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Why And How To Step Out From The Victim Position?

Written by: Christelle Deblon, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Autumn is there. We enjoy less light, hear bad news everywhere, our morale goes down. The temptation to complain, to position yourself as a victim, is prominent. A victim of what exactly? We don't know in fact. As a victim, quite simply. The problem is that when you put yourself in the victim position, you wait blissfully for your saviour. And no, no saviour on his white steed will come and solve bad news, late trains, falling leaves or shortening days.

That’s a good opportunity to have a look the victim position: what it entails, what it brings and how harmful it is.

To put oneself in the position of the victim is to proclaim one's powerlessness. It is a desperate cry for help. It is to deny one's ability to act and to give power to someone else. It is a state of negative energy, necessarily harmful to you and those around you. Not to mention that complaining is a good hook to start a drama triangle.

So everything is bad in complaining? Yes, but …no! I like to think that every complaint hides a need that seeks to be expressed. If I complain about being alone, it's because I need company. If I complain about boredom at work, I still long for fulfilling work. If I complain about traffic jams, it is because I need to make better use of my time.

The beauty of needs is that they are universal, and above all they can be satisfied in different ways. This is the difference between need and want. I need to entertain myself? I can dive into a good novel, go for a drink with a friend, go to the cinema, go for a walk in nature or visit a museum. This is one of the fascinating concepts of Non-Violent Communication.

So let's go back to our complaint. What need does it reveal? Once you have identified the need, what are the options for satisfying it? And this is where the problem lies, because if you complain, it is probably because you believe that you cannot change the situation. This is where I need to unleash one of my favourite tools, the circle of influence, and especially the tactics to increase the area of control. I'll use the example of traffic jams.

I'm tired of spending so much time commuting to work. The traffic jams are becoming unbearable, plus I can't do anything in the car, it's a real waste of time. In this situation, one thing is totally out of my control, and that is the traffic on the road. Yet I have plenty of options! The thing is, each of them has a price, which we are often not prepared to pay. Let's see what happens:

  • I could leave earlier. The price is to sacrifice part of my night, and perhaps also to miss some late afternoon meetings.

  • I could do more teleworking if it is possible in my job. The price can seem low, but you’ll have to adapt to this way of working (for many of us, post-covid, not a problem!).

  • I could take public transport. Of course, I don't have any more impact on train delays than on traffic jams, but at least on the train, I can relax, read, or work.

  • I could change jobs. This is of course, an ‘expensive’ solution. I have to leave my comfort zone, make up a decision, look for another job, and maybe get a lower salary

  • I could move house to reduce my commuting time. Again, a high-price solution, but why not?

Often, it is not that we have no option. It is that we are not ready to pay the price. We remain in a desperate wait for a miracle solution. Nothing changes, except that my problem is solved. But that's not what life is about, is it?

By becoming aware of your complaint, by taking a step back, by clearly expressing your need, you actively put the problem on the table; it becomes an issue that can be addressed. You can look for solutions. By talking about it around you, other ideas will likely emerge, and opportunities will open up. And before you know it, your problem is solved. As long as you are prepared to accept that it has a price.

Sometimes, there is no solution. Leaves will keep on falling from the trees in October. But you have a last option: you can look at the situation differently. Because if you don't always have full control over what happens to you, you can always decide how you see things. For example, despite my good will, I can’t always avoid taking my car. So I've created a selection of podcasts that I listen to when I have to make a long car journey. I replace a lost moment with time I invest in my general culture. The situation hasn't changed, but the way I see it, and therefore my frustrations, have.

To conclude on the complaint and the victim position, I appeal to you. Take it easy on yourself if you find yourself in the act of victimisation. It's completely embedded in our culture, the media is full of it, and the world is full of saviours who need you to confirm that they are useful. So next time, just pause, ask yourself what your need is, explore the solutions and take action.

Follow me on LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Christelle Deblon, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

"For Christelle, joy is definitely the greatest emotion one can feel. She dreams of a world where everyone wakes up in the morning anticipating the joy of the working day to come. Not only she dreams of this, but she puts all her positive energy and broad skillset into action to make this vision become reality and to impact the professional world.

Before being a coach, she worked in marketing, communication and direct sales. She then had the chance to become a people manager. That's when she discovered her mission: helping others to become the very best version of themselves in their professional life.

In 2011, she decided to make her dream come true: she learned coaching, and started her own business. For the last 10 years, she provides hundreds of days of training, facilitated work sessions in sectors as going from banking to semi-conductors sales, helped teams and individuals to improve, led projects, and enjoyed every single day!

Living in Belgium, her mother tongue is French, and she works in English and Dutch as well.

She successfully completed her Coaching training in 2013, and kept on developing herself continuously ever since. She is certified in Stress & Burnout Coaching, Prosci ADKAR change management and Appreciative Inquiry (Case Western University). She contributed to two chapters of 'Le grand livre de l'Appreciative Inquiry' published in 2021."



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