The Victim

I love helping clients sift through the murky waters of the health and fitness industry in order to find their personal gold.  I love helping them reach goals and even more, I love seeing the empowerment that comes with losing weight, changing shape and achieving goals they once thought unattainable.

It sometimes starts a person on a path of conquering in other areas of their life.  And it really is beautiful to watch people kicking ass and taking names where once before, they may of hung off to the sidelines.

That being said, there is only one person I will not help.  And that is the victim.  And it’s got nothing to do with me.

You meet a lot of different personalities in PT.  You become capable of moulding your approach to individuals and tailoring training to specific personality types.  What works for one person might not work for someone else – as what motivates us is different from person to person.

The victim however is the exception to the rule.  If you train a victim, they will never get results.  Because if they did they wouldn’t be a victim anymore and well, there goes their whole story.

What’s A Victim?

Psychologist Judith Orloff M.D describes them this way :

“The victim grates on you with a poor-me attitude, and is allergic to taking responsibility for their actions. People are always against them, the reason for their unhappiness. They portray themselves as unfortunates who demand rescuing, and they will make you into their therapist. As a friend, you want to help, but you become overwhelmed by their endless tales of woe: A boyfriend stormed out…again; a mother doesn’t understand; a diva-boss was ungrateful. When you suggest how to put an end to the pity party, they’ll say, “Yes…but,” then launch into more unsolvable gripes. These energy vampires may be so clingy they stick to you like flypaper”

A little harsh, but I think we can all relate this to someone we know.

The problem with the victim is as soon as they start to get results they sabotage them.   Results will stop. I’ve watched it first hand.  For if they lose weight, they have one less “poor me I cant lose weight even though I’m seeing a trainer” story to tell anyone who will listen.

How Do People Become Victims?

Robert W. Firestone, Ph.D. –  psychologist and author explains one way that this happens.

Maintaining a child victim role leads to chronic passivity. Victimized feelings are very often appropriate to the child’s situation. Children are without power, are helpless and are at the mercy of their parents.  Later as an adult, things happen that are sometimes beyond your control and understanding.  However, the adult who is still playing the child victim role responds like the deer that sees a mountain lion approaching and instead of fleeing the danger becomes paralyzed. This person just keeps noticing over and over that the situation is unreasonable, unfair or threatening but doesn’t make the appropriate adaptive responses.

Makes sense.  Childhood coping mechanism that don’t don’t work in adult situations.
Problem is when you’re on the receiving end of this helplessness… well I’ve heard the term energy vampire being bandied about in more than one PT locker room.

Again I know everyone is doing the best they can with what they have got.  We all are.  We are all just trying to get through life with as little suffering as possible.  And I know this is how some people have learned to cope with this.  And that’s OK.  I’m not proclaiming any sort of spiritual, emotional or intellectual superiority here as we can all fall into the victim mindset from time to time.

Making it your whole story however, that wont work in a results driven business. 

Hiring a personal trainer is about taking action.  It’s about owning your reality, feeling your frustration, making a plan and attempting to execute that plan as best you can.  It’s about testing and measuring.  Adjusting when roadblocks come up, because they will come up, re-planning and continuing to take action and move move move.

It’s all action action action through movement and behaviour.

This is no place for stunned deer who just want to complain about how unfair the world is.

See you in the gym!