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Addendum: Quit Playing the Victim!

As an addendum to my observations and remarks here the other day on conducting oneself with a bit more classic style and tasteful restraint, one more thing occurs to me.  And it's really a subset of the whole drama queen point I made a day or three ago.  Ready?  Here it is.  It's really time for everyone to stop playing the victim whenever things don't go your way.  

The tendency to play the victim and engage in what I'll call attempted victim bullying -- trying to use your perceived victim status to ram your self-deluding visions through the system and down everyone else's throats at any cost -- is rampant on U.S. college and university campuses, and indeed throughout American society in 2019.  

Tell me I'm wrong.  

For starters, I see it on a daily basis among university undergraduates, aged roughly 18-23, too many of whom pay little to no attention to course requirements, expectations, policies, reading/viewing assignments,  projects, and deadlines.  The rules don't apply to them somehow.  The bolder ones, usually not the brightest students in the bunch I hasten to add, try to wrangle exceptions to virtually everything at the mere drop of a hat.  Clumsy attempts at negotiation and deal-making seem to be what they have learned from Mom and Dad by the time they are turned loose to stumble and fumble their way toward  some kind of degree before taking up space in some office cubicle somewhere.  And, of course, when they invariably crash in flames on the figurative grading rocks, it is somehow everyone else's fault but their own.  A rash of chaotic finger pointing ensues.

Playing the victim is not just limited to the under 21 set however.  I occasionally hear tell of the same thing around campus via the university grapevine.  An inability to get along, victim-playing by the perpetrators, and attempted bullying of one's (often) imagined oppressors, in the form of officially lodged 'grievances' on an almost weekly basis.  Playing the victim in the wake of denied tenure, denied research grants, denied course releases for a semester or two, disciplinary action resulting from someone claiming he or she "didn't know" that engaging in a summertime affair with a graduate research assistant on the university's dime is a no-no, along with a general lack of collegiality within departments, programs, and colleges, failure to turn in receipts for university funded research trips for several years after the fact, deliberately shady attempts to circumvent the system with its numerous departmental, program, and university policies already in place, threatened lawsuits, etc., etc., on and on, ad infinitum.  It's no my fault! 

Some evenings, these unfolding telenovelas make for mildly entertaining dinner table conversation, although it would be funnier if it weren't sometimes so depressing.  I once labored under my own delusion that adults with advanced degrees had better things to do with their time than behave like foulmouthed brats in a sandbox who are incapable of keeping their inner thoughts in check and hands to themselves.  No more.  The scales have long fallen from my eyes.  Ph. D.'s, by and large, exercise personal judgment that is as poor  and behave just as badly as much of the rest of society.

But this sort of thing -- constantly playing the victim and belligerently blaming others for your own foibles -- is not just limited to the post-secondary education and academic sphere.

Looking around with clear eyes, I seriously doubt it would ever occur to most people to change tack and begin taking responsibility for oneself, since the cult of victimhood is firmly entrenched at this point.  Self-delusion reigns supreme, and the people comprising society no longer attempt to exercise even a modicum of self-control because that is now somehow an outmoded and oppressive standard foisted upon everyone else by the former old white straight male establishment.  

Were the general populace more receptive to the notion of self-improvement in 2019, I'd suggest that a more conscious and consistent effort NOT to play the victim might nevertheless be a good starting point on the road to self-improvement.  It is just one more step we can take as individuals to ensure that we are reasonably pleasant company for others in our private and professional lives. 

But what do I know?  I am often left with the profound impression that self-improvement has become as quaint and irrelevant as the idea of self-control.

-- Heinz-Ulrich


  1. You are not wrong.

    It is a sad indictment of the developed world but the less real problems we have to worry about, the more comfortable we become the pettier our supposed problems become.

    My parents/grandparents lived through World Wars, rationing and high infant mortality to name but a few. Last year in the UK we had people dialling the emergency Police number because KFC famously ran out of chicken!

  2. Well, that is about the craziest thing I have heard. And yet somehow it is not surprising in the least. No chicken at KFC? As the saying goes, a First World problem.

    Best Regards,



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All opinions are welcome here. Even those that differ from mine. But let's keep it clean and civil, please.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

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