Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"The 'Stuff' in the Stuffing" Therapy Session 2: The Victim Mentality and Control

The stuffing's coming out...

There are people in this world that will always hold on to a victim's mentality as a way to explain away their failures, or to gain sympathy in a play for greater control.  'Victims' are quick to blame others when things go wrong.  I confess that I have difficulty getting along with the 'victims' in this world.  I am very much of the mindset that you don't let life 'happen' to you, and you don't wait around for others to fix it for you.  If you do, then your unhappiness is your own fault.  It only takes a few minutes of conversation for me to figure out if I am dealing with a victim, and then I spend the rest of the time trying to figure out how to distance myself.

Control is an elusive thing for those that think that life is unfair, because they so often let others call the shots in the first place.  But if given the opportunity to be in charge in some small degree, it is especially important to predefine with that type of person where the control lies and define roles.  In my case the problems arose immediately and then from there it was a constant tug of war.  I never agreed that my control was up for the taking in the first place, but as the rope was yanked and pulled harder and harder, I let go because the stress was too much and it was clearly not worth it.  In letting go, I think I also made it clear that the control issue does not lie with me. I have spent hours over the past year wondering whether or not I am indeed the one with the problem. I care deeply about the trust that had been implied when I took a leadership position. With that trust came the promise that I would keep things safe, organized, fun and educational for the girls and communicate effectively with the parents. When I saw a breakdown of that trust because of the actions of another, I stepped in and did my best to rectify the situation. Is that controlling? Even when it was my job in the first place?

Shared leadership among women can be so contentious, yet it can also be very supportive and affirming.  I've been a part of many teams over the years, and the ones that get the nod are those that take the pains to line out the role of each member and stick with the plan - with no one individual demanding more or doing less that the rest.

If I am to take anything away from this, it is that it is imperative to know who you are working worth.  Really know them.  And to never take organization and planning for granted - it is best to be clear from the beginning who does what - and to write it down.

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