Q: Dear Karen Kaye,

I am trying to understand myself (and others) better. Could you please give me ideas of how to recognize if someone is a victim or not?    Thanks, Gerard

A: Dear Gerard,

Here is an informal method to evaluate where you lie on the “Victim” scale:

1. Do you often feel sorry for yourself?


2. Do you often complain?

3. Do you often feel you have no options?

4. Do you feel the world is “out” to get you? Or you are constantly overlooked? Disregarded?

5. Do you worry what is “in it” for you?

6. Do you often feel people take advantage of you?

7. Are you often disappointed in others?

8. Do you have a lot of “if only” thinking?

9. Do you blame others for your mood or problems?

10. Do you run away from difficulties and confrontations?

If you answered “yes” to 5 or less of these questions, your behaviors slide into a “Victim” mode, but you can probably see reality and perspective shortly after you recognize the “plunge.”

If you answered “yes” to 5 or more of these questions, you are probably still getting a “payoff” to these behaviors, and you need to ask yourself, “What is my intent for this type of thinking?” Are you looking to overpower or control someone (especially someone you perceive as overpowering you)? What will that accomplish? Is that the outcome you are looking for in the long run?

To break the “Victim” habit, one must want to grow up and take responsibility for their actions, inactions, and decisions. You must want to be held accountable. Oftentimes, the “Victim” becomes the “Victimizer” (holding others hostage). Be careful!

Karen Kaye has been in private practice for 27 years. If you would like to speak with her directly about this or any other topic, contact her at 954-384-1217. See ad page 55.