A funny thing about us OCD-addict types: When the going gets tough, we blame it on someone else. Call it the Woe-Is-Me Disease, where the sufferer is an eternal victim, forever screwed by everyone but themselves.
We all have people like that in our lives. They are clinically incapable of seeing their own role in the thing that goes wrong. It’s always someone else’s fault. They whine a lot, and when you suggest that they are whining, they call you the whiner. They repeat the same stories about how they were victimized over and over again.
I’ve fit that profile in the past, especially in my angry teens and 20s, when many of us might fit that profile.
It used to be that it was impossible for me to see the problems as my own. It was always the result of something someone else did to me or failed to do for me.
Seeing yourself as a victim every time the going gets tough is probably one of the worst things you can do. It holds you back, keeps you from improving yourself and makes you look pathetic in the eyes of people who don’t understand where the emotion comes from.
I was reminded of this a few years ago after getting a message from an old friend who was fighting his own battle with OCD. Here’s what he wrote to me at that time:
I recently finished my PHP for my OCD. It was a great program and I’m glad my wife recommended that I enroll. So many things helped me change my way of thinking. One of the most important things I learned was to find ways to be proactive and a problem solver (where before I would be reactive and put my head in the sand).
Additionally, I realized that I suffer from victim-type of thinking (such as “this is not fair,” “I can’t handle this,” etc.), and I need to think more like a survivor (“I can handle this”).
I have a huge folder of handouts that I need to organize. I do know that just because I went through the program doesn’t mean I’m miraculously cured. From here I on out, I have many tools in my toolbox to handle whatever life throws at me.
He’s right: people like us are never miraculously cured. We simply create a set of coping tools and pull them out when we need the help.
As a result, we stop being victims and become, as he put it, survivors.