Making excuses rather than progress is the signature of the victim.
Controlled and dominated by a negative thought pattern, the victim compels others to come to his aid then holds them hostage by threatening to make their lives as miserable as his.
You can spot and avoid this toxic person easily because they’re 1) always complaining, 2) always rationalizing away their socially unacceptable behavior by giving a socially acceptable reasons and 3) constantly criticizing.
They take on the role of the victim and cast the organization or the other person as the oppressors and bully. It’s a shortcut for dealing with complexity in life.
There are bullies and there are oppressors. There are also victims who need help and protection. But the overwhelming number of people simply don’t fit into this category. A lack of fluency for how to deal with the emotional realities closest to you does not make one a victim, it makes you incompetent! It makes you unable to function in reality.
Is this the sort of person you want to be? Does any of this sound like you a bit? Perhaps someone you know instead?
I know I used to be the type that would rationalize away my bad behavior. Cheating on my girlfriend and using reasons like “we were fighting” or we simply had “too much time apart” are perfectly reasonable assertions but it was just a mental tool I used to make myself feel better by making it not totally my fault. I’m a good person! Events just conspired against me.
Those damn events! The painful reality however is to take responsibility and you do this by speaking truth. You cheated on your girlfriend, you’re a shit boyfriend.
But truth is how you change. Facing your poor performance is the first step to getting better. Remember, life only gets better when you get better.
So here are 3 tips I’ve learned for managing negative thoughts and their destructive nature:
Anything worth having in life takes work and the discipline to give up vices. You do this by being responsible in the various aspects of your life.
You want to be in great shape? That takes a lot of work. I fast in the morning and hit the gym 3-4 times a week. I also had to change my habits with food and limit myself to 2100 calories a day roughly. This is not too hard, but it means I can’t eat pizza, cookies or lattes whenever I want. I need to go out of my way to not consume sugar and a lot of carbs.
You want a good relationship? Then you have to put in the effort everyday and be honest with the sort of relationship you want.
If you just want to date casually and not be serious you must tell the other person that and let them make the decision if they want to continue with you. Instead of proverbially “playing games.”
You want a serious relationship? You have to make the other person a priority and you have to cut off other people who can potentially intrude into your relationship. You can’t have it both ways. Relationships take work.
Being good and doing the right things take work.
Being responsible simply mean being a an honorable person. Doing what you say you’re going to do. Making excellence a habit and not being low class or a charlatan.
When you’re behavior is bad you simply create chaos for yourself and for others. Leading to negative thoughts and poor habits that are simply insufficient for dealing with the mess you’re so talented at making. You stop this by being disciplined and responsible for your actions and the consequences.
18 Months of Emotional Triggering
Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist who previously taught at Harvard and is currently a tenured professor at the University of Toronto who has been made internet famous for his defiance to use pronouns that are being legislated into law because it is an attack on free speech has made the insightful comment that if after 18 months, a past thought is still bringing anger, sadness, shame or regret it simply means you’ve not dealt with it.
Your mind in his words has “not yet been able to fully process your past experiences and that the brain areas associated with negative emotion still regard the past events in question as (an) unresolved threat.” –Jordan Peterson
Ain’t that the truth.
But you already know that intrinsically.
The next obvious question is how to resolve such issues. Peterson suggests doing a sort of authoring program where you write out your life in various epochs and then try to decompress events that happened that have also helped to shape who you are now.
It’s a type of writing exercise where you write to find the answer for yourself.
I find that having good habits, being responsible for your behavior and making changes as needed helps to make bad thoughts easy to process because you can know that you did your best.
It’s also essential you be brutally honest with yourself. Only truth can really hurt anyone. When trash talking, it’s truth that can make someone upset. If you feel shame that you’re a dorky guy who plays too much video games you’ll be hurt if someone calls you a dork or a loser, even if just jokingly. If you don’t identify with that term however, it’s an word that will have no meaning.
Same with being fat. If you’re happy and confident but fat, it won’t bother you if someone makes a comment. But if you secretly hate that about yourself, it will bother you.
It’s always only the truth that hurts. Why?
Because we lie to ourselves and others. We lie because we’re afraid. Make it habit and a behavior to not lie anymore, particularly to yourself. It allows you to make the needed improvements to yourself so you can function better in reality. So negative thoughts can become processed and have no more power than a day dream.
Like was mentioned in resistance vs fundamentalism, people ages ago did not have the luxury of self examination because the demands of life were more prescient.
….and not dying.
Being an individual is a luxury we’re ill equipped to enjoy. It allows our minds to wander, to think of negative thoughts in the form of worries and threats to our well being. We’re wired to be apart of the group and to fit in. But that is not what modernity is delivering us to.
It’s delivering us to freedom and new skills are in order.
To quell negative thoughts cultivate a positive mind by being busy. This is not to say you should avoid self reflection. You should if by Jordan Peterson’s advice you’re still adversely effected by a mere thought that entered your though catalog over 18 months ago.
But I find keeping oneself busy with books and podcasts to find new idea, music (no sad songs) and other forms of constant improvement simply don’t allow the time for the mind to wander.
You must cultivate your mind like a garden with positive information because negative thoughts are weeds that grow and spring up with no effort on your part.
This goes back to being responsible. You are responsible for your mind, your thoughts and the information you take in.
Don’t allow the mind to wander. It’s nature is to look for threats by delving into the past as a way to avoid future adverse situations. This was a handy function to our ancestors, but it’s now something that needs to be managed mindfully.