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When Your Spouse Plays “The Perfect Victim”

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Divorce is messy, tricky, and at times it feels impossible. Divorce isn’t simply a heartbreak where only feelings are at stake. Divorce is a financial and legal process that can leave the strongest people in tatters. And divorce is made harder when your spouse constantly plays the “victim card.” The tips in this article will help you cope with a spouse that is always playing the victim and never accepting responsibility for their actions.

First, think about why your spouse plays the victim. A spouse who plays the perfect victim may do it for a myriad of reasons- to manipulate others, to escape responsibility, to cope with their life circumstances, or just to get their way. Once you’ve determined the motive for their victim status, it is easier to come up with an effective response strategy. For example, if they play the victim to get their way, consider choosing your battles wisely or making choices that will circumnavigate the circumstance in the first place. Or if they play the victim for attention, consider how you can reduce the amount of attention they might receive for their ploy.

The second thing you should (at least) consider doing is empathizing with him or her. I know this can be hard. However, empathy will go a long way. They will feel heard, without you having to tell them they are right. Listen to their opinions and accept them. Once you’ve done this, you can share your point of view and hope they take responsibility for their actions.

If you want to be overwhelmingly civil, another way to help a “victim” is by making sure they are taking care of themselves. They may be acting the way they are because they aren’t actively working to make sure they are okay; this is especially possible in a divorce. Question if they are sleeping, eating what they need to, and doing things that bring them joy. These simple things help us reflect on our own lives and determine what’s bothering us.

The lines of communication should stay steady and buzzing. Their victim complex does not have to lead to a huge, deliberate fight. In some cases, people use the victim card because they feel unheard. And if you feel like making huge strides, again, you must determine the root of the issue. This could save you your marriage, or at the very least it could make the divorce go a lot smoother.

Most importantly, do something about it. Don’t let it bother you then ignore it. Make the efforts to talk to your spouse, empathize with them, and show them you are listening. This could change the way they communicate and provide better outcomes for a divorce. Meanwhile, strategize to make sure your  (and your children’s) interests are guarded regardless of how your spouse acts.

These tips will help you understand and navigate life with someone who acts as the perfect victim. You can use them to ease your divorce or repair your relationship. Either way, these tips will help you get what you want and need.

Our Firm Specializes in Southern California Divorces Complicated by Narcissism and other Mental Illnesses. Do you have a divorce or family law question?

Call our office today at (949) 363-5551. We specialize in helping clients who have divorce and family law matters complicated by gaslighting, narcissism, bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses. John A. Bledsoe is Orange County’s premier divorce attorney and a certified family law specialist. Our firm offers a confidential initial case evaluation. 

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