Overexposed: A Self-Love Project.

Overexposed: Playing the Victim.

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I hate to admit this about myself because it’s such a toxic trait I have, but I have a bad habit of playing the role of victim when things go wrong.

I might’ve alluded to this in the past, but when I was younger (and even throughout my 20’s) I found myself becoming very defensive in confrontations, and even in situations where I was in the wrong I played the victim.

Hi, my name is Liz, and I play(ed) the victim.

Maybe it was embedded in me at a young age; I thought I could never do any wrong or hurt anyone on purpose and therefore I blamed my actions on the people around me. “Well, you made me do that; if you weren’t so mean to me then maybe I wouldn’t have done what I did.” “You’re the reason I self-harmed that night; what you did to me was so hurtful.” My teenage years sound a lot like that, and even though no one else had control of my actions and my decisions, I made them. Sure, people can influence your actions and decisions, but no one put a gun to my head and made me do anything. I did it because I either wanted to at the time and I allowed for it to happen.

But my toxic trait– the one I’m learning to reflect on and resolve– is that when I owe up to something, I seem to link it to an event or a reason from an outcome. As I think back, a lot of my arguments in my last relationship where I tried to explain my reasoning for something seem to be because of something else instead of just openly saying “I did this and I said that because I wanted to and I take responsibility for it.”

Of course, it’s not always so black and white like that. A lot of my bad decisions came from being in a bad place and being hurt by other people’s actions in the past. I’m not a saint; I do things to hurt those who hurt me first, and only because it takes so much to legitimately hurt me to the point where I’m willing to throw everything away and say fuck it, I’m hurting you back. It’s so fucking toxic, I know, but it’s the truth. Will I ever be able to not do that anymore? Maybe, and maybe not. Maybe it’s a defensive mechanism in me too deep-rooted to fix right away. At least I’m aware of it, right?

These days, I don’t try to play the victim anymore because it’s just unrealistic for me to try to obtain this perfect image. I’m only human and I’m bound to do some bad things to myself, to other people; it’s just the cycle of life. Of course, I can’t help but think if the “playing victim” thing is so embedded in me, that I don’t even realize that I do it. I worry that every time I try to tell my story or my truth, I sound like a victim. I sound like I need saving. I sound like people should feel bad for me.

The truth is, I don’t want people’s sympathy for my past anymore. I don’t the validation that my actions were justified because they weren’t. I also don’t need people to read my story and my truth on these posts and go, “well, damn, does she want us to really know all this sad shit? Is there a hidden agenda in the words that she writes on her blog?”

I write it for me. I write it to diffuse the negative energy behind my journey, not for a pity party.

The past version of myself, the one who tried so hard to obtain a certain image and level of perfection, would not tell you that she did things without thinking first. She would brag that she had the upper hand in a situation where she knew she was losing in. Everything was a damn competition to her because she was worried the people she loved would forget her, and even to this day this version of myself is afraid of being forgotten, but that’s another story for another blog post.

But what the past version of myself would tell you is that she felt like her voice and feelings were never heard. She found herself not speaking up for herself and prioritizing her feelings and whenever she tried to, people then threw it in her face that she was self-centered, inconsiderate, and always plays the victim. 

So, it wasn’t a surprise when I began to get those comments again when I was finally practicing prioritization towards my feelings and speaking for myself in situations. And possibly that’s why I still feel like I’m always playing the victim when I spoke up and wrote down my stories.

It’s something I’m always worried about when telling my story to people who I meet and that I trust with my baggage. I have a really good friend, Anthony, that I pretty much get philosophical with every now and then, and sometimes when we discuss things like our past selves and our journeys, I’m always worried if I come off as playing the victim when telling my story. Either or, I just try to be honest with myself as much as possible and learn how to stick up for myself, but take responsibility for my own actions in the scenario.

You don’t gotta hate yourself for your toxic traits, just be aware and accept that you have them.

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