It’s challenging enough being in charge of your own life, but it is impossible to be responsible for someone else’s. Although every person is accountable for their own happiness, there are those who feel other people are responsible. This is known as a victim mentality.
A common strategy used to control you is attempting to make you feel culpable for another's unhappiness. Your actions or attitude may be blamed. You open yourself up to constant frustration when taking this emotional bait by thinking it’s your fault. However, you are not responsible and don’t have to feel guilty.
People with a victim mentality influence you through emotional manipulation. In their view, regardless of how had you are trying, you are always failing them in some area. In spite of all you do, they are never happy or satisfied. Keep in mind that you not are in charge of others emotions. Each of us decides how we feel.
When seeking approval from others for the way you live, you are open to having your strings pulled. Every individual has unique goals, desires, and values. By looking for approval, you empower someone to evaluate you through their lens. You don’t need approval to follow your own path.
Being liked and accepted is connected to striving for approval. Regardless of your positive character traits, there will be those who don't like you. The adage that you can't please everybody is based on reality. Compromising yourself to please others never works.
Conforming who you are on what you think others expect leads to constant unhappiness. You become a chameleon rather than an individual. Your personality is constantly changing based on who you are attempting to please. Know who you are. Understand your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes.
Just as you are not responsible for causing someone else's problems, you are not responsible for solving them. It can be agonizing to watch as a person close to you struggles with adversity. It's tempting to step in to fix their problems.
If you fail in this altruistic endeavor, their focus turns to blaming you for exacerbating their situation. Should you succeed, they become dependent rather than self-sufficient. As a result, their coping skills are never fully developed.
Furthermore, their constant dependence on you is very draining. Should you not be able to help them out of their next predicament, you will be blamed. Furthermore, there is the risk of also being resented for turning your back on them.
When you possess the appropriate expertise and experience, a preferable strategy is teaching how a problem can be solved while allowing someone to apply the resolution themselves. You then provide a valuable service by guiding them to become self-reliant.
Worrying about criticism provides people with strings to manipulate you. Any adverse feedback causes you to alter your views or behavior. You sacrifice your individuality by planning your life to avoid criticism. It’s actually OK to be criticized. When you are, you’re in the company of some of the greatest people in history who were routinely ridiculed.
Simply ignore attempts to pull your strings. There’s no need to get defensive. Arguing about it won’t convince the other person to stop or change their mindset. All it does is tighten their hold on you.
Cutting the strings that enable others to manipulate you is liberating. It’s OK to live your life your way, on your terms. As long as you act ethically and morally and don’t take advantage of others, you have nothing to answer for.
NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at
or write him c/o this paper. 2013 Bryan Golden