IT Really Upsets Me…The Slippery Slope Of Victim Thinking

You are standing on the slippery slope of victim thinking when you lazily say to yourself: “IT really upsets me!” or “IT really upsets me…and I CAN’T do anything about IT!” Are you putting your self-esteem and personal power at the top of your “to-do list” for today? Or are you falling for the All-American Sob Story of “IT really upsets me” instead of the psychological truth that “I really upset ME” or “I’m really good at upsetting myself when I want to.” So who owns your mind, anyway? Who’s got the power of your mind…you…your boss…your intimidator…or the situation that’s causing you stress?


Alright, you and I love a sob story. With sob stories to share, you and I can feel better that some poor bloke is worse off than you or I. But beware: You are your own worst enemy when it comes to “poor me, I can’t change and all I can do is react to the bad things that happen to me that are beyond my control” thinking that victims so readily adopt. Here’s why you feel bad – and how you can think and talk differently to yourself for a change of attitude:

1. “Things come up that I don’t know how to handle.” Well, how WOULD you like to handle them? You have choices about how intensely you will interact with a stress situation…with a positive or negative, open or closed attitude. Mr/s Positive you don’t have to be, BUT you are a VERY powerful person, and you can’t afford to forget that fact for one minute!

2. “I don’t have confidence in what I’m talking about.” Well, sure you do…who ya’ kiddin’?! You just back down too fast when anyone questions you too much, especially yourself. Why let a Doubting Thomas take away that personal faith that is based on your innate abilities and ACTIONS? Why not have confidence in the solutions you brainstormed to solve the problem? Your solutions work…just try them and experience the difference for yourself.

3. “I can’t let go of the past.” Ah, now, there you go again, because ‘the past is past’ and we both know it. In fact, the previous sentence you just read is in the past, so who cares? Do you allow your so-called “past” to hold the power to sway your today…to make today be a duplicate copy of yesteryear? Oh my, where are you coming from? There’s nothing to let go of from the past, because there’s nothing to hold onto anywhere. The past is simply a figment of your wonderful imagination.

4. “Things are going along just fine for awhile, then you step into a big hole.” Hey, I don’t step into a big hole, unless I want to, and when I do choose to, I try not to whine TOO much about it. Well, actually, I am pretty good at suffering alot. Enough about me already: Why would you step into a big hole…why not walk around it? Do as I say and do: Now IF you’re looking in the rearview mirror of your life, begin looking forward to see where you’re going.

5. “Stuff happens and IT always seems to happen to me.” IT doesn’t happen to you, you are happening and going places and stuff happens that you have to deal with. Frankly, what happens…and why what happens, happens…is far less important than how you are going to respond in ways that build your self-esteem and confidence, not demolish it with self-criticism and self-flagellation.

6. “It’s SO hard to change and teach old dogs new tricks.” SO who ya’ callin’ an old dog, human? Tell the truth now, at least to yourself in your inner talk: it’s not so hard for anyone to change if he/she puts time, effort, energy and motivation into a worthy change project. Do you keep re-playing the negative worry record, “I CAN’T CHANGE BECAUSE…” over and over again until you’re nuts? Do you?

7. “BUT they’re so intimidating because they’ve got everything, including happiness.” “They sayers” don’t have to live in your psychic skin and occupy your mind and attitude on a daily basis. “Nay sayers” want to exert power over your self-attitude with their negativity, so why let them? Nobody’s happy, are they? You aren’t one down or one up because you are simply ONE AWESOME AND THENSOME PERSON!

8. “I feel guilty and obligated.” Don’t push the psychoexcuse that, “I don’t have a clue.” You are tuned in and power-full! Guilt trippers just love how easy a mark you are to manipulate when you think, walk and talk like a victim. Why do you allow others to change your mind when you’re right, AGAIN!

9. “I make the wrong relationship choice every single time.” So start making better matches when it comes to friends, dates and romantic partners. Chose someone who has a positive attitude, who travels lightly without carrying old resentment bags, who loves kids and dogs and who willingly improves the self on a daily basis. However, if you want to be miserable…stick around negative people who specialize in feeling up by bringing you down.

