My ex was the ultimate victim. Someone was always out to get him, mistreating him or, expecting too much of him. He was also passive-aggressive as hell. When we divorced he accused me of abusing and taking advantage of his “good nature.”
What had I done? I had always chosen what movies we went to on movie nights. Yep, the passive man who laid every decision at my feet. Whose typical response was, “whatever you want to do,” decided to dredge up 20 years of me always getting to pick the movies.
And, of course, he has a long list of movies he never got to see because of my abuse. This guy never had an opinion on anything. Where we ate when we ate out. Where we went when we went on vacation. He didn’t have an opinion but he was adept at keeping a running tally of all the things I had “forced” him to do over the years.
It’s so typically passive aggressive!
Below is what I learned about victimhood and passive-aggressive behaviour from my ex.
The passive aggressive feel they are treated unfairly. If you get upset because he or she is constantly late, they take offense because, in their mind, it was someone else’s fault that they were late. The passive aggressive is always the victim of your unreasonable expectations, an over-bearing boss or that slow clerk at the convenience store.
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Why Does the Passive Aggressive Play the Victim Role?
I find human behaviour fascinating. Not only human behavior but the reasons behind the behaviour. There is a pay-off for all of us when it comes to the way we conduct ourselves in life. If we weren’t getting something out of it, we wouldn’t be doing it. Simple huh? Simple until you become involved with a passive aggressive.
What is the pay-off for the passive-aggressive who plays the victim? It is a ploy they use to turn the tables and make them appear to be the injured party. The passive aggressive knows something about the person they are intimately involved with. They know that most people involved with a passive aggressive are empathetic, most are co-dependent and most don’t like the idea of others suffering… in other words, they are very easily manipulated. That is the pay-off, being in a relationship that enables them to have the upper hand.
In What Ways Does Playing the Victim Pay-Off?
- If you are the “victim,” you don’t have to take responsibility for any problems in the relationship.
- If you are the “victim,” you don’t have to take responsibility for any bad behaviors.
- If you are the “victim” you can blame others for your failures.
- If you are the “victim” your dissatisfaction is always someone else’s fault.
- If you are the “victim” you don’t have to be responsible for your own life.
My sons have been exposed to their father’s victim mentality. A glaring example of the ploy used in his need to be the victim is how he dismisses them and then acts as if he is the injured party. For example, he refused their request for him to visit them. His response to them was, “you know where I am, you can come see me anytime you wish.” In his skewed perception of reality, it was his son’s place to maintain a relationship with him and when they did not put any effort into that, he was the victim of their abandonment.
It did not occur to him that his refusal to visit, write, call, send Christmas gifts or show any interest in their life plainly showed him to be the victimiser, not the victim. His only concern was rebuilding his life and having an excuse for not including his sons in his life. What better excuse than being the victim of your son’s abandonment? His new circle of family and friends don’t know his sons, don’t know the issues surrounding his divorce and you can bet, being passive aggressive means he once again surrounded himself with people who didn’t like to see others suffer.
His friends and new family see him as the long-suffering man who “wishes” his relationship with his sons could be different.
He tells them that he will always be there for his sons if they ever seek him out for a relationship. Just imagine the outpouring of sympathy he gets? It keeps him from having to accept responsibility for his behaviour toward his sons and helps him hold onto the wounded, good guy image that is important to many passive aggressives.
How do You Keep From Becoming the Victim of a Victimiser?
Get rid of self-doubt. If you are in a relationship with a passive aggressive the manipulation is meant to cause you to doubt what you do, what you hear, what you see and what you experience. If you give into the manipulative ploys of the passive-aggressive, you will soon not know which end is up. Somewhere inside is the nagging voice that something isn’t right. Do not ignore that voice!
- Don’t make excuses for bad behaviour.
- Don’t feel guilty if your passive aggressive doesn’t like the boundaries you’ve set.
- Don’t allow anyone to disregard your emotional needs or doubt that you have a right to your needs being met.
- Don’t accept a refusal to communicate marital problems.
- Don’t settle for less than you want from your spouse emotionally or intimately.
- Don’t make yourself responsible for his/her hurtful words and actions.
- Don’t take responsibility for their problems.
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The passive aggressive rarely takes responsibility for being the sole owner of their choices in life.
In fact, they become too addicted to playing the victim they make choices that allow them to continue that role.
Don’t let their need to be a victim rob you of the joy, laughter, and love that you’ve earned.
This post originally appeared on Divorced Moms and was republished here with full permission.