Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Get off the cross, Mary, we need the wood!

All your fault [Disclaimer: Please note that I am not speaking of fellow blogger Mary, who I think will know where I'm coming from with this entry!]

The fabulous Miss Ginger (click on the Ginger Snap tag over on my sidebar to pay a visit) used that in a comment here some time ago, and not about me, thank goodness! I loved it then, I love it now, and I've never forgotten it.

I'm sure we've all encountered at least one person in the course of our lives who is a member of the Cult of Victimization. It's been my misfortune to encounter more than one (including an ex-BF), because they're some of the most unpleasant people I've ever had to be around. You know the type I'm talking about--anything bad that happens to them is never their fault, and entirely because of things that others have done to them. In other words, they accept no responsibility or culpability for what they have done that has led to whatever current crisis that they are currently experiencing...and it seems that it's one crisis after another with these people.

I'm not sure what gets them to the point where they can't see the results of their own behavior. Maybe it's a combination of grandeur and delusion, as in "It can't possibly be anything I've done," followed by a re-imagining of events so that they fit their view of the current circumstances. What these people can never seem to comprehend is that there are usually multiple witnesses to such events, and their peculiar version of reality doesn't jibe with what really happened. Others see, and others know.

My best illustration of this occurred at a previous job, one at which I was never happy. My boss was getting ready to go on a business trip, so we were all having a little meeting about what we would be working on while he was gone. My project was to be purifying Bovine Factor V, and since we'd had a lot of problems with it, I was to save samples along the way and send them to a research laboratory in Atlanta (the guy there was an expert on Bovine Factor V). We were all there, including the manager of the lab. I was making sure that I was clear on what I was to do, and said, "Okay...I'll be going through the process, and saving samples to be sent out for testing, right? I won't be doing the testing here." The boss agreed.

A couple of days later, the boss calls up to see how things are going. I talk to him and tell him that I was doing the procedure, saving and freezing samples to be sent out.

The Boss: Wait a minute. Why aren't you doing the assay there?

Me: We talked about that right before you left. You said to send them out to so-and-so's lab.

The Boss: No, I didn't! You're supposed to do the assay there!

Me: But...that's not what you said. I even asked you if it was correct that I was going to freeze the samples and send them out...you said that was right.

The Boss: I did NOT say that.

I got off the phone and asked my manager and a coworker if they remembered the meeting and that conversation. I asked them what he said when I asked about saving samples and sending them out for testing. They both said that he agreed, that I wasn't to do the assay there. When I told them what he had told me, they both said, "That's not true!"

What the--?? And yeah, I did the assay there, but you can believe that I was amazed and disturbed by this guy's level of self-deception. Despite several witnesses who agreed that he did indeed tell me to send the assay out, he continued to deny it (and they did confront him about it...he still said that he never said that).

Not my fault shirt I know that the human mind is capable of great things, and a good imagination can be a wonderful thing. It's disturbing, though, to see its capacity for the reinterpretation and rewriting of events. It also contributes to a loss of credibility...once you've been caught in a lie...or two...or however many, people tend to automatically distrust what you have to say. If I've seen you lie on more than one occasion, I would certainly be foolish if I were to believe anything that you have to say now, wouldn't I? Remember the story of the boy who cried wolf?

As far as responsibility goes, I've said before that I haven't been an angel in my life. I've made mistakes, I've hurt people, and I've tried to make amends for that when possible. In my younger days, I probably had that feeling of cockiness that leads someone to think that they can do no wrong. After the end of a long distance relationship, one in which I'd deluded myself into thinking was actually going somewhere, I took time to reflect on my behavior in the past, and did some major soul-searching. I realized that many of the mistakes I'd made had been because of my own arrogance and stubbornness, and that I played a part in many of the situations that had gone wrong. I knew that I had been very immature in many ways, and it was time to take control of my destiny and quit making excuses. It wasn't entirely my fault, of course; there were others who had their own hand in behaving badly. But that was no excuse for me to behave badly in turn.

Once I figured that out, things started to fall into place, and Ken and I lived happily ever after. Haha! (I think we've still got some good years left in us, too.) I guess my point is that if your life is nothing more than a long litany about those who have done you wrong, and if you constantly experience problems in relationships, friendships, and your workplace, maybe you need to take a good long look at what you might be doing wrong, and think about whether or not you are contributing to the problem. There are plenty of true victims out there, people subjected to cruelty and abuse, and it's a dishonor to them to continue to play your bogus victim card.

So get off the cross, Mary. It's beyond tiresome.


  1. Everyone is entitled to a time of anger and reflection, but then, it becomes time to put it in the past and move on to the future :o) I think ours is very bright.

  2. So sorry- LMAO -
    I LIVE with mary on the cross uphill in the snow

  3. the dif between the *then* in my life and the *now* was a combination of learning to be responsible for the bad that i put into certain relationships and to stop trying to please people before pleasing me, esp. those who would never reciprocate in the relationship.

    i think a combination of writing/ actually coming clean about the truth of what my role was in what happened as well as getting honest feedback from other people, here and in my support group really made a difference.

    so thanks to you and ken for being part of my journey towards being self actualized or whatever the mental health people are calling it now.

    on the lighter side, i carried mary and the cross uphill in the snow both ways two miles to get to school without shoes or a warm scarf. the bitch got too heavy and i did much better on my own!


  4. So well said, I would love to give this to a person I know...but then I doubt they would get it anyway. In my experience, REAL victims don't wallow in their own self pity or bitterness.

    I own my mistakes and the misfortunes of my past - I brought 99% of them on myself due to very, very poor decisions. I can't lay that blame on anyone else and I don't even bother to try.

  5. Here, here, sistah! And thanks for the shout out!

  6. Hi Beth,
    I guess everyone knows people like this, who always feel like the victim. The funny thing is, I've noticed that these folks often do become victims in the end ... almost as if they create their own self-fulfilling prophecies. As far as that ex-Boss of yours goes, what a piece of work. It sounds like he had Bovine Brains. Sweetbread, anyone?!?

  7. I read this and someone immediately came to mind. We've both had to deal with her from time to time. Fortunately I no longer do. I can only hope she's leaving you alone. (Hugs)Indigo

  8. i can send you a list if you want of quite a few people i know who this entry talks straight to. Excellent entry as always.

  9. Good post! As I'm sure you know, I agree with you. I'd like to hand out copies of it to a few people I know.

  10. Good post and I must add the Arizonians must have all been liberals or republicans. I think McCain is going to run again OR a member of his family, but I think he just might realize that the republicans are making true asses out of themselves and are going to sink so low that they may have a hard time coming back up. The liberals also.

  11. I'm going to start calling my husband Mary. Good gravy...

  12. I have to deal with a couple of people like that, and it very tiresome. Very good entry.


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?