despite this, it occurs to me that – on occasion – I do try to impress others in a ‘look at me, look at me’ 5 year old kind of way.

attentionseekersAnother blogger recently cringed about their behaviour at an event where they realised they were seeking the attention of an esteemed visitor. Many of those commenting on the post confessed to similar behaviour. As did I.

Shameful but true. Or perhaps it’s just human nature.

Although I’d eye-roll at someone else obviously big-noting themselves, I do it all of the bloody time. And I hate it.

I’ll find myself dropping something into a conversation about my previous (far more exciting or impressive) jobs or life. Or, I’ll want to make sure that someone knows something about me so they don’t just judge me as the person they see before them.

It’s like I’m saying, “I’m more than this!”

Part of me would prefer I keep my big mouth shut and let others discover my amazingness themselves and be gobsmacked given my unassuming behaviour (Yes Sheldon, that WAS sarcasm*). But I can’t let it go. It’s almost like I sit there and wait for an opportunity to impress.

Be who you want to be, not what others want to seeIt seems kinda bizarre – this need to WOW others; given my concurrent yearning for pity or sympathy. Although… this entire post goes to show that I’m way more focussed on what others’ think than I should be.

Yet one more thing I obviously need to work on!

Does anyone else worry about their behaviour… or is it just me?

*Big Bang Theory reference, for non-fans of the show!

  • Sasha
    February 22, 2012

    Oh yes. I worry about my behaviour. I worry about my writing. I worry about my work. I’ll bet I worry EVEN MORE THAN YOU DO. 😛

  • Debbish
    February 22, 2012

    Ha Sasha… impossible. NO ONE could worry about stuff more than I do! (Actually I’m sure that’s not true. I just verbalise my worries. CONSTANTLY!)


  • KCLAnderson (Karen)
    February 23, 2012

    If I am correct and I am that other blogger, then you know the answer. And it’s okay. We’re okay.

    • Debbish
      February 23, 2012

      You are Karen – I was being subtle/discreet! (Supposedly!) I have to say, I was comforted by the number of comments confessing they did the same thing. I thought it was just me and felt a certain amount of shame because of it!

      A commenter on Twitter pointed out that essentially ‘playing the victim’ is also attention seeking behaviour, which I guess I hadn’t entirely considered. Hmmmm……

  • Marion
    February 24, 2012

    It’s like saying, “I’m more than this!”<<I know what you're saying.

    I don't think I play the victim, but I do play myself up at times–because I often am more than others think I am. I'm trying to say, "Don't you dare underestimate me!"

    🙂 Marion

    • Debbish
      February 25, 2012

      Yes, I definitely understand where you’re coming from Marion!

  • inkessence
    February 27, 2012

    I worry about my behavior all the time… seems that I also like to play the victim at times. It’s a bad habit to get into.

    • Debbish
      February 27, 2012

      Very true. And if you’re like me you know you’re doing it but can’t stop yourself. I hear myself and cringe!


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