10. “I feel SO drained and down all the time.” Alright, I understand you’re not coming to grips with helping/saving/rescuing others, and you’re trying REALLY way, way too hard to help others who don’t help themselves. And you allow takers to strain and drain you emotionally. Hey, ever wonder…maybe all those poor sods don’t really want to be helped, after all.

11. “I can’t make up my mind.” That’s simply not true at all, because you make up your mind…then change your mind…then allow someone else to talk you out of what you believe in…then re-make your mind…then get all discombobulated and confused and back off from doing what you know you need to do for yourself to feel good. Next time, change your mind in positive ways and stick to them.

12. “My attempts to do something new always fail.” So you expect to get things right on the very first try? Isn’t anything worth doing, worth doing poorly, at first? Is it me or are you being WAY too harsh on yourself, when you stick yourself in a corner with your nose against the paint peeling wall while wailing and suffering? Why again are we fearing failure so much?

13. “I should be doing more.” Should-ism is a variation of: “My attempts to change my negative attitude fall nowhere.” So why aren’t you putting four minutes a day into improving your inner-personal communication skills, to take back ownership of your mind, to prove to yourself the truth that the power IS in you and not some dumb situation or idiotic antagonist? Why do you think I write these “Communication Today” articles…for my health, alone?

14. “I have a hard time focusing on things.” You don’t have a hard time focusing or staying focused on what works vs. what doesn’t work. Why can’t you focus NOW on being in charge of your mind?! Sarcastically ask yourself, “Who’s minding my mind…is it me or Disstick NegaTalker?” If you’re off track…you’ve taken yourself off the track and can get back on the track any time you care to.

15. “BUT I don’t have a clear direction.” Nobody’s taught you how to set heartfelt, positive and passionate goals? Come on…you know what your heart needs and wants, so stop locking your heart away in a dead wo/man’s chest. Send yourself an e-mail with five little goals written in plain English.


I could keep going on and on about how THE POWER TO CHANGE IS WITHIN YOU but you already know that.

Sure, a situation exerts control over you, your physical health and psychological welfare, your emotional mood…and many more aspects of your life. BUT you still have a say in how you will experience these stress events…in a positive or negative attitude that makes you a victim or a victor.


Does “IT really upset YOU and ME?!” Or is it truer and more genuine to say, “I really upset ME?” Well, it’s both to be sure…but I only have control over the later agency…namely, Dennis O’Grady. If I have the power to upset me, then I have the accompanying power to un-upset me. I prefer the challenge of unleashing and exerting my positive change power as a healing force in a difficult world.

You get to choose, too. You are not stuck with being depressive, indecisive, powerless, hopeless and helpless, confusing directions OR have the “same old same old crapola” keep happening to you over and over and over again. That’s not the way your life has to be, my friend.


When it comes to you, your life and your self-esteem, please know this is true as the nose on your face:

  • The power isn’t in me
  • The power isn’t in your INTIMIDATOR nemesis or talk antagonist
  • The power isn’t solely and only in the stress event
  • The power isn’t emotion-driven, swashbuckling pep-talk or in Heaven
  • The power isn’t in a powerful friend or colleague you admire
  • The power isn’t in my book TALK TO ME or on this Web page (well…maybe…still no, though…I’m just seriously joking, here…well)
  • THE POWER ONLY IS IN YOU to walk carefully off the slippery slope called poor me, victim thinking!


Yes, you and I DO really upset ourselves AND there’s everything in the inner-personal, private self-talk world that we can do about it. Walk off that slippery slope. Say, I WILL whenever I want to, Doctor D!”

Dr. Dennis O’Grady is a clinical psychologist and communications coach from Dayton, Ohio, USA. His new communication theory of Empathizer (E-type) vs. Instigator (I-type) communicators is featured in his newly released book TALK TO ME: Communication Moves to Get Along with Anyone. In Dr. O’Grady’s landmark clinical studies, Empathizer communicators perceive the locus of control or power to be in the other person or situation, while Instigator communicators perceive the locus of control or power to be in the self or the situation. Just click on the underlined links to view workshop descriptions based on Dr. O’Grady’s books including Change Management, Communication Skills and Conflict Resolution.

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