Don’t rush to get hurt feelings–Stay away from playing the victim in your relationship. Ask yourself one, two, three, four, even five times: Did she really mean to hurt me? Because if your spouse, lover, friend did not really mean it, you can choose not to have hurt feelings. You can calmly tell her that what she said didn’t come out right. You can explain what went wrong without absorbing all that hurt and pain. Why take poison into yourself? You don’t have to! How do we get into victim-playing? Abused children grow up to be adults who know all about abuse. They hate it but they can wear it like an old shoe.

When Abuse Feels Normal

This presents two problems. One is that when someone is abusive, they might not realize it because they are so used to it, it feels normal. For those people, they might take it and take it when they should either get out of the relationship, or, if there is hope of reform, go to counseling with a sharp therapist who can help the abuser to change. The second problem is a mirror image of the first.

When Normal Feels Like Abuse

The victim is so used to being abused that everything feels like abuse. So with that person, the partner may be doing or saying something perfectly innocent and the victim “takes” it wrong. That’s what I meant by playing the victim. That’s no good, but being a punching bag is no good either. That is, being a victim when you really aren’t is not good and being a victim when you are isn’t either.

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